Barca Food 1
7th August 2015

Eat Like Royalty in Barcelona In 3 Easy Steps.

Wandering the streets of Barcelona trying to choose where to sit and eat can be a bit of a mission. Actually it can be a bit of a nightmare. That’s the scourge of brilliant cities everywhere: lots of very average restaurants, trying to get lots of money from the one-time custom of lots of tourists… with the really good places becoming like proverbial needles in a haystack of mediocre (and sometimes truly awful) food.

They are out there, the good restaurants. But the thing is, life’s short – and city breaks in Barcelona are sadly a lot shorter, and you really don’t have time to waste looking for needles in a haystack. You definitely don’t have time – or money – to waste on subpar food. So allow me to sort out at least one evening of eating and drinking for you while you’re there. Here’s how to eat incredible food in Barcelona in three easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Walk, take a metro, or get a taxi to Poble Sec
  2. Find Carrer de Blai.
  3. Eat everything in your path.
Carrer de Blai

Love’s young dream…

Carrer de Blai is a pedestrianised street in the newly trendy (maybe even a little bit hipster) Poble Sec neighbourhood. I stumbled upon this place by total accident while aimlessly wandering the city with friends, looking to refuel before we made our way out to Sonar by Night. It ended up being one of the highlights of my trip to Barcelona.

The whole street is filled with awesome little places to eat proper Spanish food. There are tables out on the street, and old couples holding hands while they stroll around, and people eating, drinking and having a lovely time from one end to the other. It’s just the sort of place where you want to spend time. Especially when you know that you can get pintxos for a euro each, and tapas for half the price you’d pay in more tourist-heavy parts of town. There are so many little places to choose from that the only sensible option is to absolutely pig out and eat in as many of them as possible. Start at the Parallel Avenue end of the street and work your way up – and don’t miss these places as you make your way to the other end…

Blai Tonight

Blai Tonight

Cute eggs…

This is a good one to go to at the beginning of your pintxos pilgrimage. It’s tiny and you might find it difficult to get a seat, so it’s perfect for when you’re still full of energy and not rendered useless due to overeating and/or too much sangria and cava and beer. Blai Tonight has nailed pintxos. Their combinations are tasty, imaginative and very pretty, and you can choose from about thirty different kinds. Big juicy prawns, tiny fried quails eggs, thick slices of soft cheese, spicy sausages, and lots of really great aioli sauce are all regular features, and the pintxos are only a euro each. Try to control yourself though – you have four more stops to make before this food crawl is finished! Have a few pintxos and a drink then walk out, turn right and take your first left. About thirty seconds walk down the street you’re on, you’ll find your next port of call…

Quimet & Quimet

Quimet & Quimet

So shiny

This is another stand-up joint, and it’s one of Barcelona’s more famous tapas bars so expect a crowd. When you get there, you’ll realise why it’s a good thing you didn’t fill up in the first place. The guys at Quimet & Quimet make some glorious food – this is a place for proper foodies and fans of good seafood. Their croquetas are some of the best you’ll eat in Barcelona (possibly anywhere), the shrimp with caviar and red pepper is sublime, and the Iberico pork cheek is enough to make you pack up everything you own, move to Barcelona, sell all the stuff you own, and spend everything you make on more pork cheek. The selection of wine is superb, and they know their way around a squid too. It’s just superb. But this is a crawl, so save some room for the next spot. Drag yourself away from these ridiculously good morsels, then head back up the road you onto Carrer de Blai, and the very first place you see on the left is your next stop.

Tasqueta de Blai

Tasqueta de blai

Simple and very well executed tapas

If you’re lucky you’ll get a spot at one of the tables outside on the street. If not, there are seats inside. If they’re all taken, well, you’re still on your feet. But who cares, you’re having a great time, you should be fairly tanked up with wine/beer/cava/sangria/all of the above, and you’re eating all kinds of excellent food. A seat is just a bonus. More great pintxos for €1 here, as well as really lovely staff and a buzzy, party atmosphere. They do lovely piementos de padron at Tasqueta de Blai, and their baby octopus is perfectly cooked – crisp, light batter on the outside but perfectly tender octopus within. The cava is cheap, the jugs of Sangria are on offer, and the food is great. It’s worth coming back here during the day (it’s open longer hours than some other places on the street) just to sit outside and slowly eat and drink yourself silly while you watch the world go by.

Blai 9

Blai 9

When the taste lives up to the aesthetics…

One more savoury stop to make is at the lovely Blai 9. You might be feeling a little full by now, and you may have a fizzy brain from the cava. Well, pull yourself together because you don’t want to miss the pintxos at Blai 9.  They don’t put their pintxos on bread here, but instead they get a little creative (and very aesthetic), serving their stuff on mini crepes or fill quesadillas, wraps and pittas, blinis and all kinds of other lovely carb-vessels. Everything looks incredible, but the best thing is, it tastes just as good as it looks, and as you hope it will. The pintxos on the white plates are €1, those on black plates are €1.50. The mini hamburgers and chorizo blinis are gorgeous little meaty morsels, and try the black rice and squid wrap – it’s really tasty and topped with a fat prawn. The mojitos are excellent here too. Have a few of those.

La Churre

La Churre Poble Sec

No better way to end your meal

I’m assuming you are a normal human and therefore have a separate dessert stomach that never fills, no matter how much savoury stuff you’ve just eaten. So for your final stop on pintxos promenade, head further towards the end of the street in the direction you’ve been going all along, and on the lefthand side you’ll see a very unassuming looking little place called La Churre. Go in, order some churros con chocolat, and top off all the delicious stuff you’ve already eaten with some thick, bittersweet molten chocolate. The churros here are great – soft and sweet in the middle and perfectly crispy outside, absolutely fit for purpose (to carry as much chocolate from cup-to-mouth as possible).

It’s the perfect way to end a perfect pintxos pilgrimage in Poble Sec.

Dee Murray

Dee Murray

Dee Murray has a very simple travel MO... Go to great places; do awesome stuff; eat delicious food; then come home and write about it all.

17 Comments

  • Mark Dignam

    Great selection!
    Just be careful on Blai – not everywhere has great food. Use your senses and you won’t go too far wrong… Or you could just use this list!

    15th August 2015 at 12:54 pm
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      Yep, there are definitely some dodgy ones – I think a quick look and a sniff of the pintxos tells you everything you need to know!

      17th August 2015 at 4:03 pm
  • Jennifer O'Connor

    Thanks for all the helpful tips! This makes me very excited about my trip to Barcelona. Definitely going to try all the recommended restaurants ? I hate spending days looking for somewhere nice to eat, now I won’t have to. Thanks for a great read ?

    19th August 2015 at 1:00 pm
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      Ah brilliant – you won’t regret it I promise. Have a lovely one 🙂

      31st August 2015 at 4:31 pm
  • Stephen

    Top tips once again from into the blue blog! Has defo saved me time and money while enhancing the experience from the usual tourist rat race to an engrossing Spanish experience! Thanks a mill!!

    20th August 2015 at 8:10 am
  • Eavan o'Donoghue

    This is great!! I usually spend forever walking around anxiously hoping I choose somewhere good to eat, you’ve taken all the stress out of it! I’m going to Barcelona in October and will definitely be visiting these places!!

    20th August 2015 at 8:59 am
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      Ah that’s great! We’ve already had someone write their own blog about following this guide – hope you’re as happy and well-fed as they were 🙂

      31st August 2015 at 4:31 pm
  • Colm Reynor

    ??? great, this will come in handy!

    20th August 2015 at 11:41 am
  • Janet westgarth

    If only we had gone to this district on our last visit. The friends we were with were so shocked by the prices on the Ramblas, we wended up in KFC!

    24th September 2015 at 10:12 am
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      I know Janet! We actually walked away from a restaurant in the Gothic Area because when they brought out our patatas bravas, they were under-cooked frozen chips – for five euro! It’s not good enough at all. Thank goodness these great little areas are still out there 🙂

      25th September 2015 at 8:05 am
  • Marie tierney

    How far is it from the rambles please

    3rd October 2015 at 4:43 pm
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      I actually walked to ramblas after eating here – it’s around 15 minutes I think?

      To be honest I was three sheets to the wind after a rake of sangria, but yeah I think it was about 15 minutes!

      20th October 2015 at 9:00 am
  • Pete nisbet

    This is very enlightening as I am visiting for the second time this year, on my own , the first a disaster in all ways but this info will ( I’m in no doubt ) make this trip so much better ,
    Thanks

    3rd October 2015 at 6:09 pm
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      Hope you have a great time Pete… bring me back some tapas, will ya? 😉

      20th October 2015 at 8:58 am
  • John

    Who knew Ryanair did a gourmet blog with food prices to match their air fares!! My mouth was watering reading this. Most of my trips to Spain have been further south but I’ve had Barcelona on my bucket list for a while, a visit to Poble Sec is now a must 🙂

    7th October 2015 at 6:32 pm
  • gj hough

    Tickets, tickets, TICKETS…(!)

    3rd June 2016 at 6:11 am

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