I’m so happy that you guys have been responding to my posts and enjoying the pictures! A lot of you have been asking about the food here, so I’m going to walk you through some of my favorites so far.
First off, we’ll start with tapas.
Tapas are small plates of food that are generally meant to be shared. They’re kind of like appetizers in size, but here in Barcelona it’s popular to order a bunch of tapas as a meal rather than one big main dish. This is partially because mealtime here is more of a social event than in the United States. People often sit at big, long tables with strangers, so it’s fun to meet people over a family style dinner. It’s somewhat of a ritual for locals, and they even have a verb for it, tapear! Have you guys heard that word before?
Some of the most common ones I’ve seen here are shrimp, olives, mozzarella or goat cheese, fried calamari, the classic Spanish jamón Serrano, corn and avocado salads, skewers, and patatas bravas. So far my favorite is the cheese and olive combo, what do you think yours would be?
Next, you can’t visit Spain without trying paella.
Paella is a Spanish dish of rice and saffron with some kind of meat. It’s cooked in a large skillet like this one, served with a huge spoon to share. Our waiter said they even have a rule you have to order for at least two people; see what I mean about the social dinners?
The dish comes from Valencia, which is the province right next to Catalonia where Barcelona is. I was lucky enough to get to try the real deal on my trip to Valencia this weekend at a restaurant that’s been around since 1957. The traditional paella Valenciana consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck, snails), beans and seasoning. As you can see, this one was a little adventurous with the full shrimps, baby lobsters, clams, and squid, but I personally really liked it.
For those of you that like to try new things, check out this classic one with rabbit and snails! The snails were definitely something a little different for me, but I’m glad I tried it for sure.
If that’s not your thing and you’re looking for something a little more like what you’d have at home, don’t worry Barcelona has you covered.
We went to a little pizza shop called La Finestra, where they only make one size of pizzas a little bigger than your hand. Instead of picking exactly what you wanted on top, you tell the chef if you want meat or not and he surprises you! Again, perfect sharing some slices of mini two-bite-sized pieces and trying them all. That front one had potatoes, rosemary, mozzarella, and goat cheese. Hands down my favorite, plus each one was only 1.8 euros! A big score.
As you can see, there’s quite a few options here. My roommate and I have have really been loving the tapas bars, and it’s a fun way to meet people as a foreigner. Going out to eat is basically just a hang out for people, and it’s not uncommon for them to spend two or three hours at a restaurant at a time! One of the big things I’ve had to get used to here is waiting to eat dinner until 10 or 11 pm. The main take away is that Barcelona is all about the social aspect of dining.
Let me know which of these sounds the best to you, or if you’ve tried any of them yourselves!