When I went to Spain, I had the intention of trying every type of tapas that were available and to find the perfect paella because I think the paella in Sydney is only of average (or less) quality. Barcelona is the home of a lot of good and also some bad food, so I’ll break the bad news first. Avoid the restaurants at La Rambla, the main shopping street (their version of Pitt St). It is full of tourists and the restaurants cater to this by pumping out food without care and quality. The tapas here are OK since they’re not that difficult to cook but I had some pretty bad tasting paella here. Also, if you’re after sangria and churros, they are not available at a lot of restaurants so you’re going to have to search a bit for them!
After my first night of less than impressive food, I did some research and discovered an area near Barceloneta, an area that is known for having boutique stores and more importantly good food! It seems like every city has their own version of Surry Hills.
Here we found Taller De Tapas which is just a short stroll from the beach and main CBD. The restaurant sits on one of the busier streets full of boutique stores and restaurants but we chose this one because it looked beautifully furnished, it had a lot of people inside and the menu sounded great. After venturing in, we were presented with good service and a waiter that speaks sufficient english.
Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes with garlic mayonnaise and spice smoked paprika sauce) – €3.95
The first dish which comes out is the patatas bravas. Note for the presentation, the sauce is usually heaped on top; here it is separated because my dining companion has allergies. The garlic mayonnaise has an extremely strong taste of garlic. It is more oily than creamy but it is still fresh and delicious. The paprika sauce tastes like a spicy tomato sauce but it is still a good combo with the thick crunchy wedges of fried potatoes.
Langoustine, prawn, cuttlefish and mussel paella with bomba rice – €12.95
The next dish was a seafood paella. Here I found that the rice was cooked very well – not too dry or wet and at a good consistency. The seafood is fresh and varied and tastes even better with the wedge of lemon. Overall a well flavoured paella with excellent seafood highlights.
Grilled mountain lamb cutlets with tomato, frittes and garlic mayonnaise – €11.95
The mayonnaise for the lamb was the same one that I received before. The lamb is very gamey and a bit salty for my liking, but it could be because the plate had rock salt sprinkled on it.
The dishes served up here beat La Rambla by far so if you’re looking for some good dinner without prior research, do check out this area!
Whilst travelling during the day, both days I found myself away from the city centre during lunch time and was unable to eat tapas for lunch. But this could be a good thing for I discovered Buenos Migas, a Spanish cafe chain that serves up the best focaccias! They have a breakfast, lunch, afternoon and dinner menu served at various times and are located all over Barcelona.
Focaccia Botifarra (Pork and onion) – €3.90
This was the first focaccia of Buenos Migas I had and was THE BEST EVER!!! The bread was soft, fluffy and toasty whilst the toppings consisted of bits of pork along with lots of onions, a delicious combination. It was so tasty I went back the following day for another one of which unfortunately it was sold out. But this is the best focaccia I have ever had.
Focaccia Alberginia i Formatge (Eggplant and cheese) – €3.90
This focaccia was nowhere near as nice as the previous one. The eggplant was a bit dry from the oven, thankfully the cheese saved it though. The focaccia base is still fluffy, light and crispy as per before.
Overall, I wish I was able to eat at some better restaurants in Barcelona but only one out of three served up great tapas for me. When I return, I’ll make sure to stay around the area for restaurants instead of La Rambla.
In Barcelona I ate at:
Taller De Tapas
C. De l’Argenteria, 51 (Sta. maria del Mar)
Ph: 93 268 85 59
Various locations across Barcelona, see the website for details