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Barraca A xiringuito like you've never seen featured

Barraca has more than a few things in its favor. Sitting pretty on the sandy edge of Barceloneta, it is a mere croqueta’s throw away from the Mediterranean. Quite literally. You’ll therefore be perhaps unsurprised that the seafood here is wriggling fresh. Not literally this time, though nevertheless exceptionally fresh.

But the reason that this restaurant’s opening was the worst kept secret of summer 2013 had nothing to do with the location nor the fresh fish. The buzz in the air was all to do with the hype-worthy, Michelin-studded record of head chef Xavier Pellicer – a gastronomic wizard who has decided to put down his haute cuisine conjuring spoon for a while and instead go back to doing real people’s food, for real people’s prices.

The all-time peasant favorite paella has taken pride of place here—a deep sticky concoction that is crisped briefly in the oven before serving. Beneath the rich rice crust lurks a near anthology of the ocean, as can be seen in the arroz bomba—complete with squid, rock fish, mussels and clams. Barraca is also organically-minded and kitted out in a modern, nautical manner. But need we really say more…

Shunka Intense aroma

In much of the West, Asian food is ubiquitous; but in Spain, especially Barcelona where haute Catalan cuisine reigns supreme, it is downright adventurous. Shunka, a regionally-rare Japanese eatery whose name means “intense aroma of the season,” harnesses the best of the East-West dichotomy by fusing local ingredients with Japanese-style cooking methods.

Thanks to his father, chef and owner Hideki Matsusia gained exposure to the Asian archipelago’s cuisine at a young age—indeed, he began working in Tokyo restaurants at 15-years-old. In 1997, Matsusia moved to Barcelona to put his culinary sensibilities and skills to the test, and his restaurant is a testament to his chops: Shunka is widely regarded as Barcelona’s top Japanese eatery, noted for the freshness of its ingredients and hip ambiance. Reservations recommended, as Shunka overpours with people during the dinner hours. Know that if you’re hankering for top-quality fresh fish and sticky rice, your search is over before it has even begun.

Gresca Stimulating Spanish cuisine

When it comes to food in Barcelona, creativity is pervasive. Over the years, chefs have transformed their craft into somewhat of an art merging the strength of both their rich culinary and art tradition. Here, the cuisine is innovative and intellectually stimulating attracting worldwide recognition. However, rather than intimidate culinary newcomers, the scene has only emboldened them further.

Gresca’s chef and owner Rafael Pena is one such newcomer. His restaurant is another installment of the ascendancy of “bistronomicas”, where haute gastronomic and traditional cuisine collide. The result: intelligent and inventive cooking that is as enlightening as it is satisfying. Pena makes a concerted effort to source locally opting for robust produce rather than mediocre mainstays. His minimalist, ingeniously crafted dishes reflect both his sharp talent as well as the local terroir and rich food culture.

Offerings, such as John Dory with artichoke or the Egg Souffle with Creamed Ham, are evidence of this inclination. If you’re overwhelmed by the menu, opt for their tasting menu and sample a range of delicacies such as octopus, sardines and ginger squab.

La Alcoba Azul Spanish authenticity

You can find a bounty of very hip and charming bars in Barcelona. And, of course, there are also more than enough spots to enjoy authentic Spanish food. But it’s only seldom you can find somewhere that both come together- La Alcoba Azul is one of those places.

They have created an inspiring and stylish ambience without sacrificing their Spanish soul. The salads and toasts, as well as the tapas are pretty delicious and the house wines are carefully selected. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you’ll be served with a free tapa with your glass of wine, as was common here years ago. With its traditional charm and the cosmopolitan Jazz selection to audibly season the atmosphere, this place is a quintessential example of modern Spain.

Devil's Kitchen German grilled fare

Despite its devilish moniker, this unpretentious little locale in deep Raval boasts a menu that is more grillsome than gruesome, serving up up classic German grilled delicacies wurstbude (sausage stand) style.

Perch at the bar to watch German chef Christian cooking up sausage specialties like Currywurst (sausage in a tomato and curry sauce) and Thüringer and sip original German beer (undoubtedly tastier than Spanish varieties) or glühwein (mulled wine) on cooler evenings. Also serving grill staples to go (such as burgers and grilled vegetables), passing up on the renowned “Devil’s Fries” here could be a sin.

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