Spanish food and wine is bold and exciting due to its varied weather and terrains, natural abundance of edible sea life and influences from other countries and cultures like France, Greece, the Moors, Jewish communities and Carthaginians.
Eating in Spain can be an absolute joy from one of the simple products protected by the “Denominación de Origen” like a wedge of cheese or slithers of cured ham with a glass of sherry to a full on feast of suckling pig or maybe a paella. Tapas is of course regional to Spain and presents an excellent form of dining, small dishes that can kick start an evening or make a whole meal if you feel so inclined. As with eating anywhere abroad where you may not be sure of the cuisine, watch and learn from the locals, they usually have it sussed.
There are some amazing daily food markets in Spain, a lot under permanent cover, that have an incredible selection of local vegetables, fruits, fish and meat at great prices and superb quality. Often very social affairs there are usually bars and cafes within the market providing fuel for the journey home with the groceries and a lively place to sit and chat. Do not be surprised to see the locals tucking into a goblet of wine well before midday to set them up for the day ahead.
Barcelona is a delicious adventure where the enthusiastic gastronome will happily graze for hours and even the libraries serve beer.
This restaurant was the main reason for coming to Barcelona ( I declined admittance to the Gaudi fan club) Queue up and wait…. its worth it to be seated and eat at this inspirational small Tapas bar. A lip smacking wake up for the taste buds where even the simplest of tapas like tortilla get you excited. Watch out for what the locals are eating and add that to your list of things to try. Black pudding (Morcillia), sardines, fried chickpeas, you will want it all.
Suitable for those who love to eat
Drink glasses of beer while queuing up then tuck into some excellent spanish wine.
Effect on Wallet Bearable
269 Diputacio, 08007 Barcelona, Spain (Eixample)
+ 34 934880977
Follow the steps down to the basement for an excellent meal of super tasty, sometimes heart stopping tapas think fried potato with paprika , fried egg and pork fat sausage ( there are of course many other less lethal dishes). This was one of my favorite food joints in this city.
Suitable for lunch and dinner, all the family, those brave of heart.
Drink cava and wine
Effect on Wallet Bearable
Located in the amazing Boqueria market (worth a trip on its own merit) this is where the buzz is at. Stand back, watch and learn…..then dive into a free seat to sample the excellent authentic tapas at this institutional market bar. I had chickpeas cooked with sausage and onion, vinegar and parsley that was so good I apparently talked about it in my sleep.
Suitable for those that enjoy the bustle
Drink local rusty red or cava
Effect on Wallet minor
c/del Baluard 56 metro barceloneta
Trust me, although this shabby unsigned restaurant might not look like much, the food here is wonderful.Order what you see flying out the tiny kitchen. Don’t dress smart and come well prepared with maps and a good idea of where you are going as it is hard to find.
Suitable for the intrepid food explorer.
Effect on Wallet minor/bearable
Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 19 70 03
This is the tapas bar of dreams. Blue tiled walls, hams hanging from the ceiling, sawdust on the floor, drinks flowing, constant chatter and delicious small selection of snacks .
Suitable for a quick drink and nibble to add a swathe of color to your night
Drink the cava, beer or Spanish cider.
Effect on Wallet minor
Be aware that visiting the markets in Barcelona will make you want to cook. Stacks of fruits and vegetables, huge trays of ice piled with fresh fish and seafood and rows of chilled counters with every part of the animal for sale.
Here are a few you might like to visit.
Sant Antoni Market
Ronda Sant Pau/Carrer Comte d’Urgell, Barcelona.
This food market is where the locals shop.
Mercat de Sant Josep/ Boqueria Market
La Rambla de Sant Josep,
The most popular of food markets in Barcelona for tourists so although an obvious choice it is amazing to visit and has some great tapas bars on site to try.
Mercat de la Llibertat
Plaça Llibertat 27, Barcelona
Smaller than some of the other markets this one is worth a wonder if you are in the area or even just a really keen market goer.
Mercat de l’Abacería Central
This market moved here in 1892 to provide a space for local farmers to sell there produce. Filled with lots of locals.
Expect to eat surprisingly delicious dishes that include;
Butifarra – an uncured spiced sausage
Calcots ( spring only) baby leeks that are best grilled and served with romesco ( a nutty tomato sauce)
Chickpeas, often with onion, parsley and sausage
Creme catalana – a baked cream flavored with cinnamon and lemon with a caramelised top.
Escalivida – the spanish ratatouille with aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and oil.
Esqueiada – a lively salt cod salad with tomatoes, onions and vinegar
Fideua – noodle like paella with meat and or fish.
Fish including mullet, prawns, mussels, bream, sardines, squid , octopus can all be expected to be excellent from this coastal city.
Goats cheese served with honey (mel l mato)- so deliciously simple
great Olive oil is produced around the region of Catalonia and will be liberally used on fish, vegetables and meats
Pan con tomate, toasted bread rubbed with garlic, tomato and drizzled with olive oil – oh yes, when its good its excellent
Suquet de Peix – seafood and potato stew with garlic and tomato
Cava, gallons of this quaffable liquid is produced near by
Priorat – deep dark red which is reassuringly expensive
Sangria ( a fruity wine punch) makes for a thirst quenching drink to help bring the afternoon to a close.
San Miguel would be my beer of choice although almost everywhere will serve some sort of “cerveza” (beer) in a small glass that is the perfect refreshment on a hot day.
Ibiza has very much a dual personality. Besides providing sun, fun and so much more for the party crazy 20 something Ibiza is also a delux playground for the rich and energetic. Besides its natural beauty of hidden beaches, and white washed hilltop villages there are many superb restaurants accessible by yacht (or road).
Oh so cool and trendy this restaurant serves delicious food out on the decks overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean. With some chill out beats to listen to and its beautiful cliental and staff to ogle at its hard not to like this place.
Suitable for splashing out and the tanned and beautiful
Drink Cocktails , champagne and extra large bottles of wine
Effect on wallet damaging
Picture sitting under the majestic fortress of old Ibiza town, the warm evening air making the first cold beer taste perfect and the expectancy of a delicious meal ahead. This is el Olivo.
Suitable for a late supper in the old town
Drink a beer to take the edge of the day then choose from there good wine list
Effect on wallet bearable
Scenic restaurant on the beach of Es Cavellet Beach, enjoy the paella, fish of the day and deep fried baby squid.
Suitable for post lunch sand castle competitions
Effect on wallet bearable/
The Fish Shack
Shack might be a too glamorous a word for this oh so simple but fantastic place. Head to Talamanca Bay, over the rocks ( passed Sa Punta restaurant) and you might be able to dine on probably the islands finest seabass served with delicious potatoes and a simple tomato salad. No address. No website. Not even sure it has a name!
Suitable for smug in the know diners who know a good bass when they eat one
Drink ice cold beer
Effect on wallet minor/managable
Away from the madding crowd Sa Punta serves a very decent Spanish meal in laid back setting. There is a very comfortable open air cocktail bar upstairs where you can let the evening slip away lying on beds while overlooking the pretty old town.
Suitable for an out the way delicious meal
Drink what you like but go upstairs after supper for some Ibizan cocktails
Effect on Wallet bearable
Trendy cool beach restaurant smothered in sand, sun and the cool cats. Eat fish, eat pudding then go lie on the beach ( without clothes if that sort of thing takes your fancy).
Suitable for people watching
Drink large bottles of rose
Effect on wallet damaging
Mercado, Calle de Cataluna, 07800 Ibiza
Excellent fresh fish, vegetables and meat can be found at this busy undercover market in the town. Not particularly cheap.
None of the supermarkets are really deluxe but they will certainly provide the basics.
Near San rafael
The fish on the island are usually fantastically fresh, delicious and also served simply grilled so is usually a great choice at a restaurant particularly the sea bass, sea bream and squid.