Heading to Barcelona?

Make the most of it with these insider tips

I’ve told you all about the delicious wines that I found on recent trips to Barcelona.
So now how about the best places to eat and drink?

Barcelona is one of my favourite places to visit - I can’t think of a more vibrant city for amazing Spanish wine and cutting-edge cuisine.

I always count on my good friend Ferran Centelles, Spain’s most respected wine writer, for tips. He was the head sommelier at the infamous El Bulli restaurant for 13 years, so there’s no better man to make recommendations in his own city.

So here go my Barcelona highlights (and you can mostly thank Ferran, not me):

Best dinner - Gresca. The food is incredible and the wine list is a total delight. The place was full of winemakers during Barcelona Wine Week - always a good sign. It’s a fairly small and chaotic space, but would you have it any other way?!

Best tapas - Bar del Pla. You can’t beat a big gin and tonic followed by delicious small plates - all in a cosy underground cellar in the Gothic quarter. Honourable mention - Denassus.

Seriously fancy dinner - Enigma. Run by one-half of the Adrià brothers of El Bulli fame. We had 18 (!) courses - the food is creative, challenging and exciting. It was a real buzz to taste some WineSpark wines from the list - A Pita Cega, César Marquez and Cal Batllet Priorat. Ask for Frede the sommelier and he’ll help you out!
Wine bar - La Vinya del Senyor. A beautiful spot in the Gothic quarter, and just the 2,000 wines on the list to work through.

If views are your thing - Terraza Martinez. Perched on top of the hill in Monjuïc, the panoramic views of the city are incredible and the food is very good too.

Informal lunch - Maitea Taberna. This tavern is a haven of Basque cuisine, my guilty pleasure is their beef txuletón with the most scrumptious chips. Ferran raves about Granja Elena too.

Day trip - Head up to Penedès, and see Roser and Eva at Mas Bertran, who make our delicious Balma Brut Nature Reserva fizz. If you have time for lunch, Cal Xim or El Cigró d'Or are the region’s best restaurants. All just an hour away from Barcelona.

Coffee - SloMov. I’m a cold-hearted coffee snob, and I always go out of my way to visit this place. Cafès El Magnífic is a good shout too if you’re in the Gothic quarter. And I’ve heard good things about Three Marks.

Stay - the budget usually allows for pretty bland business hotels, but most recently I stayed in Ocean Drive Barcelona, which was modern, welcoming and great value.

So if you’re planning a trip over there any time soon, I hope these tips come in handy.

And if you're not, maybe it’s time to change that!

Finally it goes without saying - to drink the best wines in these places, ask the sommelier. Just tell them what you like drinking, and they’ll delight in finding the perfect bottle for like-minded people. I know a fair bit about wine at this stage, but I’ll always ask the sommelier to choose for me.

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