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Juicy olives, garlic shrimp hot off the grill, a tasty piece of manchego cheese… these are just some of the classic dishes in the famous Spanish tapas tradition. Connoisseurs can take a tapeo in Barcelona, an evening tour past various excellent tapas bars. The best places are the old, dark bars where smoked hams hang from the ceiling.
At around 21:00, the tapas bars in Barcelona start to fill up with locals who come to meet neighbours, family and friends. Time is not of the essence here, and it’s a great feeling to experience that in reality. With a glass of white wine in hand, choose your tapas selection – from simple dishes to miniature works of art on a plate. Try some patatas bravas, bread with allioli, or spicy meat balls. Too difficult to choose? Ask the waiters or bartenders for the best and freshest dishes on the menu.
Wine bottles from around the world adorn the interior of Quimet i Quimet from floor to ceiling. This bodega is extremely popular for its montaditos, small bread rolls with delicious fillings. There are some great combinations available, such as salmon with truffle honey, and tuna with caviar and balsamic vinegar. You can also order a plato combinado: a plate of food composed by the lady or gent behind the bar. The dishes are best enjoyed with a cold Belgian (!) beer from the tap.
Quimet i Quimet, Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona
A circus director wearing a top hat welcomes you to this organised chaos of theatre and gastronomy. A visit to Tickets restaurant is a unique experience. The tapas are prepared by legendary top chefs Ferran and Albert Adrià for a very reasonable price. The brothers, who used to run the top restaurant ElBulli, lift Spanish cuisine to a whole new level. The masters in molecular cuisine serve their guests exploding olives, mini-airbags of manchego cheese and liquid ravioli. Make sure you book a table well in advance.
Tickets, Avinguda Paral•lel 164, 08015 Barcelona
Those not in the know could easily pass by Casa Jacinta without noticing. This tapas bar is devoid of all pretensions, but the cooking is exceptional. Roberto from the La Rioja region and his wife Ynes from Peru treat their guests to surprising flavours. A proud ambassador for his province, Roberto only serves the very best rioja wines. Try and find a spot on the terrace to enjoy dishes such as aubergine mousse sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Casa Jacinta, Carrer de Tamarit 154, 08015 Barcelona