Berlin is unpredictably cool, Amsterdam is laid-back arty. But Barcelona’s smoking-hot restaurant scene makes it Europe’s most talked about city right now.
If Barcelona wasn’t always famed for its food, it certainly is now. In some respects, it has the edge over Madrid as the best-provided gastronomic city in Spain. The capital has mountains, but Barcelona has mountains and the Mediterranean, and fruit and fresh fish, plus a traditional cuisine with personality and soul. And ‘Barça’ also makes a brave effort to march in step with the latest food fashions in London and New York, from pop-ups to supper clubs. Here, as elsewhere, the days of the expensive restaurant as an item of cultural importance are over. The good stuff is now happening at a different register: amazing fast food, bistro cooking, beachside dining with a twist. From bread to beer, there’s a new emphasis on craft values and ever higher quality. Even simple fare can be worth the Metro journey. And if Barcelona has one thing clear, it’s the importance of big flavour above every other consideration. It’s all about the food. And also the drink. Not to mention the lip-smacking nibbles.
The Size Revolution
The French word as applied to Barcelona is really a catch-all term for a tendency towards smallish places where the crowd is lively and the food is real and honest. Cañete Barra y mantel, Jose María Parrado’s restaurant in the Raval, is a Catalan eating-house crossed with an Andalucian tapas bar serving beef Wellington and local classics such as meatballs with cuttlefish. A few streets away on the Rambla del Raval lies Suculent, with traditional Catalan and Spanish dishes. At Sagàs Pagesos, Cuiners & Co they use ingredients produced in the Pyrenees by the Rovira family: don’t miss the fantastic roast porchetta.