Friday, June 27, 2014

Barcelona's Hidden Gems

I don't know how, or why, but Barcelona has got some of the best food places I've ever been to, but also the hardest to find, from cheap lunches to expensive dinners. Barcelona, being a modern, international city, has restaurants and eateries featuring cuisines from all over the world, but to me there were a few that really stood out. The great thing about Barcelona is that some of the best places to eat are the most unassuming places; those great places that often only locals know about. Interning here puts me in constant contact with many locals, so I've been fortunate enough to have experienced some top-notch local places.

1. One of the first places we went, it's a Latin food and drink restaurant simply called Foc. Originally believing it to be called Foc You, I thought it was just a play on F*** You. Instead, the place is just called Foc, which translates to Fire. Foc is in a prime spot right on the beach, so it's a little more touristy and expensive, but definitely worth it. The one thing about Barcelona is that waiters and waitresses will wait for you to signal them before they take your order or anything. Being one of our first times eating out in the city, it took us awhile to figure that out. Finally, we got the waitresses attention, and ordered a margarita pitcher (it was a wonderful feeling not getting carded for alcohol!) and our food; I got the chicken burrito. If you've ever been to Chipotle or Qdoba, you might have expected, as I did, a log of a burrito. Instead, I got a perfectly wrapped, normal sized burrito, that along with the drink and appetizers, perfectly filled me up. Unfortunately, I was so hungry at the time that I forget to take any pictures, and haven't had a chance to get back there.

2. One night, a group of us missed the free dinner provided to us, so we ventured out into the city to find some food. Walking around the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona, we stumbled upon this hidden gem called Da Greco, which turned out to be really upscale restaurant almost purposefully hidden on a back street. We had to wait 30 minutes for a table, but it was worth it. I got an €18 steak, which came out sizzling and just tasted sublime. Some people got pasta dishes, and they surprised us all when along with the main pasta dishes, they would bring out a little sampler dish for the rest of the table to share. I definitely plan to go back there, even if it's just to get that same steak again.
The entrance to Da Greco.
3. I'd heard stories and legends about a place in the Del Born district of Barcelona of a place variously called Bo de B, Bo de Bo, and Bey de Bey. When I finally found this fabled eatery, it was in fact called Bo de B, and if you've ever been to Jim's Steaks on South Street in Philadelphia, you'll know what a line around the corner looks like. After waiting over an hour, we got inside to place our order. I'd been told to get the chicken sandwich, with all the sauces and toppings except lentils, so that's exactly what I got. Watching the girl make it was mesmerizing, as she piled on 7 different sauces, of which I could positively identify tzatziki and chipotle sauce, and toppings such as fresh (everything was fresh) tomatoes, peppers, corn, lettuce, and radish slices. Trying to eat the sandwich was a challenge, just because it was so packed, but for just €3.50, it was the cheapest meal I've had yet, and also one of the best.
The line outside Bo de B. They only let in 4 people at a time to order.

The toppings bar!
4. A few days ago, I asked a coworker to recommend a good burger joint, as it'd been weeks since I'd had a burger and I had a craving. He recommended a place called Bacoa, which turned out to be near my train station so I checked it out. Walking up to it, I saw it was crowded but not packed, so taking that as a good sign I went in, figured out how to fill out the order card, and got the Bacoa Classic Burger with fries. Settling myself by the open air entrance to people-watch, I quickly received my burger. See below for my before and after burgers. That burger was so good I hardly stopped for air as I inhaled it, leaving me full but wanting more. It was so well cooked, with delicious manchego cheese and frankly I don't know what else. I ate it so fast, and the menu was in Catalan, so I wasn't totally sure what was in it besides a tomato and some lettuce. They had their official Bacoa sauce on the table, so I drizzled my fries in it, finding it to be tasty mixture of ketchup, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce.

After these last 4 weeks, all the delicious food has definitely sapped my will to go to the gym or go on runs or anything, I comfort myself by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and eat whatever makes me salivate the most! This has been my longest post to date so far, but that's just because there's so much good food to talk about!! Catch ya next week.

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