We take a look at the best dining options within walking distance (1 mile) of city landmarks worldwide. Here we offer our 5 IDEAL restaurants close to the Las Ramblas, Barcelona
It’s easy to see why affable, approachable Barcelona sits atop the list of Britain’s most loved city breaks. The big BCN truly has something for everyone, whether you’re visiting for Messi, the mercados, mato or Miro.
The cuisine, too, is top drawer, but in a city so beloved of tourists, the traps – charging extortionate prices for second rate small plates – tend to outweigh the tasty. And near to the biggest of them all, Las Ramblas, there’s plenty of both the good and the bad. Let us be your trusted guide, then, with these; our 5 IDEAL restaurants close to Las Ramblas, Barcelona.
EL QUIM (0.1 miles)
Just seconds off the strip is one of the world’s most famous markets, La Bouqeria, where the food options, both sit down and take home, are plentiful. Perhaps the best place of all here is El Quim, a breakfast and lunch operation which kicks off early, serving those still partying from the night before, into those emerging with sore heads, into a lingering lunch time crowd. And it manages to leave everyone satisfied.
El Quim is famous for two fried eggs with baby squid or black pudding, washed down with a beer whatever time of day; a true breakfast of champions. If the seating (scant and in demand) and your stomach space allow you, why not see things through to lunch? Other plates on the menu to try are cigrons amb cloïsses (chickpeas with clams) and xipirons amb mongetes de Santa Pau (baby squid with white beans). According to those in the know (the place is populated by chefs from other restaurants) the ideal time to get to El Quim is when its shutters go up and the first egg gets fried. A touch much for breakfast? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place, then.
BAR CANETE (0.2 miles)
There’s spectacle to be found here, but not at the cost of a damn good meal. Located in the up-and-coming Raval, Bar Canete’s lengthy bar is the perfect place to enjoy a mix of theatre and flavour; from here you can watch the chefs cook and waiters sachay and sing their way through service. Booking is recommended, but walk-ins are generally accomodated in the earlier parts of the evening. Although notionally a fine-dining affair, the classics are reassuringly untampered with. Must-try dishes include salt cod croquettes, amazing aubergine crisps with a sticky balsamic reduction and a loose, luxurious version of paella.
DOS PEBROTS (0.3 miles)
Sure, there’s plenty of opportunity for tradition and a taste of the old school when dining in Barcelona, but the city also does a great line in modern, innovative cooking. Dos Pebrots manages to straddle both, paying lip service to dusty, well worn Mediterranean recipes with touches of modern gastronomy’s flair and finesse. That comes as no surprise when a former El Bulli head chef is at the helm.
It’s a small plates affair, although not exactly ‘tapas’. Again, no surprise from a former Adria lieutenant. Indeed, try sharing with any elegance an onion blackened in the josper oven then peeled back to reveal sweet, succulent flesh and a pool of garum. Or approaching a cod’s head with emulsified pil-pil sauce with grace. But oh, do try the dishes; simply exceptional.
Dos Pebrots delivers on its promise with poise, performance and most importantly, utter deliciousness. Best to book if you’re not a type to take disappointment well, and ask for a seat at the low slung bar to the right once you enter; that’s where the theatre goes down.
EL XAMPANYET (0.5 miles)
If it’s old school, traditional you’re yearning for, El Xampanyet will slake your thirst. Quite literally. This brilliant, always crowded joint is first and foremost a cava bar, but the food is fantastic, too. You can’t book, and you’ll stand, but that shouldn’t put you off one of the best dining experiences in the city. Small single bites on bread or potato (think anchovies in vinegar, chorizo or tinned tuna) lure you in, but soon you’re having such a good time you commit to being fed more heartily; grilled octopus with green sauce or sirloin with padron peppers, for instance. A real gem of a place, as long as you forget normal rules of personal space!
QUIMET Y QUIMET (0.8 miles)
Stumble out from El Xampanyet and onwards to Quimet y Quimet, around 20 minutes on the hoof, if you’re up for more of the same. This place comes with the added appeal of their ‘conserva’, a huge library of pickles, ferments and preserves that form the backbone of the bar’s tapas offering. These preserves sit in jars which line the shelves of the bar alongside a huge collection of wine and spirits, served in canape sized, open faced sandwich style – a ‘montadito’. Come with confidence, as a menu isn’t provided and space is scant, and you won’t regret it.