Top 13 things to do in Gastronomic Catalonia

2023 - A White Bowl With A Fish In It.
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2023 - A White Bowl With A Fish In It.
Top 15 incredible dishes of 2023
January 5, 2024

Top 13 things to do in Gastronomic Catalonia

Catalonia, located in the northeastern region of Spain, is an autonomous community of Spain. The region is home to Barcelona, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities. Catalonia comprises four provinces; Girona, Lleida, Tarragona and Barcelona (yes, Barcelona is a city as well as a province). Catalonia has much to offer visitors including its beautiful and diverse landscape, rich culture, national parks, luxury hotels and, of course, some of the world’s finest gastronomy. Here’s a list of the top 13 things to do while visiting Catalonia:

 

  1. Sagrada Família

First on the list is the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. This must-visit cathedral is the beautiful work of famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. Construction of the basilica commenced in 1882 and it’s still under construction today.  You can find more details here https://sagradafamilia.org/en/

 

  1. Ohla Eixample

Ohla Eixample comes highly recommended for Barcelona accommodation. This gorgeous 5-star boutique hotel is located right in the heart of the city, in the l’Esquerra de l’Eixample district, within walking distance to tourist attractions, restaurants, bars and shopping areas. The hotel boasts two restaurants, one being Michelin star Xerta and the other being Kintsugi. The hotel offers a lovely rooftop heated infinity pool as well an array of special surprises like welcome Cava and an intimate movie night (loved the movie night surprise). Amazing breakfast is an added bonus. You can find more information on Ohla Eixample here https://www.ohlaeixample.com/en/

 

  1. Disfrutar

It’s no secret that Catalonia is home to some of the world’s best restaurants. In 2023, Disfrutar took the title of Europe’s Best Restaurant and placed second on the renowned World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. They were also recently awarded a third Michelin star in November 2023. Disfrutar is at the helm of three chefs, Eduard Xatruch, Oriol Castro and Mateu Casañas, who jointly placed at number seven on the 2023 Best Chef Awards list. Needless to say, Disfrutar should be on any foodie’s list of top things to do in Catalonia. The food is phenomenal (as expected), the service flawless and their exceptional alcoholic beverage options and pioneering alcohol-free wine options (alcohol removal by means of evaporation) are impressive beyond measure. Disfrutar is so much more than indulging in incredible food, it’s truly an immersive sensory experience – one which I will never forget. More details to follow on Disfrutar soon. If you’d like to find out more about Disfrutar, you can do so here https://www.disfrutarbarcelona.com/

 

  1. Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey

Less than an hour away from Barcelona is Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. A guided tour of Montserrat Abbey and surrounds comes highly recommended. Montserrat regions boasts the most spectacular cloud-blanketed views of the monastery and the abbey. The Virgin of Montserrat is Catalonia's patron saint and the famous Black Madonna statue is housed within the abbey. While the Montserrat region is home to around 80 practicing monks, it also boasts the Museum of Montserrat and is the birthplace of Escolania (the Boys' Choir). You can witness the beautifully moving boys’ choir performance at 13h00 Monday to Friday in the abbey. More details can be found here https://abadiamontserrat.cat/

 

  1. Paradiso

Barcelona night life is nothing short of vibrant; the city is home to some of the world’s best bars. Paradiso is a personal favourite. The cocktails are not only delicious but impressively interactive emphasising true showmanship. There are so many great cocktails to choose from; some of my favourites include the Tesla, the Kryptonite, the Voyage and the Fleming. There’s also a secret hidden bar within Paradiso – accessed with a code which unlocks the bathroom wall  – you just might be lucky enough to be invited to visit.  The Paradiso staff are not only skilful but warm and welcoming too, making the experience truly memorable. It’s of little wonder that Paradiso’s accolades include the number one spot on the 2022 World’s 50 Best Bars list and the number four spot on the 2023 list. You can find information on Paradiso here https://paradiso.cat/

 

  1. Lluerna

Lluerna is a Michel star restaurant located in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, just outside of the city of Barcelona. The restaurant is under the leadership of husband-and-wife duo, Víctor Quintillà and Mar Gómez. Lluerna offers innovative and elevated Catalan cuisine, making use of local and seasonal produce. You can look forward to the likes of comforting ‘mushroom tea’, exquisite calamari, decadent creamy mashed potato with generous truffle shavings, hare and traditionally served calçots (a type of green onion). Lluerna also boasts an extensive wine offering. Sustainability is inherently engrained in the culture of Lluerna; the restaurant has its own water filtration system and a one-of-a-kind water-efficient dishwasher. These are just some of the reasons why Lluerna was also awarded the Michelin Green Star. You can find further details on Lluerna here https://lluernarestaurant.com/

 

  1. Sites & Bites Guided Tour

If you’re looking to explore Barcelona on foot, I’d highly recommend participating in an organised walking tour. Many of these tours, like that of ‘Oh My Guide’, include foodie attractions such as Santa Caterina market, Xarcuteria La Pineda and La Boqueria market to name a few. The tour takes you through the Gothic Quarter and el Born, allowing you to take in beautiful sites like the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. There’s no better way to explore the city than with an experienced local. If snacking while exploring is your thing, you’ll love this tour. You can find more information on this food tour here https://www.ohmyguidebarcelona.com/tour/food-tours/

 

  1. Somiatruites Restaurant

Somiatruites is located in the Igualada region of Catalonia. The restaurant is run by chef David Andrés and Somiatruites proudly boasts a Michelin Green Star as well as Bib Gourmand status. The restaurant serves up delicious wholesome cuisine; some personal favourites include the mushroom and ham croquettes, patatas bravas and their signature ‘egg’ dessert (one of the best cheesecakes I’ve tasted). The tapas style sharing experience offers simple, unpretentious, delicious, comforting food; an option that proves to be popular with Catalans. You can find more information here https://www.somiatruites.eu/index.php/ca/restaurant

 

  1. Oller del Mas

If you’re looking for a unique and special experience in Catalonia, Oller del Mas is a little piece of heaven. This winery offers accommodation in the form of a tranquil forest cabin experience. The cabins are beautifully decorated showcasing modern tones of black and natural wood; a warm luxury oasis.  Oller del Mas also offers vineyard tours, cellar tours and wine tasting. The wine estate is home to Bages 964 Restaurant. Chef Alex Portales, from Manresa, showcases fresh local produce inspired by market-type cuisine. You can look forward to sophisticated dishes like pumpkin seed ‘tea’ as well as tasty modest dishes like croquettes and seafood paella. Further details can be found here https://ollerdelmas.com/en/

 

  1. Codorníu

Codorníu is the oldest winery in Spain and home to the fabulous Cava. Cava is a uniquely Spanish sparkling wine that’s traditionally made with three grape varietals including Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel. Chardonnay and Malvasia are sometimes also incorporated. At Codorníu, one can take part in a tour of the cellars and learn all about the Cava-making process – you may even get to take a train ride through several kilometres of underground cellars. Last, but not least, you can look forward to tasting their fabulous Cava. Codorníu also has a restaurant on the property grounds, where you can enjoy traditionally prepared calçots (assuming you visit when they’re in season) as well as other local dishes. More information on Codorníu can be found here https://www.codorniu.com/

 

  1. Bike Tour through Vineyards

One of the unexpected highlights of my recent Catalonia trip, was a fun-filled bike tour through the Penedès region (the largest wine region in Catalonia). If you’re looking to enjoy scenic routes and learn a little more about this Catalan wine region, I’d highly recommend booking a bike tour through Bike Motions. Bike Motions provides the bicycles or electric bicycles as well as a knowledgeable tour guide who will safely lead you through this beautiful region. This was an incredible experience offering truly unique views of the Penedès region. If you’d like to find out more, you can do so here https://bikemotions.es/

 

  1. MontRubí

MontRubí is located in the serene mountain region of Alt Penedès. This absolutely gorgeous estate boasts a winery, beautiful boutique hotel and intimate restaurant. MontRubí is an ideal getaway for wine lovers, providing a charming small-town feel. Just a short walk from the reception and restaurant, the hotel offers a delightful cosy abode. The restaurant serves lovely hearty dishes accompanied by some incredible Catalan wine produced by, none other than, MontRubí.  One of the most beautiful estates, MontRubí is a must-visit when touring Catalonia. You can find more information here https://montrubi.com/en/

 

  1. La Pedrera

Last on the list is La Pedrera. La Pedrera is the famous “wavy” Modernista building in Barcelona designed by renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. This was the very last private residence that Gaudí designed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t personally able to visit La Pedrera, since I ran out of time on my scheduled trip (too much wining and dining 😉). However, it comes highly recommended by local Catalans and is the first thing I’m doing on my next trip to Catalonia. For this reason, I felt a list of the ‘top things to do in Catalonia’ had to include La Pedrera. If you’d like to visit, you can find more details here https://www.lapedrera.com/en  

 

 

For great deals, further travel tips and more information be sure to visit the Catalonia Tourism Board website https://www.catalunya.com/ Thanks so much to the Catalonia Tourism Board for hosting me on a fantastic trip and giving me the opportunity to explore Catalonia and all it has to offer. What an incredible experience it was. I look forward to visiting Catalonia again in the near future.

 

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