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travel

T

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 ƒtting 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 o‹er, 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 ƒve senses), where

self-taught chef Jordi Artal produces visually stunning dishes such as

foie gras, leeks conƒted in olive oil and Chardonnay vinegar on pu‹

pastry with a swirl of chive and Pedro Ximénez grape syrup.

You'll ƒnd 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

BARRAFINA

Authentic dishes on o‹er 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

BOQUERIA

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

BRINDISA

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

DEHESA

Aside from tapas such as grilled chorizo and salt cod carpaccio,

Dehesa o‹ers 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 ƒnd 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 ƒsh 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

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