Welcome to the grand old city of Barcelona, and your Classic Taste and Tapa tour.

This tour is a continuation of my first day, my first tour and subsequent refining excursions over the last 25 years.
You will be exploring the historic Rambles, Raval, the Gothic and the Born districts of Barcelona, between Placa Catalunya and the Old Port.

Most of the establishments you visit form part of the history of Barcelona, it is very hard to beat them for their perserverence and authentisity. Like good wines, they get better with age. They're all set in their ways, sometimes slow, a proper Barcelona lunch is 3 hours. You may need to adjust and absorb, the aromas, flavours, the history and the pace, and let Barcelona and the climate do the rest.

Within minutes of your arrival you will find yourself in Placa Catalunya.
For about the last 150 years, the Bar Zurich on the corner of Placa Catalunya and the top of the Rambles, is the place to meet
The bar is in the same location but not the same building sadly, since the inaugeration of the first train station of Barcelona and the first "Zurich" Café in 1862.

From the terrace in front of the Bar Zurich, the Rambles stretches down to the port, the statue of Cristopher Columbus and the Mediterranean Sea. The 18C Barrio Chino and Raval are on the right and the Roman, Medieval, Gothic district of the city, are on the left.
Behind you lies the uptown Rambles de Catalunya, the Modernist Eixample residential and business district of Barcelona, the Diagonal, and the small towns of Gracia, Lesseps and Sarria on the foothills of Tibidabo mountain.

google map of all points of interest

Classic Barcelona photo gallery

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Classic Barcelona Taste & Tapa Tour guided tour with Paddy Mannion
Price 90 euros p.p.

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Bar Zurich, train and metro station, 1862

The Bar Zurich, is situated in what is known as the golden triangle of Barcelona beside two of the busiest train and metro station entrances.
It doesn't matter if this is your first visit or your hundreth, whether you are skipping classes, missing work, going shopping, hanging out, meeting a friend or a lover, you can sit on the vast terrace on the corner of Placa Catalunya and the sun will be shining on you.
Enjoy a café con leche en vaso, a large white coffee which will allow you to finish your croissant.

On a typical taste and tapa tour you will be able to visit between 4 and 8 locations and these are my favourites

Café Zurich
Cafe de l'Opera, 1929, La Rambla, 74
Quim de la Boqueria
Bar del Pi
La Pineda
El Portalon
El Seu
La Vinya del Senor
Euskal Etxea
La Xampaneta
Bar Celta
Palau de la Musica
4 Gats

Barcelona Points of Interest Google Map

Mostra Barcelona Taste & Tapas & Culture en un mapa més gran

To start your tour, cross the Ronda and walk about 50 meters down the Rambles to the Font de Canaletes.

The Fountain of Caneletes
No matter how far away you travel, if you drink the water of the fountain of Canaletes you will always return to Barcelona.
In the 1930s, supporters of Barcelona football club would gather here for the latest results, and it has become a important meeting point for Barça fans ever since, especially when they win the King's Cup, the League or the European Championship.

Palau Vierreina

Continue down the Rambles on our way to your first snack at the Boqueria market.
You will pass newspaper stands, flower shops, Barcelona information, Farmacia Nadal 1850, the Theatre Poliorama, the Palau Virreina, Casa Beethoven 1883, the fountains of C/Puertaferrisa at the site of the Gates of Barcelona, the church of Mare de Deu de Betlem 1680 (replica of the Black virgin of Montserrat)

You are at the site of the old walls of Barcelona. In the 11th Century an iron gate was opened to allow the Christians to attend Mass.

la Boqueria, 1836. Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria.
" If the Unicorn existed it would be sold here." Barcelona's first municipal market.
Nowhere is it more evident the variety, quantity and quality of food available for the Catalan table all under one roof. Get past the inital and expensive stalls and get into the centre. Buy with your eyes, but not everyone want's you to touch or pick the fruit. You will be fascinated by smells, colours, the range of prices and the shouts of the traders big and small. Lace clad queens and princess' call you darling and "guapa" as they proffer their best cuts, and it seems the more selective the product, sweetmeats, tripe..., the more glamourous the hairdo, makeup and lace.

Regular visits will teach you who is taking care of you best. When your Spanish has reached a certain level and you are not quite sure what you would like for dinner, ask the ladies. Tell them you are entertaining you parents in law (suegros) and you have 10 euros and 1 hour to prepare. Nothing will give them more pleasure than to give you the 5 basic points of a tasty recipe as they will chop and prepare your order. The price will be the same if you bought the chicken, fish or side of meat whole and never said a word.

While in the Boqueria enjoy the bars, snacks and watching the traders

El Quim de la Boqueria, 1987
A hard working crew of lads accompany Quim and part of the atmosphere is how they all fit in such a small place. There's the constant banter, joking and slagging that comes with the buzz of the Boqueria. Over the years visitors and chefs from all over the world have enjoyed this down to earth cheerfulness as they sit on Quim's famous stools and allow their apetites to follow their eyes from one interesting plate to another.. Imaginative and delicious is how you would describe Quims creations and fusions.

Try: Oxtail and shrimp, fried eggs and squid, rice with lobster, fava beans and cured ham, washed down with a glass of cava from Colet, a red wine from Penedès or a white Albariño

Cross the Rambles and pass Casa Xanco Cotchet, Gentlemen's outfitters since 1820

Cafe de l'Opera, 1929, La Rambla, 74
Located opposite the opera house, the Café de l'Opera has witnessed the coming and goings of every bohemien, artist, archietect and philosopher to pass through Barcelona. Everyone has to squeeze through the narrow front door which would suggest a small bar, however, find your way into the back and things start to open out and up. There are numerous pleasant lounges in a historic setting.
The Café de l'Opera continues to be very socially active with regular "Tertulias" and meetings of, musicians, dancers, politicians, archietects, wine and whiskey tastings and even a regular radio program.
The Café de l'Opera has a modestly named bottle museum but nowhere have I seen such a comprehensive collection of spirits from around the world. Where I would be surprised to find one bottle of Irish Whiskey, here I was astonished to find an entire cupboard of whiskeys from the Emerald Isle. The same goes for Tequilas, Canadian and Burbon...Visits by appointment.

The Café de l'Opera follows the tradition of having all the national newspapers available for the use of Clients. Early in the day I recommend teas, coffees, hot chocolate and churros, a "bikini" toasted cheese and ham sandwich or a more traditional and hearty Catalan "Pa amb Tomaquet" with cured ham, white sausage(Butifarra blanca) or fuet. For a quick sip on the trot, try a "carajillo de cognac", ..a small glass of coffee cut with spirit of wine.

Gran Teatre del Liceu 1847, Rambla. 51 - 59
Barcelona's Opera House has been at the centre of the Rambles and the centre of Barcelona's cultural life for 160 years.
Distroyed by fire in the 1994 the Opera house was enlarged and reopened in all its glory in 1999. Today it is one of the largest and most technically advanced theatres in the world. Well worth checking out if you like to dress up and if you appreciate Wagner which is very popular. There is also a program of concerts, dance as well as small format productions in the Petit Liceu.

After visiting the Café de l'Opera we go back up the Ramblas, past Casa Xanco Cotchet and the intersection of C/Boqueria. Bear right into C/Cardenal Casañas at the Dragon & Umbrella and follow this street into the Gothic district and the Placa del Pi.

Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi, 1453.
With origins going back to the second half of the 11th century and now a popular location for Spanish Guitar recitals

Plaza del Pi and Plaza Sant Josep, Barrio Gotico,
The Plaza del Pi is a popular meeting point inside the Gothic district of Barcelona and is surrounded by narrow streets, arcades, small shops, bars and restaurants. The Square is dominated by the basilica of Santa Maria del Pi. After the Moorish invasion fishermen found a statue of our Lady hidden in a pine tree and hence the dedication of the name of the Church.

There is often an artesan food market in the plaza, and aritsts regularly exhibit and sell their paintings right beside the Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi in the Placa Sant Josep.

Gavineteria Roca, 1911
Probably the most comprehensive knife and cutlery shop in the city. A shop with that historic way of displaying so many items it can make it hard to make up your mind.

Bar del Pi,
The Marti Pujol family have run the Bar del Pi since 1927. There is limited seating and space inside which generates a cosy atmosphere. Most customers prefer to have a coffee at the bar or on the terrace under the trees. It was once a coachhouse and it and the hotel beside it were a stageing point for coaches going in and out of Barcelona. The walls are decorated with drawings and posters by artists such as Simó Busam, Ramon and Josep Mascardo, Iranzo, Ester Castells, Floren de Retano amoung others. If you feel like entertaining yourself and the guests there is a piano in the small salon.

Early in the day try a "café con leche en vaso" for a substantial white coffee and accompany with a cream filled Xuxos. X is pronounced ch.

Coses de la Casa,1872
In a quieter corner of the Plaza del de Sant Josep Oriol opposite the Bar del Pi you will find this beautiful soft furnishings shop which has been here for generations. Towels, cushions, aprons, breadbags are beautifully displayed in a modernist shop window. Quality natural fabrics, most made by the house, eat your heart out Ikea.

Toy Shops
There are several lovely classic toy shops in this area, yes not a computer game in sight.. Look out for: Joguines Monforte on the corner of Placa del Pi, (the doorhandle is real ivory from the days when the shop specialized in billiard equipment), Drap on C/ del Pi specializes in dolls houses and miniatures, the Palacio del Jugete, 1836, C/Arcs 8, between the Port d'Angel and the Cathederal, and Casa Miranda Marti on Banys Nous 15.

Follow Carrer del Pi out of the Plaza del Pi and Pass Drap Miniatures

Drap Miniatures

Charcuteria la Pineda, 1930, Carrer del Pi, 16.
wine skins, cured hams, Spanish cheese, parmesan, assorted tapas, tinned goods, good cavas. white jacketed shopkeepers. The wine list is very old school, the usual "big" names, but then this is one of the oldest grocers shops in the Gothic quarter. Although the tables are tiny they are perfect for a glass of cava, a plate or two and a couple of forks.

La Pineda is one of those grocers shops where there are far more items than can fit in the shop, but they do. Just sitting in the same place it will take hours to take it all in, from chequered floor to cava and jamon lined ceiling, from the packed old display fridge and hanging sausages to the bottle lined glass cases, it is inconceiveable that another product could be displayed, and yet it is still possible for them to continue chopping orders of cheese and sausage and serve about 12 patrons without all hell breaking loose.
The staff are courteous white jacketed gents and ring from another age when downstairs knew more about keeping upstairs. They are not giving it away but they do have a good handle on quality so you never feel ripped off.

This is a spot for a good Ensalidilla rusa, assemblatges of artichokes, anchovies, clams and boquerones in vinager, Jamon Serrano and parmesan cheese. wash down with sips of good cava or a hearty rioja. The tables rotate regularly and although not cheap, its is hard to puncture the 25 euros.

Cakes and chocolates
Almost every street and neighbourhood of Barcelona has a cake shop of great pedigree. A popular sight on Sundays is a well dressed family, visiting the cake shop. On leaving someone will be carefully holding a methodically wrapped cake on the palm of their hand and in the crook of their arm, a bottle, Cava of course, purchased at the same bakery, I beg your pardon, Pastisseria.
When you receive you invitation to lunch at a Catalan house, you will find eyebrows raising in welcome if you present yourself with a cake of pedigree, chocolates and a bottle of gran reserve cava, ..brut, if there are older ladies.

Fargas, Carrer del Pi, for fine chocolate, bonbons, pralines and turron

Real Circle d’Artistes, Carrer dels Arcs 5/Port d'Angel.
The Reial Cercle Artistic was founded in 1881 and since 1959 has occupied the Palau Pignatelli andi the former Casa Bassols.
This gothic/modernist building sits in one of the busiest streets of Barcelona but very few have ever entered.
There is a comercial gallery with a "Dali" attraction. Climb the stone staircase and you will be greeted by a Conserje. Ask to see the current exhibition of members work and restaurant. Access to the terrace overlooking the Port d'Angel is through the restaurant. Excellent place to enjoy the rays and a book.

Palacio del Juguete, 1936, Carrer dels Arcs, 8
Historic toy shop, Opposite The Reial Cercle Artistic. The entrance and window display are enough to ignite the imagination of the oldest child.

Plaza Cathederal
Parts of the Gothic Cathederal may indeed be 2000 years old but the facade is faux Gothic from the 1800s when Barcelona went through its first Gentrification.

El Portalon, C/Banys Nous 20
On Carrer Banys (Bath Street) leading from the Cathederal square and continuing to C/Aviño is one of Barcelona’s oldest bars, the Portalon. The Partalon has cleaned up nicely. 25 years ago the vaulted ceiling was dripping with decades old cobwebs and the ghosts of Conquistadores.
Tavern atmosphere behind the cathederal, Gruff busy waiters, wooden tables,
Try a jug of young Tempranillo wine or a glass of cava, with a Xato Salad- black olives, anchovie, tuna and shredded cod on a bed of escarola lettuce drizzled with a Romesco dressing. accompany with patatas bravas and garlic shrimp.

Turn left at la Sombreria and follow C/Call (Jewish Quarter) to Plaza Sant Jaume where the Mayor and the President's offices face each other

Plaza de Sant Jaume
If there is a public protest in Barcelona i,t will probably stop here in front of either the Mansion House or the President of Catalunya's offices.

Cross Placa Sant Jaume to the left corner for access to the historic wax shop of Lluis Codina and el Meson del Café

El Meson del Café, 1909, Carrer de la Llibreteria, 16
This minute café just off the busy Plaza de Sant Jaume serves excellent coffee, hot chocalate and an old favourite, Xucos, ...long cream filled doughnuts. Every day about lunchtime they prepare fresh giant Pinchos. The round corner of the bar is a perfect perch for viewing the interior and passing trade.

Continue along C/ la Llibreta to the next intersection.

The Tabacs "Estanco" is a government authorised Tabacco shop, but profits are down as Barcelona and Spain goes no smoking.
The Estanco on the corner of is making a go of comercializing the "Caganer" ...pooping figures representing local and international personalities, usually politicians. The Caganer is placed in a not easy to find location in Christmas nativity scenes and is supposed to provide fertility, luck and happiness. The fun is finding them. Another quirk of Catalunya, which is not an overtly religous community, are live nativity scenes. I even know of one man who had to play the Caganer!

Turn left into the unusual Placa del Rei and History Museum of Barcelona before back tracking and crossing C/Jaume I, into C/Dagueria.

Gelateria Italiana Pagliiotta, 1983, Calle Jaume I, 15

El Seu Cheese Shop, Carrer Dagueria 16
A Hibridean selection of non pasteurized farmhouse cheese, modest wines, lovely old creamery interior and Katherine.
Katherine Mc Laughlin travelled the back roads of Spain in her search for real farmhouse cheeses, preferably non pastureised. Since 2000 she has won the hearts of Barcelona’s cheese lovers and many a restaurant that she now supplies. At this historic creamery you can join Katherine for a great value tasting of cheese and wine during normal shop hours. Uff! or whew! in English is one of the favourite cheeses made from cows milk. Pick up a selection of 4 distinctive cheeses and a bottle of wine and you will still have change out of 20 euros.

Continue along Carrer Dagueria and to the end of Carrer dels LLedó.
Turn left and cross Via Liatana into C/ Agullers and the Born district of Barcelona

Vilaviniteca 1932, Wine Shop and Delicatessen, C/Agullers, 7, situated on opposite corners
Founded in 1932 the Vila family have been grocers and wine merchats supplying many of the downtown restaurants of Barcelona. in 1993 and coinciding with the Renaissance of Catalan wines and cavas the third generation of the family decided to dedicate their efforts to the sale, distribution, export, importation and diffusion of the culture of fine wines and gourmet products.

Take a minute to get familiar with their display of the best Catalan wines and cavas in the wine shop. In the Deli on the next corner, snack on a selection of great Spanish cheese, bread, cured ham and Albariño wine in the Deli. If there is a large group, you can sit in the arched cavern under the shop.

La Vinya del Senor, Pl. Santa Maria, 5. The Lords Vineyard with more than 400 wines
This tiny wine bar has earned respect for the excellent selection of wines by the glass and bottle, original and appealing tapas, well informed service, historic building and superb location opposite the front doors of the Santa Maria del Mar Cathederal.

Have a look at the shelves of over 400 wines from all over Catalunya and Spain. Climb the spiral staircase and find the smallest room with a view of the Cathederal, just for two or maybe one more.
The tasting menu will include a provocative suggestion of wines from form lesser known wine regions and wine makers. As you are in Barcelona and Catalunya you should try any of these regions: Penedès, Priorat, Terra Alta, Montsant, Emporda and Bages. Enjoy a flight of different wines with Sobrasada and honey, oysters and olives, cured Iberian ham...consult the waiters, who besides great service are more than willing to interpret the wines and nibbles.

Santa Maria Cathederal 1329
Built by merchants, sailors and tradesmen. Enter the front door to the left and walk up left aisle and behind altar and Absis to back door which opens onto the Plaza del Born. Enjoy lighting a candle to long lost friends. The lack of ornamentation and simplicity of the structure draw the eye to the windows and ceilings. Without seemingly any butressing on the exterior the ceilings og the aisles and nave join to create one of the highest and widest spaces. You may me moved to feeling spiritual and don't feel surprised, many visitors are so inspired by its beauty that there is a long waiting list to celebrate weddings and baptisms, but watch out, there is an interview to separate the true believers from "Catolicos descafinats!"

Enter the Plaza del Born, views of Barcelona's former central wholesale food market, Born Mercat 1878, now an archeological site. Behind the market again is one of Barcelona's few green areas, the Parc de la Ciutella, ducks, boats, lake, the Catalan Parliment, zoo and gardens.

Turn Right for Placa de les Olles

Cal Pep, Plaça de les Olles, 8
Cal Pep is world famous and very popular for the quality and variety of its kitchen. It is equally famous for not overworking the staff who tend to be numerous and cheerful so be careful not to arrive to early, too late, on Saturday evenings, Sundays or public holidays or exactly at lunch or dinnertime, (places fill up fast and it is hard to unseat the converted. Snack on tapas sitting at the bar and more relaxed dining in the back.

Enjoy pebots de Padron, small mild green peppers sprinkled with sea salt, razors, tuna tartar, chiperons baby squid, cod with spinach and alioli, Catalan "pa amb tomaquet" wash down with white wines from Galicia (Rias Baixes) and D.O. Penedès and cavas

Double back and follow the C/Montcada from the back door of Santa Maria del Mar Cathederal

Euskal Etxea 1979 Basque Bar, Restaurant, Culture Centre, Placeta Montcada, 1
Of all the kitchens of Spain the Basque is probably the most sophisticated. The Basques take their food a bit more seriously. Eat with your eyes from a selection of continuously rotated Pintxo tapas, neat assemblatges of cured, ham, grated egg, sausage, artichokes, cheese, anchovies.. small meals on a slice of bread. Grab a stool and give youself time to choose your Pintxos. Order a glass of young Rioja red, a Tempranillo if ever there was, or a light and slightly effervesent Txacoli white wine, either will blend perfectly with the amazing variety of Pinxos and help you to adjust to the crowd. Survey the whole counter and once you know what you want grab a plate and pickup the ones that entertain the most. Keep the cocktail sticks to calculate the bill when you are finished.

The Euskal Etxea cultural centre, around the corner on Carrer l'Arc de Sant Vicenç 4, promotes a wide range of Basque cultural activities, concerts, theate, lectures, language courses, book presentations, conferences, and is the place to celebrate major Basque festivals, traditions and Premier league football games. Real Societat players are all proud pure-born Basques.

Pintxo: a piece of bread decorated using the entire pallet of Catalan and Basque ingredients, combinations and textures.

and across the street

La Xampaneta, la Montcada 22
Leather drinking pouches hanging from the door, beer, cider, a cheap and cheerful house fizzy wine by the glass or bottle, ceramic tiles, old barrels and fridges, lots of good cavas and wines.

Theres nothing like a bar with old fridge doors calunking and waiters hollering to the kitchen at the back, happy organised caos run with a steady hand. Every neighbourhood had a bodega that served as the central stop for all preferred wines, vermouth, rancid, rioja red, penedes red, white, by the bottle and also stored in overhead barrels and gravity fed to taps behind the counter. It worked for a 100 years and then the European Union health inspectors had a fit, so now everything is bottled and the barrels are decorative.
La Xampaneta is a family run bar with a quality selection of wines and cavas, and an above the average tapa selection, excellent buzz and selection, the house fizz is brilliantly presented but don't over do it, you're mixing as it is! they have very good cava, wines and beers by the glass and bottle. Try seafood and savoury tapas, boquerones and clams, thin sliced cured fuet or langonissa sausage, goat cheese stuffed baby red peppers, small Piquilllo peppers stuffed with creamed cod...and try the red vermouth with ice and a little spritz from a syphon of carbonised water

Follow C/Moncada to C/ Princessa

Pulperia Celta. C/ Princessa 50
In 1970 a couple from Galicia opened their bar. The same year their favourite football team Celta made it into the first division, hence the name. The Galicians are masters of seafood and they run all the best fish restaurants in Barcelona. Enjoy the octopus with paprika, whitebait, Pebrots de Padron (green salted peppers/not hot), croquettes, Empanadillo Gallega (Tunafish pie), and rinse the mouth with a light fresh Vino Verde or Ribero drunk from a ceramic cup. Don't be surprised if there is a little sediment in the bottle of white wine as this is part of the elaboration process, a slight 2nd fermentation in the bottle adds a tingle of freshness and contact with the sediments smooths acidity.

Continue parallel to Via Liatana on C/ Giralt el Pelliser, Santa Caterina Market will be on your left.

Mercat Santa Caterina, 1848
This first covered municipal market in the city and the first to be remodelled for the 21st century. Situated on the site of the Convent of Santa Catherine, the market now wears an extravegant and colourful roof which echoes the waves of the mediterranean and all the colours of fruit and vegetables . The market organises wine tastings of Catalan wine regions every month. The webpage offers online ordering and refrigerated delivery, a food dictionary in 10 languages and recipes for the jaded palate. The atmosphere is relaxed and spacious with large stalls specialist shops (olive oil and wines) and includes a supermarket and several restaurants. Cuinessantacaterina is a large, spacious modern eatery operated by the Tragaluz group, and is gaining a name for service, quality, variety and innovation. You are as likely to see a wok as a carbon grill. Choose to sit at the bar or take a table and enjoy the buzz and the fusion.

Continue on C/ Giralt el Pelliser to C/Sant Pere Més Baix. Turn left and immediately right again after Centre Cultura de Dones Francesca Bonnemaison 1909, (center dedicated to personal and artistic creation and expression for women).

Follow Carrer de Verdaguer, past l'Antic Teatre and Cava i Company, left onto Carrer Sant Pere Més Alt and the corner of el Palau de la Musica.

Palau de la Musica
The mother of all modernist buildings, the pinacle of Catalan Modernist artistic and cultural expression, a building that touches all the senses, home of the Catalan choir. The Palau has a very active and varied program of concerts, changing daily. A perfect place to round off the day of sight seeing and discovering Barcelona.
Enter the front door and go straight between the twin staircases towards the tapa bar, upstairs to the auditorium.
Is there a blank space?, a straight line anywhere? enjoy
If you attend a preformance or a tour your eye will be drawn to the incredible display of ceramics, forged iron, marble and bronze statues, incredible inverted stained glass ceiling and walls. attend a morning preformance for best natural light effects.
The Palau has a beautiful and very respectable tapa bar which leads onto a spacious terrace patio.
Choose tapas by sight and always thrust the Cava, Try a Cavas Nadal. Gramona, Giro Giro, Recaredo, ... the more "nature" the better.

Mc Carthy's bar, Via Laietana, 4
about this stage I start to need a Guinness

Cross Via Liatana to C/ de Montsió

4 Gats, 1897, Carrer de Montsió, 3
bar, lounge and popular dining room with accessible menu and even a dodgy wine. Dripping with the inspiration of archietect Puig i Calafach (also responsible for the Codorniu winery) and all his Art Nouveau buddies, neighbours, and recent arty blow-ins like the student Picasso. There was a very special moment before the world went very dark and it was la belle epoque, electricity, the car, trains, metros, Victoria and the Kaiser, man did they have a good time until that unwound.

I would share any of the following: lobster and mushrooms canneloni (nobody can cook caneloni badly in Catalunya), cured duck salad with foie shavings, toast with bacon and hot brie, or a great Catalan favourite "Rape seaman's style", this is my favourite translation, and not from this restaurant, of (pronounce strong eh on the end, Rape a la Marinera) which means Monkfish, potatoes and clams in a cream garlic sauce. However you may be past ready for something sweet so if you like Creme Brulé you'll be very happy with the "Crema Catalana" and if you like jello, Mel i Mato (fresh cheese, honey and there should be a wallnut there somewhere.
Tarta de Santiago is a moist almond cake that celebrates the city of Saint James in north west Spain, Santiago de Compestela. Dunk gingerly into a glass of Moscatel aged sweet wine and enjoy.

continue along C/Montsó, turn right and left across Porta d'Angel and into C/Santa Anna.
Look out for the flower shop inside a gate, on your right.

Parroqui de Santa Anna, 1141, C/Santa Anna 29
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
Magic Romanesque / Gothic church and beautiful and deserted cloister,
relax and enjoy the peace, your are 100 meters from the busiest junction in Barcelona

At the end of C/Santa Anna, you are on the Ramblas
Turn right for Café Zurich, Plaça Catalunya and all connections

End of Tour

Many thanks for visiting Barcelona and for using this guide.
The great thing about the tapas bars you haven't visited is, you can always return to Barcelona again in the future!

Cheers and all the best,
Paddy Mannion

More places downtown

Points of interest on the Raval (right) side of the Rambles

The first street right off the Rambles is C/Tallers which goes across the Rambles to the old university.
C/Tallers is a shopping street if you are interested in historic or alternative vinyl, musical instruments, skate boards and punk fashion.

Elisabets restaurant. Carrer d' Elisabets, 2-4, Raval
The Menu is an institution which allows the man-in-the-street to enjoy a 3 course meal at reasonable cost. The menu changes daily, with a choice of 5 or more starters and main courses and dessert, with wine and water included for about 12 . 15 euros.
Proximity to a big market is always a big plus and indeed the style of cooking is locally called “de Mercat” or fresh every day.
Elisabet’s is one of those non touristy places. There’s even a snug, which is like a sanctuary within, but you may have to get there early or it will already be occupied by a grateful group of Bohemiens.
Home cooking, generous proportions and nobody has every been asked to hurry-up. You could be here for 30 minutes or 3 hours.

Museum of Modern Art of Barcelona, Plaça dels Àngels, 1, 08001 Barcelona.
For modern art and skating
Magba Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

Bar Kasparov, Pl. Vicenç Martorell,
The Bar Zurich is helpful if you want to see everyone, the Kasparov is when you are a seasoned veteran and want some peace and quiet. Tucked into a corner of the small quiet Placa Martorell, this is a good place to relax after a day walking the city, meet an old friend and catch up, especially parents with younguns. It’s hard to believe one of the busiest streets in the world is 100 meters away.
There is a small park, a fenced off children’s play area, and you can keep you eye on everything from your seat under the cool arches.
There’s a decent bottle of wine or cava. I stick to coffee, Gin Tonics, good tapas and the best avocado and brie sandwich. Not a bad brownie

Old University faculties
Numerous convents and abbeys on this side of the Rambles were converted into schools and the original faculties of Barcelona University, the Royal Academy of Medicine. Today these buildings and their gardens offer sanctuary often missed by the busy tourist and locals alike.

La Paradiso del Indios, Carrer del Carme, 24

Fantastic and fading modernist shop, one of the last of the Indios. In the late 1800s many Noveau Riche returned to Barcelona and established businesses. Articles from South America and the Philipines were very popular.

Biblioteca de Catalunya‬ / Library of Catalunya 1401
The Library of Catalunya is located at the old Hospital de la Santa Creu since 1939. Founded by King Marti, the Hospital is one of the most important Gothic ensembles in Catalonia. Built between the XVth and XVIIth centuries, it was the largest hospital in Catalonia.

Shop Escribà 1906, La Rambla, 83, Pastries and Chocolates and Mural Cakes!

Christopher Columbus monument, at the bottom of the Rambles
This is where the story of modern America begins and sorry the lift may not be working

Barceloneta, the port neighbourhood and beach
cheep watches, CD players, phones, gadgets, bars with three different prices, bazars and tiny shops in stair wells, dodgy characters, sailors, beach people and sunworshippers.

Cal Paixano
Crazy Bodega, the cheapest cava and sandwiches in town and what an atmosphere at anytime of the day. Rule No1, do not drink more than two glasses or the hangover will make you wait a year before you return.

Playa de Barceloneta

Prior to the Olympics in '92 this was the scene of the most abstract experience you have ever seen. A thousand people and more, seat and table in the sand, right up to the waterline, snatches of Spanish guitar playing between the breezes and breaking waves, wafts of frying shrimp and paella, a salad, a bottle of light white wine. I still search for that beach and the best calitat/preu in a town that takes quality and price very seriously.

Poble Sec / Montjuic District, the Jewish mountain
The Gardens of Montjuic a hill on the south side of Barcelona behind the Parallel street and Poble Sec district is a recreation area dedicated to almost every track and field sport. The magnificent instalations of the Catalan Institute of Sport, the Olympic stadium and the Palau de Sant Jordi (big basketball games and bigger concerts) dominate the south facing summit. Closer to Placa Espana, are the Exhibition buildings of the 1929 World Expo. As the main Barcelona exhibition arena has moved to Hospitalet, these are gradually being given over to Cultural uses as theatres, museums, and more sports facilities.
Favourite points of interest are the Miro Foundation, Font del Gat park and restaurant, the Funicular cable car connecting to the Paralell and the cable car connecting to Barceloneta, the Institute of Sport, Mercat de les Flors Theatre and Pavelló Mies Van Der Rohe, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and the bar on the terrace, wow views of the city, Gin & Tonic territory

El Mercat de les Flors, Lleida, 59, Dance and Movement, Institute of Theatre
show up at 8.30, pay about 15 euros and you will be swept away by great professionalism and a theatre with a close and stimulating nature.
I saw the Contempory Dance Company of Cuba here, wow!

Apres theatre.
stroll back down to the Paralell street through the neighbourhood of Poble Sec.

Mies Van Der Rohe Pavillion
Built in 1929 at the same time as the neoclassic buildings nearby. Apart from its aestetics which are cool and modern, it is by far the best place to watch the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, far from the crowd, perfect views, lots of seating, bring a picnic bag with two cava glasses.

Bar Quimet i Quimet, Poeta Cabanyes, 25, Poble Sec
I had the pleasure of being a neighbour back in the early 90s. 15 years later I returned and they remembered and welcomed me like a long lost friend. Family bar with big hearts and an eye on incredible combinations of cheeses and every kind of seafood preserves, but almost always ones you have never tasted before. I can also claim I introduced a Catalan-belgian beer producer to a Belgian Cava producer, touché. Quality always, a seat never, unless you take up residence.

Funicular Train Paralell - Montjuic

Fundació Miró,
Catalan artist supreme. Fresh air, light, colour, views, beautiful spaces, wonderful art

La Font del Gat Restaurant, Monjuic
Miro’s hidden garden and scene of enough naughty goings on between soldiers and young girls to inspire a popular song. There is no signposting which always adds to the discovery, so follow your nose and the greenest path. Once the pavillion of the Tennis Club, it is an oasis to gather thoughts after visiting the wonderful Miro foundation. Enjoy open air lunch midweek for around 15 euros.

Upper Barcelona

La Bodegeta Rambla de Catalunya 100,
Historic interior, bar and fridges, snug atmosphere and smart hip clientele. be careful of the house cava, aggh! choose a good cava or white wine, and they have good Catalan reds too. Do try the Patatas Bravas, Tuna, Croquettes...

Bar Tomas, Sarria, Mayor de Sarriá, 49
Historic Sarria hangout and meeting point, old school service, Barcelona's most famous patatas bravas
...another bar / restaurant that is so old and so popular, they will never need a webpage.

About Barcelona Food and Service

Jamon Bellota:
Bellota describes cured ham from free grazed Spanish black hoofed pigs that have fed on acorns, wild mushrooms and berries. The pigs are weened after 6 weeks and bred in captivity for 6 months. They are then tagged and released into the wild for up to two years. Between December and March the pigs are captured, weighed and inspected to determine quality. The meat is cured with 5 kilos of sea salt per kilo of meat for as many days as there are kilos. The salting and post salting process can take up to 90 days at low temperatures at a humidity of 90 %. In April and May the joints are hung in naturally aired lofts at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. During July and August the temperatures can rise to 35ºC, and this encourages the fat to sweat and blend into the meat. This along with day and night temperature changes allows the development of the joints and of the unique flavours and aromas. In Autumn the legs are stored in cool dry chambers at temperatures of 12ºC from 12 to 30 months to further enhance the texture, aromas and flavours.
Don't be surprised if the best joints reach prices of in excess of 200 euros a kilo, enjoy!

Vichy Catalan
how do the Catalans stay out all night and look fresh in the morning?
Drink a large glass of Vichy Catalan mineral water before you crash and another before you really wake up

As if to coincide with the Modernist movement, at the end of the 1800s the Philoxera plague distroyed the predominately red vines of Penedès. The vineyards were replanted with white varieties for the production of Cava sparkling wine which went on to become the tipple of the beautiful people of Barcelona.
Today about 100 million bottles are consumed in Catalonia alone. Best choice is a Brut Nature Reserva or Gran Reserva. Brut Nature with no sugar added, Brut indicates up to 12 grammesof sugar/litre are added at disgorgement (final corking) to balance acidity. High quality Semi seco with up to 35 grammes/litre is appropriate for sweet desserts.
Bottles will also indicate Cava is young/9 months ageing, Reserva/15 months or Gran Reserva/30 months.

Paddy's Tasting Notes of Catalan wine country

Barcelona Links

Transport information

Barcelona Aerobus

Train Services / Renfe

Local Trains / Cercanies


Thank you for discovering Barcelona with me, and if you want to discover Barcelona's wine country, Penedès, let me know.

Cheers and all the best Paddy

Enjoy Barcelona in Moderation

Copyright of El Moli Tours and Paddy Mannion, Febuary 2013