Best places to eat paella in Barcelona
Posted by edux127 on January 26, 2007
Barcelona’s many restaurants and bars offer the best of Catalonia’s diverse cuisine. Other Mediterranean countries, like France and Italy, have heavily influenced Catalan cooking, which features lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, pork and veal.
Catalans love cold meats (embutidos) of all sorts, especially pork sausages (butifarra). The staple dish is butifarra amb mongetes, a stew of pork sausage and white beans. Escudella is a traditional stew made with sausage, chickpeas, pasta and a giant pork meatball. It’s generally eaten at Christmas time and followed by crema catalana, a sweet egg custard topped with caramelized sugar that has become a popular dessert throughout Spain.
Fish is a major part of the diet. Zarzuela is a tasty seafood casserole that originated in Barcelona and spread to other parts of the country. Bacallà a la llauna is cod cooked in a tin dish.
In summer, you can enjoy lighter dishes like escalibada (red peppers mixed with aubergines and onions) and esqueixada (red peppers with cod and onions). Or head for one of the many farmhouse (masía) restaurants on the outskirts of the city and try some traditional dishes. If you’re lucky, the restaurant will serve calçotada, a sauce (calçots) made from tender spring onions served on an oven-fired tile, followed by grilled meat.
Catalan dishes are always accompanied by pan con tomate, country-style bread smeared liberally with ripe tomato, olive oil and salt.
There are eight different areas in Catalonia that produce good quality wines. The region is famous for its white wines from the Penedés area and cava, sparkling white wines. The quality of red wines, particularly from the Priorato area, has improved in recent years.
Where to Go
You’ll find traditional Catalan restaurants along with restaurants featuring regional cuisine from other parts of Spain. There’s also a variety of eating places serving Italian, Chinese, North African, Middle Eastern and Mexican dishes along with more trendy designer restaurants.
Basque cuisine is served in Irati and Zure Etxea. The old town has quite a few Galician restaurants like the famous Bar Celta, which offers a variety of traditional octopus dishes.
You’ll find three famous traditional Catalan restaurants worth visiting in the area around Monumento a Colón (Columbus Monument): Ca l’Isidre, Botafumeiro and Casa Leopoldo.
There’s plenty of reasonably-priced seafood restaurants down by the harbour, in La Barceloneta, that specialize in paella and the Catalan equivalent, fideuà, based on noodles instead of rice. Arròs negre is a kind of paella cooked in a stock of squid’s ink. Can Ramonet, Set Portes and Salamanca are three of the best places for rice dishes in this district.
The seafood restaurants at Port Olímpic (Olympic Port) display their fresh fish in cases by the door and many offer sea views.
There are more seafood restaurants with views in the Maremàgnum, an ultra-modern shopping centre by the harbour, close to the Ramblas.
Tapas are often served as an appetizer along with a glass of beer or wine before lunch or dinner. However, you can make tapas into a meal by ordering a selection to share with friends. Lots of informal tapas restaurants have recently opened up along Paseo de Gracia and Rambla Cataluña. Traditional tapas are small portions of things like pescaíto frito (mixture of deep-fried Mediterranean fish), patatas bravas (chunks of potato, deep-fried and served with spicy garlic sauce), calamares a la romana (squid rings fried in batter) and boquerones en vinagre (marinated anchovies). Try the following places for tapas: Tapa-tapa, Von-Till, Ciudad Condal or Moncho’s. For bullfighting memorabilia, try Los Toreros on Calle Xuclà, close to the Ramblas.