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The ten best places for foodies in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the best European cities for foodies, where you can find everything from Michelin starred greatness to restaurants that have been in the same family for generations. Barcelona expert Rob Dobson tells us his top ten foodie favourites.

The ten best places for foodies in Barcelona
Barcelona is a foodie paradise. Photo: www.hofmann-bcn.com

Barcelona is one of the best European cities for foodies. You’ll find Michelin starred greatness from the likes of Mey Hofmann, Xavier Franco, Carme Ruscalleda and of course, Ferran Adrià; yet around the corner a restaurant that has been in the same family, serving the same great food for generations.

Barcelona features cuisine from around the world and restaurants are fusing Catalan, Japanese, Brazilian, Vietnamese and everything in between.

The list below is by no means definitive. But hopefully there are a few places you haven’t read about in your average guidebook that you fancy trying the next time you’re here.

1.      El Vaso de Oro, Barceloneta

Photo: vasodeoro.com

This bustling tapas place at the top of Barceloneta has been serving great tapas for over 50 years so they must be doing something right. The bar is long and narrow and chances are you’ll be eating standing up while jostling with other customers for the attention of the busy staff. This place is all about the food and the atmosphere.

2.      Saboc, El Born

Saboc is a relatively new restaurant in El Born serving above average tapas dishes. The menu is split into food served at different temperatures and is based on four types of cooking: raw, low temperature, with stoves, and with griddles. Everything is beautifully presented and the flavours are stunning.

3.      Caravelle, El Raval
Barcelona's new fad is is all about brunch and Caravelle is one of the stars. But this is no ordinary café. Owner Zim is constantly on the move, brewing, baking, brining or pickling. Breakfast, lunch, coffee, cocktails and dinner are on offer. Be sure to check out Galactic Sundays for tacos, crispy squid tostadas and the delicious house brew, Galactic Pale Ale.

4.      Casa Lucio, Sant Antoni
Only go to Casa Lucio if you are happy to be led. There are no menus and even the blackboard is short of any prices. The wine is excellent and never more than about €20 a bottle. Patrick (who speaks English) and Lucio (who doesn’t) will ask you what you like and suggest some dishes from what’s being made that night and they will choose the wine for you too. The bar area has an eclectic selection of cheeses and cold tapas for you to try too. The restaurant at the back is the same deal. Home cooked food served with passion. If a little on the pricey side.

5.      La Muscleria, Eixample

Photo: James/Flickr 

If you like mussels then La Muscleria is well worth a visit. This basement restaurant in the Eixample is homage to the little molluscs that come with a long list of preparations. Among them is cider, wine, cava or beer; ginger, curry, pesto or mustard. The curried ones are a particular favourite.

6.      Maitea, Eixample
If you’ve never tried pinchos before then Maitea is the place to discover them. Pintxos (in Basque) are small slices of baguette with a variety of toppings held together by a cocktail stick (the pincho in question). At the end of your feed the waiter will count up the sticks and charge accordingly. All very honest and civilised. The array and quality of the toppings is what makes this Basque restaurant one of the best pincho places in Barcelona.

7.      Taverna Hoffman, Eixample

Photo: www.hofmann-bcn.com

The restaurant of the great Mey Hofmann, this is modern Catalan cuisine at its best. The staff here are excellent – friendly, knowledgeable, attentive – and the food just makes you smile. For a special meal with food that you want to talk about but is not outrageously priced, make a point of visiting Taverna Hofmann.

8.      Can Kenji, Eixample
If you love sushi and you also enjoy watching it be prepared then sit at the bar at Can Kenji. This small Japanese restaurant serves some of the best sushi in town and their other Japanese dishes are equally good. This place feels like a Japanese kitchen and often with a fair share of Japanese, which is always a good sign. They offer good value lunch menus during the week too.

9.      La Pubilla, Gràcia
And while we’re talking of good value lunch menus they don’t come much better than La Pubilla in Gràcia. The quality of the food on offer at this small Catalan restaurant next to Mercat de la Llibertat is simply stunning. Get there early as by 1.30 the place starts to fill up and the line often goes out the door. If you can’t get there for the lunch menu do not worry, it’s open in the evening too.

10.  La Royale, La Bonanova

Photo: www.laroyale.es

We end with a hamburger restaurant. But this isn’t just any hamburger restaurant. La Royale likes to pair its burgers with 'gintonics' and has an array of gins that any gin bar would be proud of. The burgers from around the world using Wagyu beef, Angus beef, ostrich, bison and tuna that is minced on the premises at 0°C. Accompany this with some great starters and three different types of potato offerings and you’re on to a winner.

So there you have it. Ten places in Barcelona where you’re sure to experience good food in a great setting.

Bon profit! (as they say in Catalan).

Rob Dobson is a digital marketing consultant from London who now lives in Barcelona. You can read more about Barcelona on his blog at www.homagetobcn.com or on Twitter at @H2BCN.

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CULTURE

Why you should visit Barcelona’s quirky egg dancing festival

Have you ever heard of Barcelona's bizarre egg dancing festival? This year, this odd tradition has even been declared a Heritage Festival of National Interest. Here's everything you need to know.

Why you should visit Barcelona's quirky egg dancing festival

Every June, the city of Barcelona celebrates the L’Ou Com Balla festival, held in conjunction with Corpus Christi, which is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday in commemoration of the Last Supper. 

This year it runs from June 16th to June 19th, 2022, with decorations and events on in various locations throughout the city. 

Roughly translated as ‘How the egg dances’, L’Ou Com Balla is one of the region’s quirkiest festivals, along with the correfocs (where fire work-wielding devils run through the streets). The festival is only held in Barcelona and its origins date back to between the 15th and 17th centuries according to different historical records. 

Several places in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain, such as the coastal town of Sitges, mark Corpus Christi with giant carpets made of flowers and petals spread throughout the streets. While you can see a few of these in Barcelona, the Catalan capital celebrates a little differently. 

Here, the flowers decorate the public fountains found in many squares, cloisters and gardens across the city. And in the middle of these elaborately decorated fountains sits an egg. 

Pushed up by the force of the water, the eggs seem to almost dance in the spray, creating a beautiful, hypnotic, if not slightly comical scene.

The trick to make it dance is to blow the egg yolk and white out of the shell through a tiny hole made in the bottom and leave the whole shell intact. 

You can see the dancing eggs in fountains across the city in locations such as Barcelona Cathedral, the Frederic Marès Museum, the Marítim Museum, Casa de l’Ardiaca and Palau Lloctinent, as well as in 16 others you can see here

This means that it’s also a chance to get to visit little-known squares in palaces, churches and other places you can’t normally access without paying a fee. 

This year is set to be a little different as Barcelona will be celebrating the 700th anniversary of the Corpus Christi procession.

2022 is the first year that Barcelona’s Corpus Christi celebrations have been proclaimed as a Heritage Festival of National Interest too.

See how the egg dances in Barcelona. Photo: Esme Fox

There is currently an exhibition of the history of the festival on at the Capella Reial de Santa Àgata de Barcelona.

As well as the dancing eggs on the evening of June 18th 2022, from 6:30pm onwards there will be a parade of gegants through the Old Town, Catalonia’s traditional giant puppets. Each neighbourhood in Barcelona has its own specific giants who represent them. 

There will also be dancing and fireworks on in front of the Ajuntament/Ayuntamiento (Town Hall). 

On June 19th 2022, there will be the Corpus Procession with yet more giants, acrobatics and a special mass at the cathedral. 

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