Can Culleretes – Barcelona

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Another restaurant C recommended was Can Culleretes. It’s a family run restaurant that began in 1786, hence it’s listed on the Guinness Book of Records to be the oldest restaurant in Barcelona. Pretty neat, and the architecture itself is pretty cool. It’s also easily accessible for tourists as it’s just off the street of La Ramblas near the KFC near the Liceu metro station.

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There’s paintings all over the walls. Apparently, this was also the restaurant where Gaudi would come once a year to dine at. He didn’t normally dine out otherwise.

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The atmosphere is very traditional and the waiters and waitresses are all dressed in uniforms. The restaurant was quite empty at first since we arrived before they opened and there were some other diners waiting outside as well. You need reservations here and often a week in advance. Shortly after, the restaurant was filled.

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The whole atmosphere of the restaurant was just traditional but filled with art.

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Sangria

Of course, we started with a pitcher of Sangria. I thought this was stronger in alcohol than typical ones. Not as watered down for sure.

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Assorted Seafood Platter

We shared most of food in order to try everything. We began with an Assorted Seafood Platter. The seafood was all steamed and came with mussels, clams, prawns, and what I think were crayfish since they were much smaller. I thought this dish was just okay. It was sort of bland and basically only required the seafood to be fresh and steamed.

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Cannelloni with Spinach and Cod Fish

Can Culleretes serves traditional Catalan cuisine, and one popular dish is the Cannelloni with Spinach and Cod Fish. Cod seems to be widely popular in Spain and Portugal, hence you’ll find it at most restaurants. I absolutely loved this dish! It was super creamy and filled with tons of spinach. The cod on the other hand was difficult to really taste as the cheese and spinach flavours covered it.

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Catalan Suckling Pig

The Catalan Suckling Pig was basically what we came here for. C had previously dined here and said this dish was amazing. I’d be honest and say that all the other dishes were just alright in my opinion and I probably would not visit the restaurant again if I’d be dining on those. However, this Catalan suckling pig is a must order and I would come back for just this dish. The skin is roasted to a light crisp, and there is a thin layer of fat with the meat being extremely tender. i liked this since the little hint of pork fat made the dish so much more satisfying but it wasn’t gross like some porchetta which has too much fat. The sauce also made the dish perfect. It was slightly sweet and had dates and other dried fruits. When you soak your meat in the sauce, it’s just perfect!

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Chicken with Ratatouille

The Chicken with Ratatouille is also known as the Pollo Con Sanfaina. It’s basically the Catalan version of the traditional French dish. The ratatouille was made with lots of tomatoes, garlic, onions and peppers. They used drumsticks for the chicken and they were soaked in the vegetable sauce, so very flavourful. However, I didn’t find this dish any amazing.

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Mixed Sorbet

For dessert, we had the Mixed Sorbet. This was very smooth and was very refreshing.

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Whiskey Tart

Another dessert we had was the Whiskey Tart. It was basically like an ice cream cake with a few layers of sorbet and mixed with a hint of whiskey flavour. Not bad!

All in all, Can Culleretes is a decent place to visit for traditional Catalan cuisine. I would suggest getting the Catalan Suckling Pig and the Spinach and Cod Cannellonis. Other than that, the items I had tried were just average. Prices were also on the expensive side. I still think it’s pretty cool to say I’ve dined at Barcelona’s oldest restaurant though!

Tapas 24 – Barcelona

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On exchange, I was able to meet some amazing friends from all over the world. I was especially happy to have met C, who was from my hometown and was also a fellow food blogger! It was great to have someone understand the time we go through to write these posts and why we could take minutes just trying to take a good picture of our food. I have to say, C is a serious foodie compared to me! You can check out her food blog here: http://cherriehui.blogspot.ca/She definitely did her research, and suggested we go try out Tapas 24 as it is owned by Chef Carles Abellan. Carles is a Catalan chef who was trained at elBulli, which is a former restaurant famous for their molecular gastronomy. Now, Chef Carles has several Michelin star restaurants all over Barcelona, and Tapas 24 is just one of them. It’s probably one of the most casual and affordable restaurants he owns. The restaurant is always packed and we luckily got a seat outside.

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It’s cute how your utensils come in a little envelope with the menu on it. As you can see, prices are above average for small portions. It’s quality over quantity here, so definitely don’t come with an empty stomach unless you’re ready to empty your wallet.

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Sangria de Cava

We got a pitcher of Sangria de Cava for drinks, which is Sangria but instead of red wine, it’s champagne. Therefore, it’s a bit fizzy! This was good!

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Bikini Comerc 24

The Bikinis are one of Tapas 24’s most well known item. In Spain, Bikinis are essentially sandwiches with ham and cheese. Inside this prized Bikini, is a white mild cheese, jamon iberico, and flecks of black truffle! The sandwiches are cut into little pieces, and you can basically finish it in two bites. Extremely small for around 8 euros, but so worth it! The bread was toasted perfectly and the truffle flecks made a simple sandwich full of flavour. A must order!

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Les Braves

Braves are one of the most popular tapas in Spain. Chunks of bite size potatoes which are deep fried. They were topped with a garlic mayo and ketchup. The sauce was excellent and the potatoes weren’t oily. Excellent!

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McFoie – Burguer

The McFoie is also extremely popular at Tapas 24. I didn’t expect the burger to look like this, but it tasted so good! It’s essentially a beef patty mixed with foie gras and this is filled inside the burger like a pocket. I can’t even really describe how the outer burger was like. It’s definitely not a burger… It was crispy, warm and soft. It also came with a dipping sauce which was made of foie gras. It was like foie gras heaven. A small portion, but so good and well worth it if you’re a foie gras lover!

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Pan amb Tomaquet

Bread brushed with tomatoes is eaten at almost any Spanish restaurant. It’s interesting to note that Tapas 24’s menu is all in Catalan, so the menu names are a little confusing sometimes for a Spanish reader. However, our server was really nice and basically went down the whole menu and translated it into English despite her running around for several minutes before helping us. These were toasted to perfection and lathered lavishly with tomatoes, olive oil and lightly seasoned with salt.

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Alitas “coreanas”

These were Korean inspired Chicken Wings! This was off their regular menu and on a menu they had written on the chalkboard. Definitely one of our favourite dishes. The sauce had an Asian flare to it and was a little spicy. I loved how the chicken wings had the bones removed so it was easy to eat. The skin was slightly crispy and the meat was tender and moist.

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Sepionetas

These were baby grilled cuttlefish and they were also a big hit at our table. Cuttlefish in Barcelona are so tender! These were slightly grilled, topped with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lightly seasoned with salt. My favourite!

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Xocolata amb Oli

And for dessert, we got their signature Chocolate with olive Oil. Who would have thought olive oil would go with chocolate right? Well at Tapas 24, they know how to play with their ingredients. It was essentially scoops of chocolate mouse and it was drizzled with olive oil. On top, they placed pieces of thinly cut crostinis so you could scoop the mousse. The mousse was already smooth, and along with the olive oil, it was just chocolate heaven! It was also topped with some salt, so it was a mixture of sweet and savoury, which was unexpected, but somehow worked!

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All in all, Tapas 24 is worth a try if you’re ready to try something different and challenge your taste-buds. Their menu is very limited, but they do have some daily specials which are worth trying. It’s a cheaper alternative than trying the other elBulli restaurants which could really break your bank! And to finish today’s post off, is a view from the top of Montserrat. Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain just a few hours away from Barcelona. If you’re ready for a hiking activity, challenge yourself by climbing to the peaks of Sant Jeroni for a spectacular view. If hiking is not your thing, then visit the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary. The mountain is known for its religious significances in the past, but for myself, I was wowed by the beautiful formations of the mountains. Not exactly the same as the mountains in British Columbia, and the hike itself was actually pretty easy! Nothing compared to the Grouse Grind, so definitely check it out if you want a physical activity here in Barcelona.

La Fonda

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Before arriving in Barcelona, I really did not do much research into what to eat. Something that is so unlike me, since I research where to eat in Vancouver all the time. However, I luckily met S, who seemed to know his way around Barcelona really well. Since my friends were over to visit me, I had no idea where to take them. S kindly took me and my friends out and we ended up at La Fonda. We luckily did not have to wait long until we got a table. Usually, La Fonda has ridiculous line ups, because it is actually a well known restaurant for tourists. Inside, the restaurant looks extremely fancy, and at first, I was worried S had taken us to some sort of fine dining. However, after we looked at the menu, we realized the prices were very reasonable and actually much cheaper than many other restaurants.

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Sangria

We first started with a pitcher of Sangria. This is a must order in Spain, since it is basically the Spanish cocktail. The sangria at La Fonda is actually pretty good, compared to some other ones I have tried. It has a good amount of red wine and enough fruits to make it slightly sweet.

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Entrante mixto de la Fonda (Calamares a la romana, quiche de jamon y queso, croquetas, pan con tomate y fuet…)

We started off with a mixed plate of appetizers. It started with grilled cuttlefish, which was one of my favourite. The seasoning was just so good and the cuttlefish was grilled perfectly. To the right was a ham and cheese quiche, which was decent. Not the best I’ve had. Next, was a baguette with brushed tomatoes and a slice of a type of sausage. The sausage was similar to chorizo and was rather hard. Typical sausages the Spanish eat though. Next, was the calamaris fried in a Romanian style. I didn’t like these calamaris. The oil seemed rather old and the batter was not fluffy or crunchy. Next, were the croquettes, which were filled with ham and cheese. These were also one of my favourites. Last, was the grilled red peppers, which are also a common appetizer for the Spanish. The whole platter was under 8 euros, which is great if you want to try a bit of everything. Quite difficult to share between four people, but perfect for two.

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Paella Valencia

And of course, I would be dumb enough to tell my friends to save eating paella in Barcelona when we should have had some authentic paella in Valencia! I had clearly not done my foodie research, and now I regret not having paella in Valencia… So of course, we ended up trying the Paella served Valencian style at La Fonda. It was basically served with chicken drumsticks and lots of veggies amidst a flavourful sauce. You have to order a minimum of two servings, but this is perfect to share if you just want to try some paella and leave room for other dishes. The paella here is extremely well done for the price, as most restaurants charge ridiculous prices. Here, the each order is around 8 euros, so it costs around 16 euros for the minimum two orders. Not bad at all, since lots of places charge at least 16 euros for one order.

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Cordero al horno con patatas al romero

Lastly, we shared a main meat entree, which was under 12 euros. This was also one of the most expensive entree for the meat section, with most entrees costing around 8 or 9 euros. We chose the Grilled Lamb with Rosemary Potatoes and this was really good! The meat was so tender and just flaked off the bone. The sauce was flavourful, with the rosemary aroma.

In the end, we were completely full with just ordering the three dishes between the four of us. If you want some taste of Spanish food and a reasonable price, La Fonda is the place to go. You will see tons of tourists here, and the best thing is that the waiters can speak perfect English. They are just so used to dealing with tourists, that it is a tourist friendly restaurant. But it’s not one of those that rip you off with unauthentic and poor quality food. Be ready to wait unless you start lining up at 7pm for the first seating. They also have great lunch menus at a reasonable fixed price. It is tucked away near Placa Reial and accessible after a long day walking around La Rambla.

Cocteleria Baritimo – Barcelona

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Finally after a week of traveling in Valencia and Ibiza, I finally returned to Barcelona, where it would be home for the next 4 months. Weather is absolutely beautiful here, and it’s hard to remember that I’m actually here for school, because every day seems like a vacation here! I hadn’t gone out much since arriving as I was nervous to explore the city alone, but when my roommate U arrived, we headed out to see Port Vell along with her father. Port Vell is the major waterfront port built due to the Olympics and is a major tourist point as it also has a large shopping centre. We headed over to the Maremagnum Mall and as it was a boiling hot day, we sat down at Cocteleria Baritimo on the second floor for a drink.

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U and I both ordered a glass of Sangria. This would soon be my go-to drink here in Barcelona as you can get it for really cheap. However, the one here was quite pricey, but I have to admit it was really good. I don’t think they used really cheap wine, hence it tasted much better.

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We sat right against the water where we were elevated from the ground as we were on the second floor. The view was truly amazing and with the sunny weather, I see why people always want to relax here! Amazing place if you want to grab a drink, have some tapas and enjoy the beautiful view. Of course, it comes with a slightly higher price, but so worth it!

Tapasbar – Valencia

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Finally posting some of my Europe food adventures! First stop was in Barcelona, but shortly after getting settled down, I met up with S and M to bus to Valencia. The next day, we would head to Bunol for the famous Tomatina Festival, where it is a food fight of throwing tomatoes at each other. In the meantime, we were in beautiful Valencia and were taken to the beach area. We wandered looking for food and settled at the Tapasbar.

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The place was quite packed, and they offered a set menu, that I would quickly learn is extremely popular in Spain. The menu here wasn’t too cheap, and cost $13 euros. It included an appetizer, main course, dessert, bread, and a drink.

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Prosciutto and Melon

For my appetizer, I chose the Prosciutto and Melon. Thinking of any type of ham now actually sort of makes me sick. It is so popular in Spain, that I kept eating it the first month and I’m at the point now where I don’t usually choose it anymore. The ham jamon wasn’t as smooth as I would’ve liked it to be, with the edges being very fatty and tough. It worked well with the melon though, and the plate was extremely large for an appetizer. As for my drink, we got a jug of sangria between the three of us, which gave us around 2 glasses each. Sangria is so popular in Spain, that I end up ordering it most of the time.

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Grilled Lamb Chop with Fries and Grilled Vegetables

For my main course, I chose the Grilled Lamb Chops. Probably shouldn’t have chosen this as it was extremely tough. Shouldn’t have expected any good lamb for the price I was paying. It was full of tendons that were not edible and the meat was overcooked. The grilled vegetables were also a bit burnt, so I didn’t really enjoy them. We all agreed that the fries tasted sort of different from our North American fries. We came to the conclusion that the potatoes in Spain must be of different origin. They had a distinct taste that we weren’t quite used to. The other odd thing is they don’t supply you with ketchup unless you ask. I guess ketchup and fries are an American thing..

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Tiramisu

For dessert, I chose the Tiramisu although I know it doesn’t originate from Spain. I just craved it and thought it would be a safe choice. Indeed it was. It was soft and creamy with just the right amount of liquor in it. It wasn’t too sweet which I liked. Not bad!

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Flan

S chose the Flan for her dessert and I decided to get a picture of it too. I’ll soon realize that flan is extremely popular in Spain and also one of my favourite desserts. It was smooth and creamy and of course sweet! Yum.

Overall, Tapas bar was just mediocre for the price I paid. Definitely not worth it because there are actually much better deals around town. We were hungry and most restaurants had large lines, so we settled for this. Also to remember is to give yourself lots of time for meals, because service in Spain is ridiculously slow.