Barcelona cuisine is amazing! Check out the seven essential Barcelona food experiences you shouldn’t miss when you visit the exciting Catalan city.
What would you do if you had the opportunity to visit Barcelona for just two days?
This happened to us when we only had a couple days free between our planned visits to Girona and Helsinki. Though we strongly prefer slow travel, we made an exception for Catalan’s jewel city – we just couldn’t say no to a weekend trip to Barcelona, Spain.
Seriously, only crazy people would pass on the chance to visit one of the best food cities of the world, even for a short time. We’re a lot of things but we’re not crazy!
With some advance planning and not a lot of sleep, we managed to pack in a ton of food fun even though we just had two days in Barcelona during this particular trip.
What’s So Special About Barcelona?
Barcelona is a city that takes its food and wine seriously. Locals regularly plan their days around food and why shouldn’t they.
These lucky Spaniards live in a city where the food is as exciting as the architecture. Or is the architecture as exciting as the food?
Either way, we can all agree that Barcelona has an awesome food scene to go with its Gaudi buildings. And it’s not just the residents who benefit from the abundance of Mediterranean seafood and Catalan wine.
With some savvy planning, visitors can experience some of the best Barcelona cuisine in just a few days.
How To Enjoy Barcelona Food In A Weekend
We recommend that food travelers spend at least a week in Barcelona to enjoy the city’s wonderful cuisine at a leisurely pace as well as the numerous Barcelona attractions. Sometimes, however, we all have limited time. Don’t despair.
Here are seven food activities to do in a hectic but fun Barcelona weekend.
1. Experience A Ham And Wine Tasting
There’s only one problem with the ham in Barcelona – it’s addictive.
Whether it’s jamón serrano or jamón ibérico, Spanish ham melts in the mouth and leaves a deliciously salty aftertaste. It’s easy to find ham everywhere, especially at cafés, restaurants and stores.
To learn more about Barcelona’s ham, why not participate in a Barcelona Ham & Wine Tasting Experience? We recommend taking this interactive ham tasting which includes lunch and plenty of wine, ham’s perfect partner in crime.
Based at Barcelona’s new Gastronomic Center, the class provides a virtual tour of Spain that starts with a video and continues with a generous tasting of five wines and six hams. Here you will learn to put all of your senses into the wines and develop your own aromas before indulging in copious amounts of ham and cheese served with wine or beer to wash it down.
2. Eat At A Tapas Bar
Eating tapas is one of the best things to do in Barcelona whether you’re a foodie or not.
Barcelona tapas restaurants serve food in a social setting where diners are encouraged to taste lots of items and share plates with their friends. Eat at one of the city’s many local tapas bars like Quimet & Quimet and Lolita Taperia or blow it out at an upscale tapas bar if your budget can handle it.
Barcelona tapas favorites include Patates Bravas and Jamón Ibérico as well as creative dishes like spherified olives, cannelloni and molletes (mini bocadillo-like sandwiches).
Check out Barcelona Life to learn about common tapas dishes as well as some Barcelona restaurants where you can try them.
3. Dine At A Gastronomic Restaurant
Barcelona is the epicenter of gastronomic dining, so eating a meal at a high-end restaurant is a must.
We recommend dining at one of Barcelona’s 22 Michelin starred restaurants though there are other Barcelona restaurants like City Bar & Restaurant at Grand Hotel Central that serve beautiful food that challenges all of the senses.
These Barcelona restaurants are pushing culinary boundaries in exciting ways by combining local Catalan ingredients with ultra-modern molecular gastronomy techniques. The results are magical.
Make reservations in advance to avoid disappointment since Barcelona restaurants tend to book up early.
4. Participate In A Wine Tasting
The country of Spain produces 69 wine appellations across 17 provinces, with many of the great winemakers not far from Barcelona. These nearby Catalan wineries produce the globally popular Cava sparkling wine as well as other excellent varietals like Tempranillo and Monastrell. We highly recommend participating in a wine tasting to learn more about these wines and more.
For a unique wine tasting experience, go to Mirador de Colom (the Christopher Columbus statue) at the base of La Rambla. Yes, this wine tasting room is inside a statue constructed in 1888!
Wine offerings include affordable choices like Abadal Crianza 2012 and Penedes Cava bottled for two years. Wines are available both for tasting and purchasing. As an extra bonus, you can ride the elevator to the top of the statue for a bird’s-eye view of the Barcelona skyline.
Don’t worry if you don’t see the entrance to Mirador de Colom at first glance. The tasting room is literally in the basement of the statue, so you need to enter the statue by descending a small stairwell. If we could find it, you can find it too!
5. Take A Food Tour
Barcelona has a lot of food tours, which makes sense for such a culinary city. Although it’s easy to find a Barcelona food tour, it’s important to find a good one or you’ll be wasting your valuable time and money.
Schedule a food tour soon after your arrival in Barcelona. The tour will help acclimate you to the Barcelona food scene. Plus, you can connect with fellow travelers during the tour.
6. Shop At A Local Market
Barcelona is an ideal city for travelers who like to live like locals.
The city has 39 local markets spread throughout the city, each filled with seasonal produce, meats, cheeses and so much more. Most tourists flock to La Boqueria, the large central market rated by many periodicals as one of the world’s best market.
Although we recommend a stop at Barcelona’s famous market for the experience and photos ops, we also recommend that travelers check out a neighborhood market frequented by locals instead of tourists. We enjoyed our visit to Mercat del Ninot so much that we produced a YouTube video about the experience.
Consider renting an apartment for your Barcelona visit. Having access to a kitchen will allow you to shop at local markets and prepare wonderful food at home. Not only will you get to experience life like a true local, but you will be able to save some money to splurge at one of the city’s gastronomic Michelin starred restaurants.
7. Drink Cocktails At A Trendy Bar
Considering the quality and quantity of Catalan wine, not to mention the wine’s affordability, it’s ironic that cocktails are so popular in Barcelona. Ironic or not, Barcelona is a great city to try cutting-edge cocktails, many crafted with infused gin and unique ingredients.
Brits may have invented the Gin + Tonic, but Barcelona has taken the trendy drink to the next level at cocktail bars like Javier de las Muelas’ Speakeasy at Dry Martini. Be sure to try a specialty cocktail like Speakeasy‘s Jim-Let Fox-Trot made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, Lima Rose’s and Tónica Premium Schweppes.
Plan to drink your cocktails late in the evening. Many BCN restaurants don’t start serving dinner until 8:00 pm. The cocktails bars are open even later.
About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: February 13, 2017