Spain is indeed unlike any country that I had ever visited; its rich tradition and interesting culture can never be mimicked nor replaced. Spanish cuisine is such a joy to explore! My gastronomical odyssey across Barcelona was a fulfilling one as I dug into fragrant paella and tranches of fresh seafood tapas.
I have listed 5 must-visit restaurants in Barcelona, from an internationally acclaimed tapas bar with over 100 years of history to a relatively new designer ice cream stop that is taking Barcelona by storm.
Ask anyone where the best tapas could be found and they would tell you Pinotxo. Despite being internationally recognized and loved by its locals, Pinotxo remains small and humble. The eatery is found in the local La Boqueria Market’s entrance and only 14 seats are available. The place is packed to the brim throughout the day and waiting for a seat is an arduous journey undertaken only by the diehard foodies.
The bamboo clams and grilled prawns tapas are cooked to perfection and indeed, no other tapas we had after could match up to Pinoxto’s superior standards. The downsides would be the waiting time and costly menu.
Mercat de la Boqueria
466-470, Barcelona, Catalunya
Tel: +34 933 171 731
Can Majo is a fancy Spanish restaurant owned by a dedicated family since 1968. The two generations currently work hand in hand to offer their patrons the freshest and most delicious seafood.
Awarded a Certificate of Excellence in 2013 by Trip Advisor and located just a stone’s throw away from Barceloneta Beach, Can Majo is a very popular dining destination and advanced bookings are strongly recommended. Remember to try their house specialty, caldero de bogavante, which is a succulent lobster stew served with fragrant paella rice.
Almirante Aixada, 23
08003 La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 932 21 54 55
CUINES SANTA CATERINA
Seated in the newly renovated Santa Caterina’s market is Cuines Santa Caterina, a lovely restaurant with an interesting concept. This bustling restaurant is divided into several small sections based on their cuisine but most dishes have been tweaked to cater to its Spanish residents.
Do not be fooled by the dishes’ simple appearances and inexpensive prices, as they are amazing taste wise. Even the specially concocted juices left an unforgettable impression. Must-order items include fried egg with baby squid (€13.80) and mushroom stuffed raviolis (€10.80). Reservations are not taken at this place but the divine food is worth the wait.
Avinguda de Francesc Cambó
16, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 932 68 99 18
Stepping into Vioko is like entering a miniature version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The only difference is that Vioko specializes in gelato instead of chocolates. However, Vioko also sells a wide selection of beautifully wrapped sweet treats such as truffles, macarons and candies, which are ideal as souvenirs.
Vioko’s interiors are incredibly chic, making the experience more sensational than ever. There are 36 different gelato flavours and the rich-textured ice cream had no tinge of artificial ingredients. A taste of heaven starts from only €2.80, voilà Vioko!
Passeig de Joan de Borbó Comte de Barcelona
55 08003 Barcelona
Tel: +34 932 21 06 52
The recommendations of Spanish locals brought us to Segons Mercat restaurant, an innovative tapas place located in the district of La Barceloneta. It was one of the restaurants to be bestowed a Certificate of Excellence in 2013 by Trip Advisor for its remarkably fresh tapas and attractive prices.
The delectable squid ink paella completely surpassed our expectations – it was one of the best we ever had. Wine starts at €3.50 per glass and two course set lunches start from €10.00 per person.
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes
552, Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +(34) 934 511 698
About the writer:
Hui Jun Ng was previously a marketing executive and freelance photographer in the food industry. Her work has been published on Epicure, Lifestyle Asia and Meld Magazine etc. She is currently on a break and traveling around the world. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram or The Keepers Map where she shares useful curated travel itineraries.