You want to be wowed, you want to be fed well, or you want affordable food (or possibly all three). You’re in my favourite city, Barcelona (Spain), and you want feeding. Well, that was this week’s order; someone got in touch with me to ask for some recommendations. Travelling in a group usually means trying to please different taste buds, budgets and not to mention, expectations.
I aim to please, so these are my tried and tested suggestions:
GILDA by Belgious
Dark, sophisticated, and inviting, GILDA by Belgious is a tiny restaurant that has bags of appeal. Thanks to the effortlessly cool staff, it exudes an authentic Spanish style (though the menu has other ideas). The lighting is low and the space is snug, creating an intimate lux feel. In true European laid-back chic, the diners saunter in from about 10pm. Hushed, excited chatter is periodically broken with over the top raucous laughs and dramatic hand gestures.
The menu is edgy and inviting (and ever changing), with unusual ice creams frequenting the mains; salmon and old dijon mustard ice cream, and slow-cooked chicken, green curry sauce and ginger ice cream. For the less adventurous, there are plenty of tempting plates predominately laced with fine Belgian ingredients, such as steak and frites, and Flemish style beef stew with Leffe beer.
GILDA by Belgious is housed in one of my favourite neighbourhoods, Barri Gòtic. It’s in the old part of Barcelona and is full of stylish, sometimes surprising, charm. After your meal, simply walk a few minutes to any of the understated bars.
Taller de Tapas
It may be a chain of many, but there’s a reason this tapas joint is so popular in Barcelona. The freshly cooked dishes are displayed as small works of art and the service is fast. You’ll be pulled in all directions by the menu, so opt for a few of your favourites and try some new ones as well. Bunyols de bacallà (salt cod and parsley fritters) and Patates Braves (fried potatoes with garlic mayonnaise and spicy smoked paprika sauce) were repeatedly ordered during my visit.
With so many tapas restaurants on offer in the city, Taller de Tapas is one of the slightly pricier ones (though still very affordable). I think the fresh food and stylishly, classy décor is worth it. The bustling restaurants (there are three in Barcelona) are popular come lunchtime or dinner, or even late drinks. Go for the branch in the Les Corts neighbourhood if you want to sit by the floor to ceiling window for a spot of people watching. It’s a lovely relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
Hard Rock Café
You either love this place or hate it, and when recommending places for others I always try to include a variety. Some love commercial mega stars, whilst others prefer the more local approach to dining.
I’m not going to pretend I’m too much of a traveller to have visited. The nachos are epic. If you’re starving and not wanting to take a chance on a new place, or you just fancy some delicious American style food, you can’t go wrong with the Hard Rock Cafe.
It’s slap bang in the middle of the city, so you can’t really miss it. The tourists head here in droves, so be prepared to wait for a table unless you go for a ‘skip the line’ pass. The atmosphere is lively and there is certainly plenty to keep you occupied; film props, music memorabilia, and televisions. If that fails, then you could always resort to conversation with your fellow diners. Whatever you decide, you’re sure to be well and truly stuffed.
If you’re after a yummy cake or pastry (and why wouldn’t you be?), then make sure you include a stop (or two) at Escriba. Located on La Rambla, you can’t miss this pretty building. You’ll see the beautiful mosaics and the glistening name.
Step inside, and you’ll probably smell the sweet delights before you see them. Though I’m sure the croissants decorated with gold leaf will capture your attention.
Escriba is a really affordable treat, be that breakfast, lunch or perhaps a mid afternoon snack. Whatever your excuse, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Have fun exploring the eateries in Barcelona! X
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