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he Catalan capital is one of the world's leading food and
drink destinations, and your culinary tour of Barcelona
begins almost as soon as you leave the airport. On the
short drive into the city you pass the imposing Voll
Damm brewery, which produces (among other brews)
Estrella, one of Barcelona's best-loved beers. If you're
interested in the history of the brand and its output you can even
take a tour of its old brewery, the Antiga Fabrica Estrella Damm.
Once in the city your main concern will be tting in as much eating
and drinking as you can while experiencing some of what makes
Barcelona such a unique and tourist-friendly destination.
Downtown, the tree-lined boulevard Las Ramblas really is the
heart of the city. Stretching from the
port up to Plaça Catalunya, the main
square, it's also home to the Boqueria
market, which sells everything from
manchego cheese to tripe, salt cod
and sheep's heads. There are several
cafés in the market and if you want
to go native, head to Bar Central la
Boqueria. Breakfast is a great time to
visit, with a selection of pastries on oer, or try pan con tomate -
a mix of tomato, garlic and olive oil slathered on toasted bread.
Where art meets food
Behind the market is the revamped Raval district - home to several
visit-worthy restaurants and bars. Caravalle is great for lunch and
serves a good burger with blue cheese and pickled cabbage, and
decent piri piri chicken. It's laidback and justly popular at weekends
for brunch. It's also close to art museums MACBA and CCCB.
In the midtown Eixample district is Bar Mut, worth seeking out
for some of the best tapas in town and brilliant service. The menu
changes daily depending on what's available at local markets. The
house speciality - an egg yolk carpaccio with crispy noodles sprayed
with steamed shrimp - tastes as delicious as it sounds weird.
Also midtown, is Cinc Sentits (Catalan for ve senses), where
self-taught chef Jordi Artal produces visually stunning dishes such as
foie gras, leeks conted in olive oil and Chardonnay vinegar on pu
pastry with a swirl of chive and Pedro Ximénez grape syrup.
You'll nd several of Gaudí's architectural masterpieces in this area,
too. Passeig de Gràcia is home to Casa Batlló, known locally as the
house of bones, and UNESCO world heritage site Casa Mila, better
known as La Pedrera - or quarry - thanks to its curved stone facade.
A UNESCO heritage listing was also granted recently to the stunning
For a city break it's hard to beat Barcelona, where you can not only have
your �ll of culture and enjoy all manner of eating and drinking experiences,
you can catch a few rays on the beach, too WORDS STEVEN SHORT
Spanish Barcelona in London
Not leaving London this summer but have a taste for tapas?
There are plenty of quality Spanish options in the capital
Authentic dishes on oer include chickpeas with spinach and
bacon, and patatas bravas; there's also a great selection of cold
meats and look out for daily specials. barra�na.co.uk
This homage to Barcelona, with branches in Brixton and
Battersea, serves authentic dishes such as cod fritters (buñuelos
de bacalao) and meatballs (albóndigas). boqueriatapas.com
What the guys behind the ever-expanding Brindisa don't know
about tapas isn't worth knowing. Check out their chilli garlic
prawns (gambas al ajillo). brindisatapaskitchens.com
Aside from tapas such as grilled chorizo and salt cod carpaccio,
Dehesa oers two great set menu options that provide the ideal
introduction to Spain's famous sharing plates. dehesa.co.uk
STARAntic Hospital Sant Pau, which opened to the public in February this
year and is one of the best showcases of modernism in the world.
No visit to Barcelona is complete without a glass or two of local
cava, and for the best you'll need to head back downtown. Most
bars will serve you a glass of cava, but at El Xampanyet in the El
Born district you'll nd a delicious home-brewed version (the
eponymous xampanyet) unlike any you've tasted before.
Beyond El Born lies Barceloneta, the city beach. Soaring above the
shore is swanky Hotel Arts, a 44-storey tower whose rooms boast
some of the best views of the city. It's home to two great restaurants:
Arola, overseen by Sergi Arola, who reinterprets Spanish classics for
an international crowd; and two Michelin-starred Enoteca, where
Paco Pérez puts the emphasis on sh and
seafood - if lobster carpaccio with citrus
salad sounds like your kind of dish, put
Enoteca on your Barcelona itinerary.
THERE ARE SEVERAL CAFÉS IN
THE BOQUERIA MARKET AND IF
YOU WANT TO GO NATIVE, HEAD
TO BAR CENTRAL LA BOQUERIA
Clockwise from top: Gaudi highlight Park Güell; art
on a plate followed by a pool party at Hotel Arts;
inimitable Sagrada Família; Frank's Bar, Hotel Arts