Following on from my Barcelona Travel Diary post, check out my Top 5 Eats in Barcelona, plus a recipe for one of my favourite Spanish dishes – paella!
My sister and I love burgers – we are attempting to try every burger place in Auckland, and every time we try a new one, I always ask her “so, how do you like your burger?”, and her reply is always the same – “BACOA is still the best!”. Paired with patatas bravas and a beer in hand, these are some of the best burgers you will ever have. Click here for my review and photo diary of BACOA.
Our top choice at BACOA is their Vegetariana burger – the patty is made of chickpeas, sweet corn, baby spinach and red pepper and topped with a spicy tomato chutney and creamed goat’s cheese. Ooh la la!
We also loved the Japonesa burger (beef glazed with traditional teriyaki sauce) and the Pollo burger (fresh chicken breast marinated for 12 hours, then chargrilled).
Recommended dish: The vegetarian burger… with a side of patatas bravas and a cheap beer too!
Brunch & Cake by the sea
If you are looking for an EPIC breakfast/brunch place (or if you need an awesome hangover cure meal), then look no further than the hip cafe, Brunch & Cake.
They serve freshly made juices and smoothies, coffee, iced drinks, pancakes, eggs benedict with a twist, acai and dragonfruit smoothie bowls, amazing banana bread, colourful salads and more! Every dish is super-sized, well presented and tastes out of this world!
Recommended: Acai and dragonfruit smoothie bowl with homemade granola, toasted coconut and apple, pancakes and a freshly squeezed juice.
Favourite location: Passeig Joan de Borbó, 5, on the way to Barceloneta beach
Instagram / Website
Mercat de la Boqueria
La Boqueria is next level in terms of markets. I guarantee you will want to visit more than once while you are in the city. The market is located off La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous street – just look for the throngs of people and you know you have come to the right place. It does get very crowded, especially at lunchtime, so be prepared!
The market is feast for your eyes, nose and mouth. The multi-coloured freshly made juices at the front of the market will salivate your taste buds, the smell of tapas will fill the air, you will be amazed at the hanging jamon and chillies, and the rows and rows of fresh produce, meats, nuts, chocolates and you probably wouldn’t believe it… but every sweet you can imagine! There are also several tapas bars inside the market and surrounding the market to eat at.
Recommended: I love the range of fresh juices and one flavour I haven’t found in New Zealand yet is Pitaya juice, so I always order one or two of these!
Location: La Rambla, 91
Teresa Carles Eatery + Juicery
Teresa Carles is a fantastic chef. Her food is outstanding and full vegetarian. You won’t find any meat or fish at this restaurant, but never fear, her food is so delicious that you will probably want to become a vegetarian full time (still working on this!).
We first ordered a plate of six croquettes to share – each was filled with a different flavour combination and all had that ‘melt in your mouth’ WOW factor. We then devoured our main dishes – the Seitan burger with french fries and the Red pesto pappardelle pasta.
I highly recommend you try out Teresa Carles – her food is nothing like you have ever tasted before!!!
Recommended: Definitely order the croquettes – out of this world!
On my first trip to Barcelona, it happened to be my sister’s birthday and I wanted to take her somewhere special where we could get the full Spanish tapas experience – introducing Ciudad Condal.
A fellow foodie had highly recommended this restaurant to us, and even what to order, including the grilled langoustines (prawns), patatas bravas and the Cabreaos (shoestring fries with a fried egg chopped through it). The latter sounded amazing and I knew my sister would love it!
We ordered all of these dishes, plus more – the fried camembert (serious food heaven), chicken croquettes and the flauta (anchovy and eggplant sandwich), all washed down with Barcelona’s artisan beer, Almoga ver Classica.
For dessert, we ordered scoops of Haagen Daas ice cream, crème caramel and the Catalonian style cream, which had a perfect crackly top! Overall, fantastic food and service and our trip to Barcelona definitely ended on a high note!
Recommended: The fried Camembert was a standout, as was the Catalonian style cream.
Location: Rambla de Catalunya, 18
Simple Seafood Paella recipe
The first time I visited Barcelona, my sister and I made a beeline for the Boqueria market (as mentioned above) and afterwards, made out way around the outside of the market where many restaurants were serving Spanish tapas and also paella. While paella is not the city’s national dish (instead head to Valencia), we were craving it! We unfortunately chose a terrible restaurant (without previously looking at its reviews online) and their paella was the worst I have ever eaten. Far too salty which made it inedible and very little seafood.
Since being back in Auckland, I made it a priority to buy a paella pan and to start making paella for my family and friends. Below is my recipe for ‘Simple Seafood Paella’. You can add any seafood you like – whatever you have in the fridge or freezer.
This recipe is adapted from ‘The Food of Spain’ by Vicky Harris and John Newton.
1/2 cup white wine
1 red onion, chopped
12 mussels, bearded
Dash of olive oil
4 garlic gloves, crushed (using the back of your knife)
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 cup paella rice
1 teaspoon tumeric (I use this instead of saffron threads as it is cheaper, but still gives it great colour and flavour)
2 cups chicken stock
200g prawns (shell on or off)
500g skinless firm white fish (I used gurnard), cut into pieces
250g salmon, cut into pieces
200g frozen mussels, thawed and cut in half
2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian parsley
4 lemon wedges
1. Heat the wine and onion in a medium pot over high heat. Add the mussels, cover and gently shake the pan for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and reserve the liquid. Transfer the mussels to a bowl and keep warm in your pre-heated oven.
2. Heat oil in your paella pan (I used a 34cm induction paella pan). Add garlic and capsicum and cook for about 3 minutes (be careful not to burn it!). Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the reserved liquid (from the mussels), add the rice and stir again.
3. Add turmeric to hot chicken stock, then stir into rice mixture. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes (or until the rice is cooked – make sure you taste!).
4. Put the white fish, salmon, prawns and thawed mussels on top of the rice. Stir them around, cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, turning over the rice once, until the rice is cooked and the seafood tender (again, have another taste!). Add the mussels for the last 5 minutes to further heat through. Take off the heat, and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Add the parsley, add a slice of lemon to each dish and serve.