Culinary Travel, Feast, Featured Articles, Spain
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A Taste of Barcelona

serrano ham

barcelona markets

I’m hungry.

I’m hungry, and home sick for Barcelona – my spiritual home. By spiritual, I mean I’m there in spirit, pretty much every few days.

It’s a place I love, and have lived in for a short time. Too short. But it’s a place I will get back to. Move to. Live in again.

I love the fact that it’s right on the sea, but close to the mountains. I can go sailing on the Med in summer and skiing in the Pyrenees in winter.

I love the architecture, and have a dream of finishing my architecture degree there one day. Don’t care if I’m the oldest chick in the Uni; it would be a privilege to study in a city that gives so much architectural pleasure.

I love the shopping, the bars, the vibe. See, told you I was home sick.

And, oh boy, do I love the food.

Food has to be one of the greatest joys of life. You can learn so much about a city, their culture and people just by what they consume. I like to get to know them real well!

La Concha, Plaza George Orwell

serrano ham
One of my all time favourite restaurants in Barcelona is La Concha, on Plaza George Orwell.

Whenever we headed to the city for a weekend break we’d always get a flight from London after work on Friday that would get us into the centre for about 10.30pm. In many other cities the chance of finding somewhere still serving at this time is often slim. Not in our beloved Barca.

Without fail, each time we landed, we dump our bags where we were staying and head to La Concha. Frank, a stern looking man in his 60s, would greet us, then quickly a flash of recognition would help spread a smile across his face and we’d converse in stilted Spanish till we were firm friends again.

He’d produce the late-night menu, and after a few visits realised we’d always order the same thing: Serrano ham, Manchego cheese and a carafe of vino tinto. Happy days.

La Boqueria, Las Ramblas


Set just off Las Ramblas, The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (known simply as La Boqueria) is the perfect pit stop if you’re feeling a little peckish but don’t know what you fancy.

The colourful stalls and variety of foods never fail to entice. There are the usual fruit and veg stalls, like any market, but here you can also savour local cold meats, Spanish and international cheeses, and chocolates. Lots of chocolates.

Stall owners stand proudly by their produce, never pester and always smile. Not sure I could offer too many smiles if I was in their position. But then any job where I’d have to get up at the crack of dawn, or before, would doubtful bring me happiness.

What does bring me happiness, however, is beer… and tapas, and in pretty much any market in Barcelona you will find tiny tapas bars tucked away in corners, usually with elbow room only. They serve cold beer and an array of tapas sourced from the stall holders of the respective market. It’s a great way to taste local produce on the hop.

And if you’re not sure what you want, then head to Sants train station and stand forever and a day in front of this monstrosity. I guess this is what they mean when they say there’s something for everyone!

Biggest Vending Machine in the World!

In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t get anything from it, but I did stand there mesmerized for about 10 minutes!

Have you been to Barcelona? Do you have a favourite tapas bar?

16 Comments

  1. You should definately try the Cervezaria Catalana in Carrer de Mallorca. It has been tapas heaven for me since my first visit to the city almost 10 years ago.

    • Hey Stefan, I know it well! I’ll be back in Barcelona this year, so should do a whole tapas guide for the city, and will definitely include this joint 🙂

  2. I love Barcelona & Sant Antoni Market.

    Just looking at those chocolates makes me drool!

    There are so many good Tapas Bar, the one I remember was called Bar Manolito, not sure if it still exists but it was so good 😉
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    • I should take note of the names a bit more. I’m usually led by my eyes. I especially love pintxos, so when I see all those tasty morsels lined up I rarely see what the restaurant’s name is!

  3. Gabi Logan says

    I love the picture of and the way you described the vendors at the market. You are so much more likely to peruse wares and eventually buy something when the vendors are so calmly proud that their wares will sell themselves! When I was just in India, I can’t tell you how many times we *didn’t* buy something we *wanted* because of pushy vendors.

    There is a little wine bar that I found behind Plaça Sant Jaume with a wonderful late night menu and sometimes music as well that I had to take a picture of because I didn’t know how else to find it again. I’ll dig it up for you to check out when you’re in town 🙂

  4. I totally agree. The hard sell drives me batty, and I usually refuse to buy anything from them out of principal. Although, I guess it must work with a lot of people, otherwise they wouldn’t do it… maybe.

    Ahhh, Placa Sant Jaume. We lived just behind there on a little street the other side of Carrer Lledo. Was the bar called Ginger by any chance? Used to be our local. Well, one of them anyway 🙂

  5. Hi! I believe you mean Sant Josep Market (most famously known as La Boqueria).
    Sant Antoni exists, but it’s at least 20min walk from La Rambla and it’s been closed for years for restoration works… The pics look like la Boqueria, too.

    • Marta, do you know, I’ve been convinced for years it was Sant Antoni market… how bad am I? Thanks so much for correcting me 🙂
      Will be visiting in May so must brush up on my place names!

  6. Pingback: Discovering Barcelona’s Gràcia District

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