Around the World in One Barcelona

I am on a train. Two suitcases, three backpacks and a ukulele, and I’m out of Barcelona for good. My journey has started. My lifelong dream of being a full-time traveler has finally started. But, boy, wouldn’t I be lying if I didn’t say it is with a pinch of nostalgia that I’ve left this magical town.

Iris is sitting on a stone lookout, overlooking the Montjuic Communications Tower, a tall white and pointy structure.

The first time I visited Barcelona, I didn’t like it at all. I had just gone ashore from a trip to Majorca, and I was so seasick I hadn’t slept a wink. We walked up the Ramblas at 6 in the morning and I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. We only had the time to reach Plaça Catalunya and it seemed just a huge commercial square without a soul or personality. Then we went underground and right to the train station back to the south.

A couple of years later, though, my then boyfriend moved there to pursue his master’s degree, so I began to visit more often and fell head over heels for the modernist architecture, the swing gatherings in little squares, the quaint restaurants and hipster cafes, the numerous art galleries, theaters and concert halls, the live music at bars, the hundreds of old bookstores, the labyrinthine medieval quartiers, the farmer and antiques markets, the musicians at parks and subways and streets, the fact that nobody even noticed when I dyed my hair pink and purple and blue, and please stop me now because I could go on and on and on for ages.

Wait, no, don’t stop me quite yet. I was just about to get to the very reason for this post: Barcelona’s multiculturality. I fell in love with the city also thanks to the fact that I could taste almost any country within a 30-minute subway ride radius. So much, I moved there, where I lived and thrived for over four years. And today I want to share with you my best-liked, in case you ever find yourself hungry in the only city in the world where I have ever thought I could settle down.

Please understand that I am in no way sponsored by any of the restaurants I am including in this list; I am just giving away this information out of the pure kindness of my heart (and in the hopes they stumble upon this post somehow and offer me a free meal or something, ahem!). You can find the link to the restaurants in their names.


Italy

La Biga, Clot. My latest discovery! Excellent and pretty authentic Italian pizza. My heartfelt recommendation, the Stracciatela: their homemade natural tomato sauce, fresh basil and burrata. Simple, yet superb.

  • Pros: inexpensive pizzas, super-friendly staff.
  • Cons: the place is very small, although they have a nice terrace.
  • To do nearby: Sagrada Familia and Sant Pau Recinte Modernista are a 20-minute walk away, so that you don’t feel guilty about all that delicious cheese!
france

Mic Sopars, Gràcia. We were two, asked for the meat fondue and the cheese fondue to share. It was way too much food, but totally worth the extra gym session the next week.

  • Pros: they are not shy with the ingredients.
  • Cons: the decor and music could use some help. Also, it is the less affordable place listed here.
  • To do nearby: Gràcia is a vibrant area, just enjoy the ambiance of its little squares, or maybe visit Gaudí’s house Casa Vicens.

Views from Parc Güell. Houses with towers surrounded by palm and other trees

morocco

Marrakech, Sants. My favorite Moroccan dish is lamb with plums, and theirs (see the picture) is magnificent. However, when I tried the vegetable cous-cous I just cried happy tears.

  • Pros: daily menu, very affordable.
  • Cons: the only thing I can think of is that the tables were kind of small and the glasses could use some updating, but I don’t really care for that sort of stuff.
  • To do nearby: Sants is a very familiar borough sprinkled with plazas. You can go to the Espanya Industrial park or to the Sants market in the morning, and you’ll get an unexpected small town feeling.

Lamb with plums and boiled eggs

india

Moti Mahal, El Raval. Well, if it’s good enough for Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart it sure is good enough for me! Its walls are decorated with all the celebrities that have eaten there, and there are quite a few. But, what’s more important: they have a lamb with mango sauce to die for.

  • Pros: huge place, great for big parties.
  • Cons: at first sight, you probably wouldn’t choose this restaurant. From the outside, it looks like a garage, but then it has a huge underground dining area.
  • To do nearby: just wander the little streets, do some people watching, maybe have a stroll in the Boqueria market, the Güell Palace or the Liceu Opera House. But please, please, please, whatever you do, don’t miss El Jardí, the old Santa Creu Hospital. It’s a charming oasis of quiet and culture.

Palm trees iluminated at night in the Rambla del Raval

VIETNAM / TAIWAN

Bao Bao, Sants. My favorite baos here are the Confucius and the Ho Chi Minh, but they sure have a great selection to choose from. I have tried many, many baos in the city, absolutely none to my satisfaction except for Bao Bao’s.

  • Pros: great vibe, nice decor, young feeling. Street food without the downsides of eating on the streets.
  • Cons: it’s kind of in right now, so it’s usually crowded.
  • To do nearby: come on, we’ve already been here! Okay, Sants is also a short walk away from the mall Arenas, which has amazing views of Plaça Espanya, Montjuïc and the Joan Miró Park.

Plaça de Espanya and Monjuïc view from las Arenas at sunset

chinA

Chen Ji, Sant Pere. The main clientele of this place is actually Chinese, that must account for something, right? Very affordable and generous dishes. I guess that’s why they spare the website but, believe me, it is a nice experience.

  • Pros: a taste of authenticity, hectic and real.
  • Cons: just that. Don’t expect anything fancy, and it’s usually crowded and very hot in the summer.
  • To do nearby: have a nice walk along the Ciutadella Park and go up to Arc de Triomph. Live music and other artistic forms are always in place, it is a cheerful and bohemian area.

View of one of the fountains and the gazibo in the Ciutadella Park

japan

Ramen Dining Yu, Eixample Dreta. Believe me, Japan is a very special place for me, so I can get insufferably picky when it comes to my ramen and sushi; but their soy ramen and halibut aburi nigiri definitely are what I will have for my last meal.

  • Pros: everything.
  • Con: none. Sorry, not very objective here.
  • To do nearby: the Universitat de Barcelona is a beautiful building and its cloisters and gardens are for everyone to see. One of my favorite streets is close-by to: Enric Granados. Also, you can go the other direction and visit Gaudí’s houses Casa Milá and Casa Batlló.

A big bowl of ramen

UNITED STATES

Sil´s Cakes American Pastry, Gràcia. This is a take-away place, but I would be happy eating those decadent cakes sitting on the sidewalk if needed. Brace yourself for a sugar rush!

  • Pros: huge assortment of cakes and cookies, some of them classic, many very original.
  • Cons: calories, calories everywhere.
  • To do nearby: when you’re done with Gaudí and the little squares, go to carrer de Asturies and Carrer Gran de Gràcia for amazing little boutiques and beautiful architecture. Or, if you feel like burning away all those carbs, Parc Güell can be considered to be at walking distance.

Iris in front of a grafitti that reads "attitude"


Sorry about the lack of pictures of most of the places, so I put picture of beautiful places nearby instead. In my defence, this can only be a sign of how busy I was enjoying my meals instead of capturing them. Also, I’ve noticed how Latin America and Oceania are missing, and Africa is highly underrepresented. Anyhow, as my mom says: «It is good to always have a reason to come back.»

I hope this tour around the world without leaving Barcelona proves to be useful for you some day. Now, it is my turn to leave Barcelona and go around the world, for good. Stay hungry!

Pin for a gastronomic tour of Barcelona.

35 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. Sandra dice:

    Love this! I need to come back too! Why don’t we discover some Latin American spot together? 🙂 Congrats girl!

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Yes! That’s an awesome idea. Let’s do it! Pretty please!

      I’ve eaten in a couple of Mexican restaurants but didn’t like them very much. I have been told about this Peruvian place and… a couple of Cubans 😉

      1. Sandra Gomez dice:

        BCN Latin American food tour power by Iris and Sandra. Oye, que como nos pongamos descubrimos lugares buenos ehhhh, incluso en la distancia 🙂

  2. Divya dice:

    Damn… I need to come back for this! Every single place looks yummilicious 😀 Thanks for sharing, saved for my next trip 🙂
    – Divya
    https://thesavingsaddict.com

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Let me know when you go, I have tons of advice to give for people who have already been in Barcelona 🙂

  3. Good luck on your journey! It can be scary, but you’ll never regret it!

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Thank you very much! One month and a half in, and loving every second if it. I hope to catch a breath to update this site soon!

  4. Erin dice:

    Great post!

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Thanks!

  5. We had good and bad food experiences in Barcelona. We found a lovely little taco shop by the arc that was really good. We then made the big mistake to eat at the buffet by La Sagrada and all got food poisoning!

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      I usually avoid buffets unless I know them very well. A good Japanese buffet in Barcelona is in Gràcia: Totoro. It is tiny and they prepare all you can eat on the spot, so food is not waiting for you indefinitely. As a rule of thumb, I try to go a little out of the tourist attractions’ way because food tends to be better and cheaper!

  6. Lesley dice:

    Reading your post made me hungry! It’s great to know that Barcelona has great international cuisine as well as Spanish food. Can’t wait to visit!

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      I’m glad it did, hehe. It does have great food and so many options to choose from. It’s really an incredible city! I am preparing a post on Spanish and Catalan restaurants as well, stay tuned 🙂

  7. Gary Handke dice:

    Congrats Iris,
    What a stunning post – filled with fun, food and even some fantasy – it’s sensational!

    Totally love it – but must say my bias does lean a little to the home-made pizza and cheese in the small towns of Italy.

    Keep up the amazing work!

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Thank you, Gary! I am really glad you liked it. Of course there is nothing like eating the local food in the actual place, but when you can’t, it’s amazing to have choices like these. Very soon I will be posting another itinerary of Barcelona, this time with Spanish and Catalan food, so local 🙂

  8. Jen dice:

    I really enjoyed reading this. You’re so well travelled. I’ve been to France, Spain, USA and Italy but none of the other countries you mention which are actually the ones I most want to visit! The food in all the countries I visited was excellent. I love this post. There’s nothing better than travelling and experiencing new cuisine in local eateries.

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Thank you! I’m really glad you enjoyed it 🙂 And I hope you get to travel (and eat!) there as soon as possible.

  9. Undercover Travel Agent dice:

    What a comprehensive article. Each could be its own article.

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Maybe 🙂 But I wanted to give potential visitors a view of what can be done and eaten in Barcelona in a glimpse. Perhaps too ambitious, Barcelona’s sightseeing and gastronomic offer is so extensive!

  10. JK dice:

    Wow! These food tour is awesome and can’t believe that I can find all of these in Barcelona. Imagine that? Great job.

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Thank you! I’m really glad you liked it 🙂

  11. We haven’t really put our finger on exactly why we think of Barcelona as one of the truly global cities, but you know what? This is a big part of it! So much food from so many places. Plus their own cuisine! Yes, we can imagine it was hard to say goodbye. But just imagine how tasty saying Hello Again will be! 🙂

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      You are absolutely right!
      And soon I will share their own cuisine as well, that deserves a long individual post 🙂

  12. Nicole dice:

    What a great article! This is such a fun way to try different foods in a Country. Who knew you could find all of that in Barcelona? The pictures are fantastic and have made me hungry looking at all of that delicious food.

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      I am so glad you liked it, Nicole! And yes, Barcelona has so much to offer that in over four years living there I couldn’t even explore every neighborhood, let alone every restaurant!

  13. Karen dice:

    I love how you covered so many different types of food- sounds like Barcelona is a taste adventure!

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      It was easy, because Barcelona really is a taste adventure! You can find whatever you like in here. The only hard part was picking just a few of them 🙂

  14. Sarah dice:

    Love trying out different cuisines and how convenient to find them all in one city. Used to live in Portugal and there’s only so much Portuguese food I can eat. Haven’t been to Barcelona in years, must be time to return I think 🙂

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Barcelona is always a great idea, for food and otherwise. I love Portuguese food, though! Just today I made Porco à Alentejana 😀 But I understand, sometimes we need variety!

  15. Jennifer dice:

    I’ve never been to Barcelona but this food list is definitely making me want to go! It sounds exciting 🙂

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      Hello, Jennifer! I wholeheartedly suggest you to go, it’s an amazing city with awesome food options 🙂

  16. Veronica dice:

    I love this! Every time we travel my kids get tired of eating local cuisine for every meal. It’s great to hear they have food from all over the world.

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      They say variety is the spice of life!
      However, there is such a vast selection in Spanish food I find it hard to believe anyone could ever get tired of it, even kids, hehe. But that’s just me, in love with my local cuisine. Stay tuned because soon I will be posting about this as well 🙂

  17. Kata dice:

    I have already been to Barcelona several times but I did not pay enough attention to the variety of available cuisines and tastes. I will try to include it to my next visit for sure!

    1. irispermuyaforkontheroad dice:

      I am so glad to have shown you another face of beautiful Barcelona! If you do try some of these restaurants, let me know how you like them 🙂

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