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Eating Out in Barcelona

BARCELONA GASTRONOMY
Pà amb tomaquet

Catalonia has a rich cuisine all its own that, while quintessentially Mediterranean, also differs substantially from Castillian food. Some of Catalonia's culinary delights are already quite well known, such as allioli (from the Catalan all-i-oli, "garlic and oil"). Others are waiting to be discovered and savoured by discriminating tongues. These dishes form part of Barcelona's unique cultural identity. A number of combinations have progressed, over the years, into such delicacies as chicken and lobster. The mixture of sea and land cuisine is guaranteed to please even the most demanding food connoisseur.

One of Catalonia's most famous gastronomical inventions is its pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato). It is usually made with a special Catalonian bread called pa de pagès. Tomato is rubbed onto the bread followed by a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. The result is a tasty snack that nicely complements any meal.

Botifarra

Try out Catalonia's special sausage, called botifarra. A delicious soup, called escudella is made with botifarra and galets (a type of pasta common in Catalonia). It is thought that mayonnaisse may be named after the Menorcan town of Maó (in Spanish: Mahón), thus the Spanish doublets for mayonnaisse: mayonesa and mahonesa. Catalonian canelloni are a delicious and satisfying regional dish and calçots, a sort of roasted onion, is a popular dish eaten in gatherings called calçotades.

Crema Catalana

For dessert, how about some crema catalana? Or, if you're in Barcelona for Easter, participate in the tradition of the mona de pascua. And on All Saints Day (November 1st) perhaps you might enjoy some quintessentially Catalonian panellets.

Last but certainly not least, make sure you try Catalonia's very own fine wine of choice, cava, which you may think bears a striking resemblance to champagne. This is because it is elaborated using the same methods as champagne. The cava tradition was started in the late 19th century when the Institut Agrícola Català de Sant Isidre began to utilise the Champagne method to elaborate their wine from the local, Penedés white grape varieties. The resulting drink is more fruity and sweet than its better known French counterpart, but has the same texture and feel. No celebration in Spain would be complete without a bottle of cava to toast with.

TIPPING

In restaurants about 10% or 15% will suffice if you're satisfied with the service, though tipping is not universal. While in Barcelona the VAT isn't usually added to the price on the menu, there is a legal obligation to state whether this is the case or not.

WHERE TO GO

Without a doubt, the Boqueria is your first stop in your culinary exploration of Barcelona. This huge covered market off of the Rambla is the largest and busiest of its kind anywhere in Spain and all sorts of delights are sold in its many stalls. For top-rate Barcelona cuisine you might eat at the Can Majo in the Barceloneta or try the Agut in the Gothic Quarter for great food at a reasonable price.

Cava

For a romantic setting, whether it be a first date or just showing your loved one that you care, be sure to reserve a table at Sikkim. An attractive array of 250 candles spread across the room highlight its warm, tranquil personality. Popular with both locals and international customers, it boasts an impressive gastronomic selection. If you still need convincing, book your table from Monday to Wednesday to receive a 10% discount on your meal! If you are looking for a first class restaurant to impress, then look no further than Via Veneto. Established in 1967, it has an enormous selection of award-winning wine. The staff are professional in every aspect of their service so you can be confident that the food will follow suit. Winners of such prestigous awards such as the Catalan Cuisine Academy Gold Medal, this savvy, cosmopolitan eatery is a perfect choice for an evening meal.

Mama Café grabs at your attention from the get go. Renowned for its stellar quality, you will find surprisingly sumptuous burgers as well as a wide range of salads for you vegetarians. One of the few restaurants open Mondays, it encourages you to make it a regular visit with a welcoming atmosphere and trendy decoration. If you fancy sea food, Can Ros is sure to cater to your needs. Originally a wine cellar, Can Ros not only has culinary expertise, particularly with sea food, but also a deep knowledge of wine to effectively complement your meal. It mixes Catalan cooking with other Mediterranean cuisines and has been rated having one of the best paellas in town.

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