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Tuna tartar at Mano Rota
Tuna tartar at Mano Rota

Photo: Sara Larsson

Food & Drink

Nina Olsson’s Barcelona

As Swedish chef and restaurateur Nina Olsson prepares to celebrate her 10-year anniversary as a Barcelona resident this year, she shares her knowledge of some of Barcelona’s best hidden gems for lovers of good food and cocktails.

When she isn’t at her own restaurant, Pappa Sven, Nina can usually be found exploring her adopted city’s excellent restaurant and bar scene. Here are her top tips for where to eat and drink in Barcelona: 

Photo: Sara Larsson

Meating spot

Only a few years ago, steak eating seemed to have become a forgotten art in Barcelona, where restaurants focusing on fish, seafood and Iberian pork reign supreme. Not so any more. Lomo Alto joins the outstanding Solomillo as one of the city’s truly first-rate steakhouses. Not only is the meat cooked to perfection, the design is on point too, making Lomo Alto a carnivorous treat for all the senses. Order a one-kilogram mature beef-aged grilled T-bone steak to share between two, with a side of fries, and piquillo peppers.

Lomo Alto

C/ Aragó, 283-285, Barcelona

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Photo: Sara Larsson

Tasty tastings

Mano Rota burst onto the Barcelona fine dining scene in 2015 and has continued wow guests and critics alike ever since. While there’s nothing wrong with its à la carte menu per se, the tasting menu is the real reason why this is one of the hottest spots in Barcelona. Chef Bernat Bermudo’s 11-course seasonal “surprise” menu varies daily, inviting diners to experience a variety of Asian- and Latin American-inspired Mediterranean creations that may (or may not) include a sublime sea bass ceviche, moreish oxtail dumplings and the absolute standout dish, tuna tartare with foie gras.

Mano Rota

C/ de la Creu dels Molers, 4, Barcelona

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Photo: Sara Larsson

Neighborhood favorite

The aptly named Lo de Flor (or Flor’s Place) is run by one of the larger-than-life characters of Barcelona’s Raval neighborhood. Flor brings her Asturian, Neapolitan and Argentinian roots together to create an effortless, yet delicious mix in this welcoming neighborhood eatery. No surprise then that her cozy dining room is packed with a mix of foreign visitors and regulars most nights of the week. Top dishes include the mussels in green curry, and the pork blade that literally melts in your mouth.

Lo de Flor

C/ de les Carretes, 18, Barcelona

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Photo: Sara Larsson

One for the history buffs

Since it opened in 1934, Casa Alfonso has been run by three generations of namesakes. These days, Alfonso the third continues to uphold the family traditions, serving up some of the best charcuteries and cold cuts (or embutidos) money can buy. A favorite haunt with locals and tourists alike, Casa Alfonso’s appeal lies in its historic setting, and the consistently excellent raw materials used to prepare best sellers such as the 26 varieties of croquettes and the traditional Catalan trinxat, a mix of pureed potato, crispy bacon and garlic, with a fried egg on top.

Casa Alfonso

C/ Roger de Llúria, 6, Barcelona

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Photo: Sara Larsson

Galician delight

Arume translates as aroma in Galician – the language of the Spanish region of Galicia that also happens to be famous for its outstanding cuisine. If you want to experience the best of what Galicia has to offer without having to travel all the way to the one of the rainiest regions of Northern Spain, look no further than Arume. This intimate, informal bar specializes in Galician regional delights such as crispy octopus with potato foam and beef entrecote with piquillo peppers.

Arume

C/ d'En Botella, 11-13, Barcelona

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Of all the gin joints

This sophisticated bar arguably serves the best gin and tonic in Barcelona – quite a statement in a city notorious for its seemingly never-ending love affair with the classic tipple. Go for a traditional Tanqueray or Hendrick’s, or take the plunge and try something altogether more interesting, like a aromatic French G’Vine or the locally produced Catalan Gin Mare, fragrant with rosemary.

Xixbar

C/ Rocafort, 19, Barcelona

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Fishy swills

This fish shop-cum-cocktail bar has remained true to its past with its eye-catching marine décor that pays homage to bygone days. Excellent cocktails, friendly bartenders and top-notch music combine to make a night at Pesca Salada one to remember (or not as the case may be). The margaritas are among the best in the city, while the house-distilled Rawal gin is a real treat for lovers of a bespoke gin and tonic.

Pesca Salada

C/ de la Cera, 32, Barcelona

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Last edited: July 17, 2018

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