As another year of eating in Barcelona draws to an end, I wanted to share with you my highlights of the year.
A theme that I picked up on was the gastro restaurant. A category that I often found to be missing. The original (0pened in 2017), featured on the Sheila Dillon BBC Food program is Gresca Bar, an open kitchen serving up albondigas and mollejas Catalan classics like you haven’t quite seen them before, all on appropriately chipped vintage china. The much loved Santa Gula opened its own misfit bar offshoot Gula Bar re-imagining tapas so that things like the bikini sandwich is transformed into a rectangular log filled with shredded beef.
Less bar/bistro but in keeping with this high quality, expert execution gastro eating trend are Hetta and Fismuler. Hetta a season led, vegetable-forward large restaurant where I had my favourite dish of the year: an egg yolk in a puddle of Parmesan whey with various fish roes and shaved bottarga for company.
It was Direkte Boqueria that swept me off my feet with its market to table concept and is my favourite restaurant in 2018. 8 seats only with a disarming use of Asian influences, the likes of which I have never encountered in Barcelona. If you eat at one restaurant I recommend, make it this one.
And possibly, if you love Japanese, also this one: Sato i Tanaka. Exquisite nigiri served up one piece at a time. The last time I went with a group of girlfriends, I insisted they stop talking when eating so they could fully appreciate how sublime the morsel they were putting in their mouth was.
For the times when you want less worshipping and more fun. Kak Koy in the Gothic Quarter specializing in delicious things from their robata grill. The eggplant with miso is the only way you will ever want to eat eggplant.
Then, Peruvian, there are a lot of good Peruvian restaurants in Barcelona but it’s to Yakumanka that I returned again and again. A serious focus on sustainability and freshness it’s the whack you over the head tartness and flavour of the ceviche that has me hooked.
The brunch obsession showed no signs of slowing down. My favourite entry this year was Little Fern Cafe in out-of-the-way Poble Nou. Their stacked corn fritters or kimchi pancake shake up the sometimes generic offering.
I discovered many great food shops. Some classics like La Chitarra Ecologica for handmade pasta and pre-made lasagna, La Castafiore for all things Italian and some very good Spanish things. Exceptional cheese from Fromagerie Can Luc & 12 Graus.
My now go to Chinese Supermarket, that doesn’t seem to have a name and won’t appear on google maps but is definitely there and sells anything from fresh sugar cane taller than my Swedish friend Sara to everything else I need to make my kitchen a better place: Xin Yan Kuang.
And coffee. Must never forget coffee. I never do. Weekend coffee at Mag by El Magnifico, in the hand from the stamp-sized Dalston, with a funky pink sticker at Funky Bakers, after a bit of market shopping at Syra, the slow way at Slow Mov in Gracia, across from a halal butcher’s in the Raval at Nomad Every Day.
Direkte Boqueria – Pòrtics de la Boqueria, porticos 4-5
Fismuler – C/ Del Rec Comtal 17
Gresca Bar – C/ de la Provenca, 230
Gula Bar – C/ del doctor Rizal, 20
Hetta – Passatge Marimón, 5
Kak Koy – C/ Ripoll 16
Little Fern Cafe – Carrer de Pere IV 168
Sato i Tanaka – C/ Bruc 79
Yakumanka – C/ Valencia 207
Fromagerie Can Luc – C/ Berga, 4
La Chitarra Ecologica – C/ Joan Blanques, 56
La Castafiore – C/ d’Aribau, 58
Origo Bakery – C/ de Milà i Fontanals, 9
12 Graus – C/ Bailen 238
Xin Yan Kuang – Paseo de San Juan, 12
Yellow Bakery – 4 Biz LOC 1 Calle Regomir
Funky Bakers – Paseo del Born 10
Dalston – C/ de Ramelleres, 16
Mag by El Magnifico – C/ de Grunyí, 10
Nomad Every Day – C/ Joaquim Costa, 26
Slow Mov – C/ de Luis Antúnez, 18
Syra Coffee – Mare de Deu dels Desamparats, 8