When someone asks me to meet them on the Ramblas I’m immediately concerned, it’s a bit too hectic for my liking. But my fears were soon allayed as we headed into the foyer of Hotel 1898 – the former headquarters of the General Philippines Tobacco Company.
Originally designed by Catalan architect Josep Oriol Mestres as the private residence of the López y López family, this beautiful, colonial-style building has many original features and the letters FTC (Filipino Tobacco Company) still adorn the entrance-way. A brief walk through the downstairs lounge and we are out on Carrer del Pintor Fortuny, away from the hectic Rambla and our food tour really begins!
I have been invited on the Savor Spain food tour by marvellous Marwa, owner of Wanderbeak Tours, a company just beginning to make their mark on Barcelona and definitely one to watch out for.
Wanderbeak Barcelona Food Tour
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I must say I don’t get over to Poblennou that much. But when I do it’s usually because I visit one of the beaches that separate this up and coming barrio from the sea. And tucked just behind Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella is the recently opened Picnic Deli.
Picnic Deli, Passeig del Taulat, 138
Picnic Deli makes deli-style baguettes, salads, pastas and other meals daily in their on-site kitchen that you can eat in or take away. They also deliver to a select few local businesses.
Owners Brett and Natasha pride themselves on using fresh local ingredients to produce their ever-changing menu. They use organic produce whenever possible and offer an array of dishes suitable for vegan, vegetarian and coeliac diets. But don’t worry, meat is on the menu too! Read the rest of this article…
If you’re looking for somewhere a little special to eat this summer then you could do a lot worse than El Principal del Eixample. In particular their beautiful interior courtyard.
El Principal del Eixample interior courtyard
This stunning location in Eixample is run by former Grupo Tragaluz stalwart Joan Ferré who after 25 years with the company finally had the opportunity to run his own restaurant. Read the rest of this article…
I’m always up for getting out and about in Barcelona. And when it involves good food and wine I’m all the happier. Free food and wine and you just have to say the word.
So I was over the moon when Nuria and Margherita from Food Lovers Company got in touch to invite me on their Barcelona Tapas Tour.
But let’s be professional here. Free food and wine does not make me lose all morality, at least not in the beginning. You deserve an informative, subjective yet impartial review and that is what you will get. Read the rest of this article…
UPDATE: Matís Bar is sadly no longer open.
Bombón de queso y tomate – The art of sphericalisation
As I’ve said before, I’m not normally invited to restaurants, Suzy and Steve are the English-language foodie experts in Barcelona so I leave it to them. But I’m not one to turn down a restaurant invite when it happens. So that’s how I found myself at Matís Bar. A restaurant in the basement of the Architects College in the cathedral square.
The Collegi D’Arquitects de Barcelona is the building in one corner of the square that has friezes on the exterior walls based on drawings by Picasso. It’s not a place where you’d expect to find a restaurant of any note. Even walking past you have to look for the sign directing you to the restaurant downstairs. Read the rest of this article…
UPDATE: Unfortunately the excellent Manolete is no more. It is now the Aperol Spritz Bar. A nice bar, with a covered terrace, in a good location, that thankfully serves more than Aperol.
Manolete, Passeig d’Isabel II, Barcelona
Located slap-bang next to Port Vell underneath the beautiful arches that line parts of Passeig d’Isabel II, Manolete is a charming little restaurant serving some equally charming tapas.
Now I want to be up front here. I don’t normally do restaurant posts. I’m not normally invited to restaurants. To review them I mean – I have friends. But Manolete kindly invited me and for once with these sort of things they were kind enough to invite my wife too. So it was brownie points all round.
We arrived on a warm August evening. You can see Manolete from across the street thanks to the string of bright bulbs out front that remind me of a stage actresses dressing room mirror. They have a small terrace outside with cute red and white polka-dot tablecloths. Inside is similarly charming. It has some nice touches. Distressed-look cupboards filled with glasses and wine, modern black and white photography perched on a shelf half way up the back wall, and pretty embroidered cushions along the wooden but perfectly comfortable benches. Even as I write this it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does. The lighting was just right too. And the music playing in the background was loud enough to notice but quiet enough not to be intrusive. I have to admit, I sat down, arranged my cushions behind me, looked around, listened, and then smiled. Even though the restaurant was pretty empty at this point it was an extremely pleasant atmosphere. Read the rest of this article…
A vineyard in the Baix Penedès wine region
Type ‘catalunya wine’ into Google and the chances are that after the obligatory Wikipedia entry (which is certainly a decent primer) you will find CatalunyaWine.com.
If you want to discover the wonders of the Catalan wine region that the rest of the world is even now only just discovering then this is the place to begin your journey.
Catalunya Wine exists to promote Catalan wines to the English-speaking world. Run by Canadian expat Tim Brown and aided by his Cuban-born (but with Catalan roots) wife Lis, the website chronicles Tim’s journey through this unique wine region as he exposes the great wines of Catalunya to promote them to hotels and restaurants both here and abroad. Read the rest of this article…