This is one of the most amazing food markets I’ve ever visited (and not bought anything). It’s located just off La Rambla in Barcelona. From Ham (many Ibericos – a Spanish specialty), to fruits, vegetables, spices, chocolates, etc., this market had just amazing varieties of foods displayed beautifully. Pictures are below and the market is a destination in itself.
I’m not sure what’s in the water in Spain, but their bread is just perfect: a solid crust with just enough dough to wrap around whatever is inside the ‘wich. In this case, it’s the traditional Iberico ham at Bracafe, a chain of cafes in Barcelona. If you’re hungry and passing one of these, go for any of the sandwiches (or my favorite here – the ham) which is served on the aforementioned perfect bread with a tomato puree and a drop of olive oil. Just enough meat to provide flavor and texture, not like the giant deli concoctions that we see stateside. I’ll miss this sandwich and all the others like it I enjoyed last week…
We visited Tapioles 53 for dinner on our first night in Barcelona last Friday. For those of you who have never visited Barcelona, the restaurants don’t generally start to serve dinner until 9pm and after the preceding night’s travel from the east coast, this made for a long day. Nonetheless, we had reservations for 9pm at Tapioles 53 and had one of the top 5 dining experiences I’ve enjoyed from the many to choose from. When we entered the restaurant, Kristin, the chef greeted us and sat down with us at our table to explain the menu. He also recommended a Spanish Syrah (look out for that post) which was wonderful. They started by serving home-made bread paired with olive oil and a spice mix/dip that really got our stomachs primed for dinner.
Their menu is limited to what they purchase at the market and there were 2 choices – a 3 course menu with 2 choices per course and a 5 course prix fixe. We elected the 5 course menu. The wife, who, as many know is not a fish eater, devoured the house smoked king salmon: need I say more? The following course, a spinach gnocchi with fresh goat cheese was light, airy, and delightful. Our meat for the evening was a special cut of pork tenderloin which was described as the kobe of pork and I can see why. Moist, tender and flavorful matched with a homemade ground mustard which was phenomenal. Our following cheese course was paired with a cava jelly which melted on the tongue, a pedro ximinez (sherry) jelly which off-set the cheese, and a traditional quince paste as well. Lastly, dessert included a chocolate/berry panna cotta and a flourless chocolate cake. All was wonderful.
We felt like invited guests (view from our table to the left) and were treated like regulars. This was an amazing start to a great vacation and I strongly recommend Tapioles 53 to anyone visiting Barcelona who wants to dine in a local neighborhood while being treated to a great meal.