It would be hard to encompass my experiences in Barcelona. In simple but true terms – I fell madly in love. From the scenery, to the art and architecture, to the people, culture, and of course, the food – It is a definite gem in the heart of Spain.
I think as a traveler, I always look to immerse myself in a city’s energy. Barcelona is the place for that – to me it felt like everyone around me had an infectious spirit – from the passersby on the street, to my great aunt Lulu and her daughter Sylvia, to the man selling churros on the corner, to the chic women sipping their Sangria by the ocean. I wanted to meet them all, I wanted to inhale this energy and drink in this spirit.
And though those notions are relative, what no one can deny was that I did, enjoy every last morsel of food. I am not a shopper but I will treat myself to a proper meal, 3, maybe even 4 times a day when I am on vacation.
My first post shows that no matter where you go, the food in Barcelona is exceptional. I start with a local franchise found all over Spain called Café &Te. Truth be told, I didn’t expect much from this place, found in many malls and busy streets alike. But we decided to sit because we had been tired from exploring our neighborhood. To my surprise, everything was nice – well presented, and still more delicious than most tapas places I had been to outside of Spain.
I started with pan con tomate (which you will soon find, became comfort for me) and croquetas. I loved the warm and crunchy bread with the cold, sweet tomatoes on top, seasoned simply with olive oil and salt. The croquetas were crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, and quite tasty. But the star of the afternoon was the surtido de Ibericos or the Iberian assortment platter with generous servings of various Spanish style cured meats for a little under 10 Euros – A steal! This went perfectly atop the pan con tomate. I finished off the meal with some rich churros con chocolate dusted with finely granulated sugar (I went simple with plain chocolate, but it comes in many flavors such as mint, caramel, praline and mocha). I washed it all down with what they call a Dulce Delicadeza – an ice cold Coke, enhanced with fresh orange peel and vanilla flavoring.
Dinner followed in a small tapas bar that my Tita Sylvia and Tio Pascal took us to called El Canalla. The place was quaint, situated in a very pristine area of the city called Sarrià. Known for serving small plates and a fantastic selection of wine, it is a common hotspot amongst locals.
The Cava was flowing and the tapas kept coming. Ranging from 2-11 Euros per plate, it was quite reasonably priced for the quality of the food. Don’t let the term “small plate” fool you because these portions were good for sharing.
The food was phenomenal. A personal favorite was the calamares a la plancha – the squid was so fresh and lightly seasoned for that perfect bite. I usually like to add a spritz of lemon, but these were awesome alone. The pan con tomate came with jamon Iberico, which of course was 2-in-1 goodness, while the la russa, which is a Spanish potato salad, was so comforting and reminded me of home.
Here are all the small plates we feasted on…
A special shout out to Tita Sylvia and Tio Pascual, who introduced us to the gorgeous neighborhood of Sarrià and took us to El Canalla.
Find a Café & Te branch through their website cafeandte.com/
E Canalla – Carrer Major de Sarrià, 95, 08017 Barcelona, Spain