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Barcelona Tapas Recommendations


Reigate Red
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I am aware that this area of the forum attracts well travelled epicures so........

We will be staying overnight in Barcelona (near Barcelona Sants station) before moving on to the Pyrenees and was wondering if anyone has any  recommendations for good tapas bars. I'm hopeless at deciding on a location and we would no doubt spend ages wandering around looking at many and failing to make a decision!

Whilst I'm here I suppose I could also throw into the mix that we are ending up with a few days in Toulouse where I believe the food is good.

Thanks for any comments/suggestions.

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10 minutes ago, Reigate Red said:

I am aware that this area of the forum attracts well travelled epicures so........

We will be staying overnight in Barcelona (near Barcelona Sants station) before moving on to the Pyrenees and was wondering if anyone has any  recommendations for good tapas bars. I'm hopeless at deciding on a location and we would no doubt spend ages wandering around looking at many and failing to make a decision!

Whilst I'm here I suppose I could also throw into the mix that we are ending up with a few days in Toulouse where I believe the food is good.

Thanks for any comments/suggestions.

Been awhile, but about halfway down Rambla there’s a huge indoor market.  From memory there’s some decent local stuff to be found. 

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4 minutes ago, Barrs Court Red said:

Been awhile, but about halfway down Rambla there’s a huge indoor market.  From memory there’s some decent local stuff to be found. 

You're right. Last time we were there about 10 years ago we had some lovely fresh whitebait in there. 

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32 minutes ago, Barrs Court Red said:

Been awhile, but about halfway down Rambla there’s a huge indoor market.  From memory there’s some decent local stuff to be found. 

 

We ate in the middle of that market (La Boqueria) in the amusingly named El Quim. 

Fantastic paella and great Spanish wine selection. 

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I have eaten some very nice meals in Barcelona, but I have no idea where.

I do second the positive comments about La Boqueria, though.

We never actually sat down for a 'proper' meal there, but snacked there on several occasions - very nice and reasonably priced.

I can also confirm that the food is good in Toulouse, but more so in the winter months with their stews, casseroles and numerous duck dishes.

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Just now, PHILINFRANCE said:

I have eaten some very nice meals in Barcelona, but I have no idea where.

I do second the positive comments about La Boqueria, though.

We never actually sat down for a 'proper' meal there, but snacked there on several occasions - very nice and reasonably priced.

I can also confirm that the food is good in Toulouse, but more so in the winter months with their stews, casseroles and numerous duck dishes.

Surely Merquez(spl?) sausages this time of year in Toulouse? Or the Toulouse sausage itself, which is incredibly hard to buy in the UK now

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1 minute ago, Barrs Court Red said:

Surely Merquez(spl?) sausages this time of year in Toulouse? Or the Toulouse sausage itself, which is incredibly hard to buy in the UK now

Merguez sausages are actually Maghrebian (North African) and far too spicy for me in hot weather, which Toulouse will be enjoying at this time of the year.

Toulouse sausages are certainly nice, especially on a barbecue, but duck is my go to meal when I go to Toulouse, or, in Winter, a Cassoulet de Toulouse or de Castelnaudry; made with white beans, goose or duck thighs, pork belly, lamb and Toulouse sausages - absolutely delicious, but far too heavy for summer.

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When I was last there, a few months before Covid struck, I was taken aback at just how awful the Ramblas has become, a spot for tourists and dodgy locals only. If that’s your thing then fine but I found it had really gone downhill since my previous visit. Having said that as others have mentioned, the market is still impressive.

we absolutely loved the eastern side of the Gothic quarter, full of authentic tapas bars, lovely locals and pretty little streets. A tube ride from Sants though.

I lived near Toulouse for 11 years, a lovely city I still visit regularly. A very big city though and like all restaurants they chop and change so quickly it would be wrong to recommend one as it could easily have changed. 
There are always nice ones in the back roads between the 3 squares of Place Wilson, Place St George and the huge Place du Capitole. We used to have a favourite, amusingly for us English called Le Coq Hardi, but a quick Google search tells me it’s recently closed. But there are many around there selling all types of French food.

As PhilinFrance says, the Cassoulet is pushed quite a lot but is far from a summer dish and when not done well, which is quite often, can be a huge disappointment. If you’re self catering the brilliant marché Victor Hugo is worth a visit with one or two stalls doing unbelievably good Toulouse sausage, another product that is often done badly. Remember, since Brexit you won’t be able to take any food like cheese or sausage home.

Toulouse is set in a basin on the Garonne river and can get stupidly hot and you’ve no sea breeze. You can use the brilliant local transport, either trams or metro to get to the edge of the city and take a walk along the canal du Midi. It used to be a nice shady walk but most of the Plane trees had to be cut down in recent years because of disease. Still nice to get out of the city when it’s hot.

Enjoy

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13 hours ago, PHILINFRANCE said:

Toulouse sausages are certainly nice, especially on a barbecue, but duck is my go to meal when I go to Toulouse, or, in Winter, a Cassoulet de Toulouse or de Castelnaudry; made with white beans, goose or duck thighs, pork belly, lamb and Toulouse sausages - absolutely delicious, but far too heavy for summer.

Had my first duck confit in Sarlat many years ago and was an immediate convert to it. Like cassoulet but sometimes feel it's the French equivalent of a full English to my arteries!

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2 hours ago, ralphindevon said:

Remember, since Brexit you won’t be able to take any food like cheese or sausage home.

I didn't realise that - I knew we could not take such things into the EU but thought we were more relaxed about it the other way around. Useful to know - but it means no wild boar saucisson  will be making it's way back then :disapointed2se:

Hold the press!! - A little research suggests my wild boar sausage wish may be still on: 

Bringing food products into the UK (rctcbc.gov.uk)

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9 minutes ago, Reigate Red said:

I didn't realise that - I knew we could not take such things into the EU but thought we were more relaxed about it the other way around. Useful to know - but it means no wild boar saucisson  will be making it's way back then :disapointed2se:

Ooh you’ve got me remembering an occasion when I lived there.

I gave the local hunter’s permission to go on land owned by clients of mine, they lived in England and weren’t there as it was winter. The local hunt is usually made up of local businesses men, police, the mayor and for obvious reasons the local butcher.

When I was at the house a week later one of the hunters came over explaining they had killed the sanglier they were after and presented me with an array of cuts of meat, pâté and sausages. 

Delicious and as always goes superbly with wine made from the grapes where the beast lived.  Sadly now banned from taking back home, even if vacuum packed, though you can still take the wine home. 

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I was there recently.

altho la ramblas is a shocking tourist trap in general, la bouqueria market as others have mentioned is ace 

whether you actually sit down and get a stool at one of the many eateries , or whether you just graze your way round like a fat king you can def do a lot worse than nip in there 

you could do a lot worse than lose a few hours in there in fact 

also worth noting at the very foot of la ramblas they seemed to have installed some kind of semi-permanent looking food festival with loads of stalls and a couple of bars supporting.

I don’t know for sure if it is there permanently , but the build looked too good to just have been their for a couple of weeks or similar. Looked like they had some pretty good stuff there with each stand manned by different chefs / food providers linked to some quite posh restaurants etc 

one place that everyone bangs on about  down toward the harbour is …

 

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d940427-Reviews-Can_Paixano_La_Xampanyeria-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

they do cava and pork and cheesy nibbles I believe . I have tried to get in three visits and failed each time. Own fault tho really, first they were closed for a long fam holiday , second time there was a Que and I didn’t fancy it, Third time it was a Monday and I hadn’t realised they are always closed Monday . Doh! If you get in let me know ha

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10 hours ago, Reigate Red said:

Had my first duck confit in Sarlat many years ago and was an immediate convert to it. Like cassoulet but sometimes feel it's the French equivalent of a full English to my arteries!

This made me smile.

If you ate confit de canard in Sarlat, the chances are it was served with 'pommes de terre salardaises', a wonderful dish of sautéed potatoes.

Here is an English version of the recipe, although it is frequently prepared with far more duck fat!

https://thegoodlifefrance.com/sarlat-potatoes-pommes-de-terres-sarladaises/

I am not sure, but I suspect a proper Cassoulet de Toulouse or Castelnaudry is less harmful for your arteries.

Edited by PHILINFRANCE
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11 hours ago, PHILINFRANCE said:

This made me smile.

If you ate confit de canard in Sarlat, the chances are it was served with 'pommes de terre salardaises', a wonderful dish of sautéed potatoes.

Here is an English version of the recipe, although it is frequently prepared with far more duck fat!

https://thegoodlifefrance.com/sarlat-potatoes-pommes-de-terres-sarladaises/

I am not sure, but I suspect a proper Cassoulet de Toulouse or Castelnaudry is less harmful for your arteries.

Have they ever fully explained the ' French Paradox'...where they have one of the lowest rates of heart disease, especially in the South West...yet they consume a massive amount saturated fat, especially duck fat. 

Some theory that legumes (beans) and a high consumption of red wine helped.

My theory is they eat natural food, rather than processed.

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53 minutes ago, spudski said:

Have they ever fully explained the ' French Paradox'...where they have one of the lowest rates of heart disease, especially in the South West...yet they consume a massive amount saturated fat, especially duck fat. 

Some theory that legumes (beans) and a high consumption of red wine helped.

My theory is they eat natural food, rather than processed.

Probably a mixture of a lot of things but your last sentence certainly rings true.

By and large the French don’t snack between meals, they don’t binge drink as much as we do and as you say they eat more fresh food.

But things are changing and there are French that do the opposite of what I’ve said and it’s such a huge country that each region is very different. I noticed a difference from when I first moved there in 2003 to now. I can remember when the first KFC’s arrived and everyone was cursing them, now they’re full.

I can remember a McDonalds opening in Sete, a Mediterranean port, there had been much opposition, why would you need one when there’s so much lovely local food available? The day it finally opened the locals went with a few trailers of rotting fish guts and tipped them by the front door. A few weeks later it was as busy as any McDo’s

It used to shock me returning to England and seeing how many overweight people there were but I guess eventually it’ll be the norm there, Hope I’m wrong. 

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7 minutes ago, ralphindevon said:

Probably a mixture of a lot of things but your last sentence certainly rings true.

By and large the French don’t snack between meals, they don’t binge drink as much as we do and as you say they eat more fresh food.

But things are changing and there are French that do the opposite of what I’ve said and it’s such a huge country that each region is very different. I noticed a difference from when I first moved there in 2003 to now. I can remember when the first KFC’s arrived and everyone was cursing them, now they’re full.

I can remember a McDonalds opening in Sete, a Mediterranean port, there had been much opposition, why would you need one when there’s so much lovely local food available? The day it finally opened the locals went with a few trailers of rotting fish guts and tipped them by the front door. A few weeks later it was as busy as any McDo’s

It used to shock me returning to England and seeing how many overweight people there were but I guess eventually it’ll be the norm there, Hope I’m wrong. 

Yes I agree...I've also noticed the rise in popularity of fast food outlets in France and Italy.... countries that have always passionately fought for regional and natural food.

And yes...obesity in this country is far worse than many other countries. It's so noticeable.

I do giggle...as I write this...there is a cooking show on in the background. We have so many being shown...on how to cook great healthy natural food.

Yet most will be watched on a sofa, whilst devouring snacks, fast food or highly processed food. Nuts when you think about it.

As for French alcohol consumption...I looked...

Does France have a lot of alcoholics?
 
It shows that 23 per cent of French adults consume dangerous levels of alcohol, while an additional 7 per cent are alcohol-dependent – in other words, alcoholics. Thus, a staggering 30 per cent of the adult population have an alcohol problem.5 Aug 2021
I guess they may not have much heart deasease but have other health problems brought on by high alcohol consumption and the same with cigarettes.

 

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Yes your points about alcohol don’t surprise me, there did seem to be a good few alcoholics and I don’t know how to even phrase it but those that weren’t rarely if ever drank too much.

Most of my neighbours and friends here in England drink noticeably more than our friends and neighbours in France, none of the above mentioned would be marked down as alcoholics but they all like to drink alcohol. I’m not sure there’s even a statistic for it.

When French friends would visit England with us and we had a night out in a town or city, that’s all they would talk about to friends when they got back to France. The amount of drunk people on the streets, especially the amount of women.

The French definitely win the smoking race, I’d say about 75% of people we knew in France smoked, here I doubt if it’s 15% nowadays. 

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1 hour ago, spudski said:

They consume a massive amount saturated fat, especially duck fat. 

My theory is they eat natural food, rather than processed.

Anybody who has visited France, especially rural areas, will know that we are blessed with a large number of fresh food markets, especially fruit and vegetables.

I live in a small town a few kilometres west of Paris, and my twice weekly market has eight (8!) fruit and vegetable stalls, a few cheese stalls and various fresh meat and fish stalls, and there are always queues at each stall. I also have three , high quality butchers within a two minute walk, together with a wet fishmonger.

The produce is cheaper than the nearby supermarkets, and certainly of a far higher quality, so why would I contemplate buying ready made meals or ordering a takeaway, when I can buy fresh food and prepare a meal myself? 

29 minutes ago, ralphindevon said:

By and large the French don’t snack between meals, they don’t binge drink as much as we do and as you say they eat more fresh food.

But things are changing and there are French that do the opposite of what I’ve said and it’s such a huge country that each region is very different. I noticed a difference from when I first moved there in 2003 to now. I can remember when the first KFC’s arrived and everyone was cursing them, now they’re full.

I can remember a McDonalds opening in Sete, a Mediterranean port, there had been much opposition, why would you need one when there’s so much lovely local food available? The day it finally opened the locals went with a few trailers of rotting fish guts and tipped them by the front door. A few weeks later it was as busy as any McDo’s

If you were to walk down the Champs-Élysées, not my favourite French street, you would be amazed and disgusted by the number of fast food 'restaurants' and the large queues outside - mainly tourists looking for a reasonably priced meal as opposed to the horrendous fare served in the tourist trap restaurants, but quand même.

9 minutes ago, spudski said:

Yes I agree...I've also noticed the rise in popularity of fast food outlets in France and Italy.... countries that have always passionately fought for regional and natural food.

Does France have a lot of alcoholics?

It shows that 23 per cent of French adults consume dangerous levels of alcohol, while an additional 7 per cent are alcohol-dependent – in other words, alcoholics. Thus, a staggering 30 per cent of the adult population have an alcohol problem.5 Aug 2021
I guess they may not have much heart deasease but have other health problems brought on by high alcohol consumption and the same with cigarettes.

 

Unfortunately, most city centres and railway stations have a large number of SDFs (people with no fixed abode), who gather there and drink their cheap bottles of rosé and cans of high alcohol beer, but town centres in the evening are not as full of alcohol filled drunk and violent young men and women - certainly not women.

When the local media show pictures of hopelessly drunk young women in UK town centres at Christmas time and New Years Eve, they invite responses of mirth, ridicule and scorn.

I can honestly say that I have never seen a woman hopelessly drunk on a French street.   

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12 minutes ago, PHILINFRANCE said:

Anybody who has visited France, especially rural areas, will know that we are blessed with a large number of fresh food markets, especially fruit and vegetables.

I live in a small town a few kilometres west of Paris, and my twice weekly market has eight (8!) fruit and vegetable stalls, a few cheese stalls and various fresh meat and fish stalls, and there are always queues at each stall. I also have three , high quality butchers within a two minute walk, together with a wet fishmonger.

The produce is cheaper than the nearby supermarkets, and certainly of a far higher quality, so why would I contemplate buying ready made meals or ordering a takeaway, when I can buy fresh food and prepare a meal myself? 

If you were to walk down the Champs-Élysées, not my favourite French street, you would be amazed and disgusted by the number of fast food 'restaurants' and the large queues outside - mainly tourists looking for a reasonably priced meal as opposed to the horrendous fare served in the tourist trap restaurants, but quand même.

Unfortunately, most city centres and railway stations have a large number of SDFs (people with no fixed abode), who gather there and drink their cheap bottles of rosé and cans of high alcohol beer, but town centres in the evening are not as full of alcohol filled drunk and violent young men and women - certainly not women.

When the local media show pictures of hopelessly drunk young women in UK town centres at Christmas time and New Years Eve, they invite responses of mirth, ridicule and scorn.

I can honestly say that I have never seen a woman hopelessly drunk on a French street.   

Yes Phil it sadly doesn’t surprise me about the C-E, the bad food trends from America and the UK usually make their way to Paris first.

Although they’ve increased, the take-away culture is still miles behind the UK down in the Aude I’m pleased to say. 

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8 minutes ago, PHILINFRANCE said:

Anybody who has visited France, especially rural areas, will know that we are blessed with a large number of fresh food markets, especially fruit and vegetables.

I live in a small town a few kilometres west of Paris, and my twice weekly market has eight (8!) fruit and vegetable stalls, a few cheese stalls and various fresh meat and fish stalls, and there are always queues at each stall. I also have three , high quality butchers within a two minute walk, together with a wet fishmonger.

The produce is cheaper than the nearby supermarkets, and certainly of a far higher quality, so why would I contemplate buying ready made meals or ordering a takeaway, when I can buy fresh food and prepare a meal myself? 

If you were to walk down the Champs-Élysées, not my favourite French street, you would be amazed and disgusted by the number of fast food 'restaurants' and the large queues outside - mainly tourists looking for a reasonably priced meal as opposed to the horrendous fare served in the tourist trap restaurants, but quand même.

Unfortunately, most city centres and railway stations have a large number of SDFs (people with no fixed abode), who gather there and drink their cheap bottles of rosé and cans of high alcohol beer, but town centres in the evening are not as full of alcohol filled drunk and violent young men and women - certainly not women.

When the local media show pictures of hopelessly drunk young women in UK town centres at Christmas time and New Years Eve, they invite responses of mirth, ridicule and scorn.

I can honestly say that I have never seen a woman hopelessly drunk on a French street.   

Sounds like bliss to me. And it's pretty much what I experienced when I worked in France.

Tbf...even the Supermarkets were far better than here. 

Sounds amazing that fresh market produce is still cheaper. 

Sadly where I live, local butchers are often three times the price of the Supermarkets and not always better quality.

Yes...I forgot about how many homeless people hang around the railway stations. Italy is the same. Many North Africans.

Drunken anti social behaviour happens every night, in even the smallest of market towns and villages sadly now in the UK.

I socialise in a traditional market town. Plenty of traditional pubs and bars and coffee shops. Seen as getting more upmarket since Waitrose moved in.

I now have to socialise in late afternoon rather than evening, as the idiots arrive enmasse at night.

On Friday my friend who owns a bar, had to bar five people after doing coke in the toilets, one even complained whilst he had it hanging from his nose and on his lip. 🙈🤯

Then yesterday I left the same place...sat outside enjoying a quiet drink with the owner...late afternoon. Two woman in their 30s, approached out of their head on something. No word of a lie, flashing their bits at us, no underwear on. I pulled a face. Her response was...' what, can you smell me fanny? At least it hasn't got gonereah like hers!!!'. Simply WTF 😫😫😫 and they thought it was funny.

Disgusting, classless. And this seems to be the norm.

So many now like it in this country. 

Pure filth and anti social. 

I can't get my head around it.

For all the red tape, politics etc in Europe, the majority have a far more respectful and more social population from my experience. 

Very rarely drunk or antisocial.

Of course every country has exceptions, but now in the UK it's the norm. I hate it. 

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18 hours ago, Lanterne Rouge said:

It could be a scene from Clochemerle if anyone remembers that from 1972.

Funny you should mention that. A colleague of Mrs RR lent her the series DVD a few months ago.  Slow paced but humorous - you need to watch a few to get into it. 

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17 hours ago, PHILINFRANCE said:

This made me smile.

If you ate confit de canard in Sarlat, the chances are it was served with 'pommes de terre salardaises', a wonderful dish of sautéed potatoes.

Here is an English version of the recipe, although it is frequently prepared with far more duck fat!

https://thegoodlifefrance.com/sarlat-potatoes-pommes-de-terres-sarladaises/

I am not sure, but I suspect a proper Cassoulet de Toulouse or Castelnaudry is less harmful for your arteries.

Ha ... yes I had forgotten about those potatoes, Good point.

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Ciudad Condal, at the top of the ramblas behind Place de Catalunya used to be good before it got famous. Now its a bit of a tourist trap and too busy. However the same owner has a place called Cerveseria Catalana, on a side street right at the top of the Ramblas which is decent

 

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