When we chose Barcelona, I had a couple of dishes on my food wishlist! – to experience tapas and eat authentic Paella and for the best local food we always follow two rules:
1. Eat where the locals eat (especially a priest or policeman), not at a place with menus aimed at tourists.
2. Ask a good local taxi driver!
Our faithful taxi driver (Raul – number available on request!) that we used throughout our visit made a few suggestions and wow he really came up trumps.
This was the recommendation for the best Paella in town, and it did not disappoint. Located on the beach front, it not only has great tasting Paella but you can also enjoy the spectacular beach and sea views at the same time. Not the cheapest Paella in town, between 16 and 25 euros but definitely worth the extra for that authentic taste.
Watching the chef cook in the open plan kitchen, is like watching the conductor of an orchestra, as he juggled numerous pans of paella. I chose the ultimate with a mix of meat and seafood with whole prawns and mussels in shells perfectly placed on the top.
The paella is served in the pan with wooden spoons, which I assume, stops you scratching the natural non stick of the pan. They also do vegetarian paella – Marianne tried a mushroom, asparagus and artichoke paella which tasted equally amazing (not that I ate some of her’s as well!!).
In true Marianne fashion she managed to sweet talk her way into the kitchen.
If you make it to Barcelona, then give this place a go! you can check out their web site here
La Esquinita de Blai
There are Tapas bars everywhere in Barcelona, but Raul recommended us to head to Carrer de Blai. A long straight pedestrianised road full of people eating outside, with lots of different bars and restaurants on either side, the whole length! There was so much choice! but we ended up going to La Esquinita de Blai and we weren’t disappointed. Its quite a small bar, but was full of locals, which is always a great sign.
As we entered, the bar was covered in beautiful looking snacks, which we found out were called pinchos.
It works like a buffet – you take a plate and help yourself. You are charged by the colour of the stick, plain sticks were 1 euro each and the red ones were 1.80 euros (there are little shot glasses by the plates – you put the used sticks in the glass, and they count the sticks at the till when you’ve finished). I would always suggest finding out the prices before you eat half the buffet, just in case other bars charge more! What can I say the pinchos was absolutely amazing – really good flavours and they are freshly made on site.
I wanted to do quality control on the tapas too – so promptly ordered some tapas from the menu too. My favourite was the prawn tapas – this cost 8 euros but wow – great portion of prawns, with garlic, chilli and apple. I wasn’t sure how the apple flavour would go but it complimented the taste of the dish and the chilli wasn’t too over powering. Marianne had a favourite too – it was a croquette shaped mushroom, chicken and creamy cheese filling – very tasty !!
Me with the manager. Thank you
El Dinamic de BCN
Located very near to where we were staying, is El Dinamic, tucked away down a side street (Passage de Pere Calders, 4, 08015 Barcelona). It was a great find and somewhere for a relaxed casual evening. Like the other restaurants we had tried, it was full of locals eating true Spanish style – relaxed eating, with great flavours, colours and people enjoying the food and atmosphere.
There was a menu available in English, but we were offered another menu of ‘specials’ just in Spanish. The staff were really fun and spoke English, and were very happy to take the time to explain the various dishes. The roasted peppers and chorizo tapas is worth sampling and they also had great salads, local cheese boards and meat dishes.
More importantly they made Mojitos – which is Marianne’s preferred drink. They also have a very interesting ‘living green wall, completely covered in plants. It gives the feeling of sitting outside when you’re not!
Wednesday evening is a great night to go, as they have entertainment every Wednesday, on our visit there was a guitarist called Alejandro Salas playing. Absolutely amazing check him out on you tube here. The way he played the guitar was mind blowing and he is seriously talented. We ended up staying until he finished, and enjoyed having a good sing along – although to begin with Marianne was the only one singing! – (nothing to do with the mojitos!) soon most tables were joining in and it was a great atmosphere. A beautiful ending to a beautiful evening – Thank you El Dinamic