Thursday, September 22, 2011

Barcelona eats: bebidas, cena y postre

In Barcelona, locals don't eat until 8:00 in the evening. In fact, many restaurants don't even open until then and the crowd usually packs in at 9:30 or 10:00. Dinners are always accompanied by drinks and many courses served slowly. I love extended periods of eating and in Europe you can't help but spend a few hours eating in the evening. This was, by far, my favorite part of Spain.

Dinner 1: L'Amfora. Recommended by our hotel, we ate at this nearby street cafe, L'Amfora on our first night in Barcelona. We (my Dad was my wonderful traveling and eating companion) sat outside and feasted on what was perhaps my favorite meal during my trip.

Figure 1A. To drink: a pitcher of sangria (to be shared) and water (to hydrate).

Figure 1B. Pan con tomate. This simple starter was a common find in most restaurants. It is toasted bread with a thin layer of olive oil, garlic, and tomato. Love.

Figure 1C. A bowl of assorted olives. I was in heaven - as I am the olive queen.

Figure 1D. A first course to share. Escalavida, which quickly became my new favorite Spanish eat. It is a commonly found concoction of roasted red bell pepper, eggplant, onion, olives, and anchovies in olive oil and spices.

Figure 1E. My main course: baked cod with ratatouille (more eggplant, onion, red pepper, and olives in oil). Delightful and decadent.

Figure 1F. I'm not sure what happened, but the waiter started bringing us shots on the house. You can't turn down free drinks, can you? First, a digestif called Aromes del Montserrat. A licorice-y, herb-y concoction made by the monks at Montserrat. You better believe I bought a bottle to bring home.

Figure 1G. The European classic liqueur, Limoncello. Sweet and tangy.

Figure 1H. And finally, a green apple shot. Sweet and tart. I stumbled home.

Bebidas (Drinks). As you may have guessed, drinking is an essential part of any European lifestyle, including that of Barcelona. I may not have indulged in beer at breakfast like many locals, but I had something special with every dinner. Common choices include cerveza (beer), sangria, and vino (wine).

Dinner 2: L'Eucaliptus. The next night, we wandered to La Rambla, a central street in Barcelona filled with food, music, and entertainers. We found L'Eucaliptus on a side street and dined upstairs overlooking the nearby plaza.

Figure 2A. To drink: a glass of house red wine and water.

Figure 2B. A shared tapa to start: grilled prawns in a red pepper butter sauce.

Figure 2C. My first course: a house salad (i.e., ensalada de eucalyptus). Lettuce, tomato, carrots, cucumber, corn, heart of palm, avocado, olives, tuna, and anchovies. Tossed with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Talk about an over-sized salad. I was in salad heaven.

Figure 2D. My main course: escalavida (roasted onion, eggplant, red bell pepper, and anchovies) on pan con tomate. My two Spanish loves combined into one. Must re-create.

Cena (Dinner). Ahh, dinner. Most meals include bread, olives, and tapas to start. Then you order a first course, which could be salads or other vegetables. Main entrees in Barcelona focus on seafood including cod, tuna, clams, and red meat including beef and lamb. 

Dinner 3: La Clara. When I travel for work, I usually choose one night to splurge on a fancy restaurant with all the fixin's. For that night in Barcelona, we went to La Clara. Here, we sat outside on the street and ate for hours on many courses. Eating should always be this way.

Figure 3A. To drink: a bottle of house red wine and water.

Figure 3B. Pan con tomate.

Figure 3C. A house green salad to start, shared. Mixed greens, a hard-boiled egg, prosciutto, and avocado. Prosciutto on a salad is pure genius.

Figure 3D. My entree: clams and artichokes in a creamy green sauce. On the side (un-pictured) was another order of pan con tomate which promptly soaked up all that gorgeous sauce.

Figure 3E. For dessert: home-made tiramisu. Decadent and delicious. Some of the best I've had - and I've had a lot.

Postre (Dessert). Much to my dismay, dessert is not the focus of Barcelona. Common choices include creme brulee and ice cream - no local specialties as far as I could tell. Good thing there was plenty of other things on which to indulge. 

Dinner 4: Pizza and Pasta cafe.  On our last night, we wanted something simple. What is simpler than pizza and beer? We wandered until we found a street cafe that offered just that. Yum.

Figure 4A. To drink: una cerveza. 

Figure 4B. A salad to start with lettuce, tomato, mozzarella, and olives with an oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Figure 4C. Three of us shared these two welcomed pizza's. Pizza one: four cheese. I only remember one of the four, which was Gorgonzola. A brilliant addition.

Figure 4D. Pizza two: cheese, mushroom, and ham. With all the ham in Spain, it seemed an appropriate (and was a delicious) thing to order.

And this brings to an end my special issue on Barcelona eats. So long anchovies, pan con tomate, and bocadillos de jamon. Welcome back cereal, peanut butter, and spinach salads.


  1. I love homemade Tirami sue and pizza! yum! :)

  2. Looks fabulous and after you're away a while--cereal, peanut butter and spinach taste fabulous too!

  3. Ohmygosh I am seriously DROOLING here!! That tiramisu...and pizza mmmm:) I am so jealous!! Barcelona has some awesome food!!