Back at Barrafina

It’s not the first time I’ve mentioned Barrafina and it won’t be the last.

Because I looooooove tapas and Barrafina is quite simply the best tapas restaurant in London.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

The only problem?

How good Barrafina is is London’s worst kept secret.

And of course, there’s no reservations, which means you will have to queue.

Yes, even if it’s late and even on Sundays.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

But worry not, for there’s a small selection of nibbles to eat while you wait – including Barrafina’s fantastic croquetas.

That time around, they were squid croquetas, with ink, little pieces of cuttlefish and a potent-but-sublime spicy aioli on top.

100% the way to keep little hangry me happy!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Nibbles, drinks and good company are a great combination to make time fly by.

Before you know it, you’ll be led to your recently-vacated seats…

… for yet more croquetas!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

This time, ham croquetas.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Just as gorgeous as their squid sisters, with a rich, indulgent, creamy ham & cheese filling and the thinest, crispest of exteriors.

If you love croquetas (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), you have to have Barrafina’s.

Ham or squid, whatever you pick, you’re in for a whole new ball game!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Since we visited at what was technically brunch time, the classic tortilla was a must order.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

… and I can happily report that it is indeed a classic at all times of the week and day!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Potato slices, sauteed in olive oil, then topped with eggs and cooked to golden perfection…

Simplicity at its very best.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Chargrilled artichokes with aioli, dressed in a shallot and chives vinaigrette.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

And spectacular Arroz de Marisco.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

A bit of a cross between a risotto and a seafood paella, with incredible depth of flavour from a saffroned bisque and topped with just-grilled seafood.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

On the sweet side, we couldn’t resist the crema catalana bites.

Basically cheesecake, wrapped in crisp filo pastry, deep-fried and served with a tart berry coulis.

Berry indulgent indeed!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

And –of course– a serving of obligatory cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate sauce. Light, almost brioch-y, they are something special in their own right!

Now, the million dollar question – when to go so you don’t have to queue for hours?

We went on a Sunday for a late lunch (around 1pm) and waited around 20 min for a table. Late dinner is also quite a good bet, making it a great post-theatre option, especially on weekdays. But then again, I went a few years back on Easter Sunday and it’s the only time I’ve ever been seated right away…

So if your bank holiday plans allow it, go, go, GO!!

Barrafina, 10 Adelaide St, London WC2N 4HZ 

(there’s another Covent Garden branch on Drury Ln, and a Soho one on Dean St, all equaly good and hard to get into)

Where to eat if you can’t get a seat at Barrafina

Terroirs Wine Bar

The Barbary

Chick ‘n’ Sours

Shake Shack

Back at Barrafina

Greek Feast at The Real Greek

If you can’t go to Athens, let Athens come to you.

Which, short of the view, is just what The Real Greek does!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Modeled after traditional Greek tavernas, The Real greek offers a wide range of inexpensive Greek mezze, all designed by Greek cooking goddess Tonia Buxton.

Perfect for a quick lunch or to linger over a few nibbles and a chilled bottle of wine with a big bunch of your favourite people!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + WhiskyThe Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Over-ordering non-comulsory but very much recommended!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Creamy Houmous, rich in tahini and delicately spiced with cumin and fresh chilli.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Melitzanosalata, a light and fragrant blend of smoked aubergine, garlic, shallot and lemon.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

All scooped up with warm Greek flatbread!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + WhiskyThe Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Crisp & morish Tiropitakia, filled with with creamy leek, spinach and feta.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

An absolute triumph!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Zesty Revithia, a traditional chickpea salad with handfuls of herbs, olive oil and lemon.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Hearty Gigandes Plaki, slow-cooked in a rich and herby tomato sauce.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Beer-battered salt cod.

Perfect to replenish your stock of minerals!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Delightful with a little squeeze of lemon!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Tonia’s Prawns with feta

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Finger licking tiger prawns with tomato sauce, feta and a hint of Ouzo, and pretty much the essence of summer in a bowl.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Grilled octopus with Greek oregano.

A standout dish and my absolute favourite.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Lamb meatballs.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + WhiskyThe Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Greek salad, obviously.

Classic, hearty, rustic and an absolute must-order!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Though the Couscous salad is also a good choice and pairs especially well with grilled meats.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Put everything in the middle of the table, pour everyone a glass of chilled Greek rosé and nibble your way through!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

And if pudding isn’t much of a thing in Greece, where sweets are traditionally eaten inbetween meals rather than at the end of them, you sure shouldn’t overlook them at The Real Greek!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Greek yoghurt with walnuts in syrup.

Not much of a looker, but the perfect way to end the meal on an indulgent, yet healthy note.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Greek filo custard pie is just the opposite: rich and indulgent, it’s an absolute delight!

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

But nothing a big cup of Greek Mountain Tea can’t counter-act.

Full of anti-oxydants, and very delicate in flavour, it encapsulates the spirit of Greek food perfectly: super tasty, sort of healthy, perfect for sharing.

A-mezze-ing!

All you need now is getting everyone together and book a table at one of The Real Greek’s 8 London locations.

The Real Greek Cookbook | Cake + Whisky

Or you could have your own little Greek feast at home!

The Real Greek is -finally- releasing a cookbook, full of their best-sellers recipes (including all of the above), from delicious meze dishes to scrumptious feasts of lamb kleftiko and Loukaniko.

Marbleous recipes and an absolute bargain, you’d be a fool not to order it!

 

Greek Feast at The Real Greek

Barrafina Adelaide Street

If you can’t go to Spain, just let Spain come to you.

And there’s no better place for that than Barrafina (trust me, I checked!)

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

 

The drinks, the atmosphere, the decor… It all seems straight out of one of Barcelona’s most sought after tapas bars.

And the food, oh the food.

The food is even better and absolutely faultless.

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Making your choice might be a bit of challenge; many a dish are worth a taste.

And then there are the daily specials…

But then agin, I’m pretty sure whatever you go for, it’ll be stellar!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Micro piquillo peppers with brandada.

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Crunchy ‘n’ melty Crab croquetas.

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

A true thing of beauty (and probably more addictive than any drug!)

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Gorgeous crisp fried artichokes served with mustard aioli

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

The very best way to have your five a day!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Cuttlefish and chickpea ragout with squid ink.

Intensily saline and one all fish lovers must try!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Calçots and romesco.

Things don’t get more seasonal than that!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Finger-licking good Iberian pork ribs.

A sticky, deep and absolutely irresistible cracker of a dish that’ll have you lick the plate (which we may or may not have done)!

So good in fact we considered getting seconds…

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

But ended up listing to the voice of reason and went for dessert instead!

And not just any old dessert (ooooooh no!): Doughnuts and chocolate sauce.

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Cinnamon dusted, churros-like doughnuts

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Dipped in some excellent, warm, bittersweet chocolate sauce

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

And washed off with the most delicious of dessert wines: Alameda Sherry!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

London’s best tapas for sure and definitely one worth braving the queues for any day of the week.

If you’re looking for me, you know where I’ll be…

Barrafina10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ   Barrafina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barrafina Adelaide Street

Native, Neal’s Yard

What better way to start the week than with a new restaurant to get you dreaming about next weekend already?

I mean, it is just 3.5 days away! #GodBless4DayWeeks

The sun seems to finally have found its way to London, taking a stroll into Covent Garden one of the very best things to do!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Wandering the cobbled streets is the best way to build up an appetite.

Once you’re good & hungry, make your way to Neal’s Yard colourful hidden courtyard, marvel at how truly adorable it is, then get yourself a table at Native.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

A greenery-adorned, garden-in-the-basement table, that is!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

The menu is short, simple and changes pretty regularly.

Depending on how many people you are / how hungry you are, you might even be able to try it all!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Things started off on a high with the Pigeon Kebab with beet hummus and harissa.

An Eastern-Europe-meets-the-Middle-East kind of dish and an absolute success!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Followed by an Easter special of Rabbit dumplings with wild garlic and pickled walnuts.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

So simple, yet elegant and perfectly balanced and probably my favourite of all dishes.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

For mains, we shared Goat cutlets with cauliflower puree, roast carrot and wild garlic.

A nice, comforting dish that could only have been improved by a couple of extra spoonfuls of that delicious, zingy herb dressing!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

All washed down with glass after glass of Native’s homemade Elderflower cordial.

Fresh, subtle and elegant, it’s something truly special and you must make sure to try it on your visit!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Just like the brilliant honeycomb-adorned Truffles.

Slightly salted, very rich and 100% decadent, they are what chocolate dreams are made of.

 

A truly exceptional ending to a lovely lunch and one you should definitely experience for yourself!

If you’re after seasonal food at its very best and a side of wandering in the spring sunshine, you really couldn’t do better!

Find Native online and make sure you book a table as it’s teeny-tiny (but oh so adorable!)

Native3 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H   Native  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Native, Neal’s Yard

Morito, Exmouth Market

There are no places in London I love more than Clerkenwell.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Tucked away at its heart is my favourite little pocket of London, Exmouth Market.

It has absolutely everything I like.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Pretty brick houses and retro-looking stores with just the right amount of hipster to them.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Some seriously strong sign pun game.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Enough stationaries to make any addict’s heart happy.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Some of the most beautiful plants I’ve ever seen.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

And most importantly, A LOT of lovely, independant and very good little restaurants.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Some of London’s very best have recently moved onto Exmouth Market, including Macellaio, an excellent ‘Italian butcher with tables’.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

No matter what you’re after, be it British food, Korean chicken, cocktails or pizza, you’ll find it on Exmouth Market.

Unfortunately I haven’t had time to try it all just yet.

Not because I rarely am around, oh no, rather because I always find myself making a beeline for my absolute favourite restaurant in all of London.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito is a tapas & mezze bar, opened by hospitality legends Sam & Sam Clark, of the nearby Moro fame.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito,l, London | Cake + Whisky

It’s a somewhat small but oh-so-lovely space, with its signature orange bar and monogrammed wooden bar stools.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

And more importantly, the atmosphere and food rival that of the best tapas bars across Spain, with a touch of Northern Africa meets the Middle East thrown in for good measure.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Not over-ordering is always a challenge. The menus might be short, but I always want to try everything.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

From the short but carefully crafted cocktail list, we tried the Aperitivo (vermouth, cava, bay & orange).

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

But my current favourite is a bit of a twist on a classic G&T, the Oliver (white vermouth, gin, tonic, orange slice).

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The bread basket is an absolute must-order. All breads are made in house and are basically heaven in dough form.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The herby za’atar flatbread is my favourite, especially when dipped into rich, green olive oil seasoned with a few pinches of sumac.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Croquetas are such a tapas staple and so delicious I’m never, ever able to skip them.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

We went for the salt cod version this time, with heaps of parsley and a generous dollop of punchy aioli.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The tortilla is not as pillow-y here as it is at Barrafina, but the current leek and lemon thyme combination is so delicate and more-ish.

An absolute lunch winner.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

My favourite dish was a little Confit duck, escarole & hazelnuts number.

Such a simple, yet vibrant and perfectly balanced dish.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The Crispy aubergine, whipped feta & date molasses, topped with fresh mint leaves, is basically next level dirty fries and another crowd pleaser (and it seems a favourite amongst the staff as well…).

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Last but not least was the Chicken, chorizo, spinach & oloroso a la plancha.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Perfectly grilled chicken, with heaps of chorizo and just soft spinach leaves.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

A match made in heaven.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The dessert list is really rather short (olive oil mousse or ice cream on our visit) but even I don’t mind as I’m usually too stuffed to even consider dessert and settle for a caffè con leche instead.

The perfect end to a perfect meal, just like every other time I’ve visited Morito.

Morito, 32 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QE  Morito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morito, Exmouth Market

Rabbit restaurant, Chelsea

If there is tapas made anywhere in London, it’s likely you’ll find me somewhere around some time soon.

So after visiting one of the most fantastic exhibitions of the year, we went down to the woods and stumbled upon Rabbit on the way.

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

Opened by three brothers who grew up on a farm in Sussex, the small restaurant makes for the most charming rural spot right in the middle of Chelsea (oh, the irony!).

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + WhiskyRabbit | British tapas | Cake + WhiskyRabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

With its wood and stone walls, its subtle natural tones and its decidedly bucolic decoration, Rabbit offers a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of London’s metropolitan life.

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

And how cool are those antic-tractor-seats-turned-chairs? They definitely give you a sense of that farm-to-table business rabbit is all about!

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

Definitely not cool enough to divert my attention away from the food though!

Especially when the mise-en-bouches look as good as those!

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

Pretty-as-a-picture Beetroot Crisp, Goats Cheese and Blackberry Jam.

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

Hake Rillettes which remind me of summer holiday picnics.

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

And my favourite of all: the glorious Confit Rabbit and Tarragon on Parmesan Sablé.

So good I could have eaten dozens of those.

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

But it was a good call to keep some stomach space for one of Rabbit’s signature dishes: Chorizo and Labneh.

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

Studded with crisp bread shards and incredibly morish kale crisps, it has almost nothing in common with the Spanish sausage dish but is equally delicious!

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

The Lamb Chips disappear so quickly I barely had time to click a picture.

Another of the restaurant’s signature dishes and an absolute must-order in my book (and I’m sure anyone else’s).

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

The prettiest of all plates came in the form of a lot of cauliflower.

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

Rainbow Cauliflower, Smoked Onions, Rocket and Almond Pesto.

Just as delicious as it is pretty and the kind of dishes I hoped we’d see more of in restaurants.

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

Another winner was the Duck Liver, Radicchio, Chives and Golden Grapes.

Deeply umami and a game changer (see what I did there?)!

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

The Wild Mushroom Ragu is a strong favourite amongst the restaurant’s patrons.

Rabbit 18

Crispy sage leaves, creamy celeriac mash and some of the best (and most truffled, in the good sense of the word) damn mushrooms I’ve ever had!

Rabbit | British tapas | Cake + Whisky

I’m quite demanding when it comes to pudding, but I might just have found my new favourite.

Honeycomb, dipped in chocolate and served atop dollops of vanilla mascarpone.

Basically heaven in a mouthful and a combination I fully intend to re-use very soon!

And all together quite representative of the food at Rabbit: simple, sophisticated and just right. Everything good food should be.

Rabbit, 172 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4UP Rabbit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rabbit restaurant, Chelsea

London’s best tapas | Barrafina

Barrafina is legendary for how long the queues are at each of the group’s 3 restaurants.

I’ve only heard rave reviews from anyone who visited, so I knew I’d eventually have to cave up and see it for myself.

As we got out of the Lyceum Theatre after having seen The Lion King the other day (best musical I’ve ever seen, in case you were wondering!), dinner at the newly opened Barrafina Drury Lane seemed to be the perfect way to finish off the evening. 
Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyAnd at 10-something PM, we didn’t even have to queue for a couple of seats at the counter! #WinWin
Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyBarrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyIt didn’t take us long to order: just a quick look at the menu and a lot of staring over the counter and pointing at everything that looked good!Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyBarrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyWe started off with the best croquetas I’ve ever had (and god knows I’ve done extensive research!). So good and melty I regreted not ordering a second plate! Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyBarrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyI quickly found consolation in the plate of crispy Chipirones that was swiftly put in front of me.
Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyThe specials had almost all disappeared from the board by the time we arrived (I suppose that’s the drawback from arriving that late…), but the sardine toast was still available… Sardine “à la plancha”, parsley salad and roasted pepper aioli… Basically perfection on toast!
Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyLamb’s sweetbread are one of those love-it-or-hate-it ingredients. That said, I believe Barrafina’s version (with a rich gravy, parsley and capers) could convince the most dubious of people! Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyWe finished off the meal with the best cooked, most tender Roast Milk Fed Lamb I’ve ever had. Truly incredible.Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyNot that we were still hungry, but we couldn’t resist ordering Leche Frita, if only to satisfy our curiosity… I mean, wouldn’t you want to know what “fried milk” is?

If you must know, it’s some kind of Creme Catalane, battered then deep fried and served with tangy plum compote and my very own idea of dessert heaven. And the perfect (sweet) ending to this fantastic meal!

Barrafina Drury Lane, 43 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5AJ (closest stations are Covent Garden and Temple)

London’s best tapas | Barrafina

Irati Taverna Basca | Pintxos* | Barcelona

*Pintxos are small snacks typical popular in the Basque country, which are usually ‘spiked’ with a skewer to a piece of bread. At the end of the meal, you return your plate and pay according to the number of skewers left in it.Cake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaCake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaCake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaDECISIONS, DECISIONS…Cake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaSEAFOOD TORTILLA PINTXOSCake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaCake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaMY PERSONAL FAVE: DUCK TERRINE + CONFIT ORANGE CROISSANT!Cake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaFRESH CHEESE + PEPPER RELISH + PINE NUTS PINTXOCake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaJAMON + MUSHROOMS: ALWAYS A GOOD IDEACake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaTUNA STEAK + ONION PICKLE PINTXOCake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaFRESH ANCHOVY + TAPENADE + ONION PICKLE
Cake + Whisky | Barcelona travel guide | Irati Taverna BascaALL DONE + READY TO PAY!

Tip: As usual with Barcelona’s tapas bar, don’t be afraid to claim your spot at the bar! Ask the staff for a plate and get stuck in! 

What to order: My favourite was the duck terrine & confit orange croissant, but the tortilla and anchovy ones were also really good!

How much: Each pintxos costs 2€. For a light lunch, you’ll want 6-8 pintxos/person, so the bill should be around 15€ pp + drinks.

Where: Irati Taverna Basca, Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 17, 08002 Barcelona

Irati Taverna Basca | Pintxos* | Barcelona

Barcelona Day 1 | Ciutat Vella, La Barceloneta, the best ice cream and ALL the tapas!!

After all the tapas-sampling and general face-stuffing at the Boqueria market, a little stroll accross the city was more than welcome. For digestive purposes, obviously. But we might have stumbled upon a few more foodie gems while wandering in the Old Townsndguerin-barcelona-day-1-1Palm trees are everywhere in Barcelona: it multiplies the “holiday feeling” by about 100 and made me oh so happy! sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-13The same also applies to orange trees…sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-8sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-3It was the middle of the afternoon (aka siesta time!), so it felt a bit like walking in a ghosts’ city… only a very specific kind, full of old stones, amazing (mainly gothic) buildings and green little courtyards! sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-4sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-5sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-7sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-2I especially loved the area around Barcelona Cathedral. Look at how beautiful the cathedral itself is, it’s quite impossible not to fall in love! Unfortunately, we couldn’t get inside as there was a wedding that day, so we headed to the Arc de Triomf and more palm trees instead, before plunging back into Barcelona’s small streets!sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-14sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-15A little close-up for you to truly appreciate the beauty of it! sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-16sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-19sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-20Wish I could have brought one of those street lamps home! sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-9Another highlight was the former El Born market, which is now home to several exibitions on Barcelona’s story. sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-12sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-10sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-11Perfect mix of old (the foundations of the former market building) and new (industrial design 😍), Barcelona, you sure know how to reach my heart! sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-18sndguerin-barcelona-day-1-17Wonderful windows and colourful street art never hurts either! But Barcelona’s true hidden gem? Viokosndguerin-vioko-barcelona-4sndguerin-vioko-barcelona-2sndguerin-vioko-barcelona-5As usual, the most difficult part was to choose a reasonable number of flavours to taste! sndguerin-vioko-barcelona-3Oh, and not getting tempted by the macaroons was quite a challenge as well! sndguerin-vioko-barcelonaIn the end, we settled for Tùron (chocolate & hazelnut, really not my thing but my boyfriend loved it!), Mojito (very fresh and mint-ey, would work wonder in the summer!), Grapefruit & jasmine (so fresh and fragrant!) and Creme Catalana (a must-order! I was a bit scared it might be a tourist trap, but it ended up being my favourite of the lot!). sndguerin-shopping-happy-pills-barcelonaEn route, we also stopped inside the most adorable sweets’ shop I’ve ever seen (and trust me, I’ve visited A LOT of those!). Happy pills is somewhat of a cross between a pharmacie (white walls, prescription bottles…) and a candy shop (ALL the candy!). You just have to fill your little bottles with your favourite sweets, pick a label to put at the front and tadaaaaah, you suddently have magic candy that would make about anything in your life just a little better (yes, even if your fave football team loses their big game!). A brilliant idea really, and it would make for terrific gifts too, wouldn’t it?!

After a little siesta, we were in mood to get in with the locals, so we headed to the tapas joint recommended by our Airbnb hosts: Jai-Ca, a tapas bar loved by locals and visitors alike! (sorry for the drop in picture quality btw, but Barcelona simply isn’t as blogger-ready as London when it comes to food pics… so if you want to be treated like a local, you better act like one!)sndguerin-jai-ca-barcelona-tapasOnce again, it’s a bit of a dare-or-die sort of place, so do face your fears and fight off the crowd to get seats, and don’t be afraid of flagging waiters whenever you’re ready to order! And whatever happens, do get a platefull of Patatas Jai-Ca! Hands down the best bravas I’ve had in Barcelona!sndguerin-jai-ca-barcelona-tapas-bravasWhen you’re at it, you should also order my favourite: Chipirones! They are deep-fried baby squid, but if you don’t tell your date, I’m giving you my words they’ll never guess it!! sndguerin-jai-ca-barcelona-tapas-chipironnesThrow in some Buttifara (sausage with white beans), a couple of plates of Padron Peppers and maybe some croquetas and you should end up very full indeed! sndguerin-jai-ca-barcelona-tapas-buttafaraFinish things off with a Caffé con Leche… and maybe one or two cheeky chipitos?sndguerin-jai-ca-barcelona-coffeeThe best thing about Jai-Ca though? There’s no need to worry about the bill: somehow, it always end up being lower than you expected it to be (we payed about 30€ for two with drinks). Delicious food, cracking atmosphere, lovely staff and CHEAP? I have just one word: GO!!

Addresses:

Vioko, Passeig Don Joan Borbó Comte Barcelona, 55, 08003 Barcelona

Happy Pills, Carrer dels Arcs, 6, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

Jai-Ca, Carrer de Ginebra, 13, 08003 Barcelona

Barcelona Day 1 | Ciutat Vella, La Barceloneta, the best ice cream and ALL the tapas!!

Barcelona Day 1|La Boqueria market

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you already know that I took off for sunny Barcelona last weekend… The truth is, it was a bit of a “get-up-and-go” sort of trip, with very little planning involved: all we knew is that we needed to get some sun, and loads and loads of tapas (obviously).

So we booked tickets, settled on staying with great Airbnb hosts and pinned a few things on a brand new Barcelona board before jumping in a plane! We arrived rather late on Friday evening and went -almost- straight to bed (after a few croquetas, because we have very clear priorities in life!!).

In true Spanish fashion, we woke up late and (see above priorities) headed to the world-famous Boqueria market for a taste of the best food the city has to offer!

sndguerin-boqueria-juiceWe grabed juice (each cup was 1€, so we might have had several…) and wandered along the stalls, oh-ing and ah-ing and pointing fingers. My mum would certainly not approve of such a behaviour, but everything was looking so fresh, colourful and incredible that I couldn’t help myself. Meat, fish, veggies, La Boqueria is like heaven for any foodies and I just wanted to take it all in. So that’s what I did, happy-snappy style!sndguerin-boqueria-meat-1sndguerin-boqueria-meat-2sndguerin-boqueria-meat-3Dreaming up a little barbecue right there! sndguerin-boqueria-fish-3sndguerin-boqueria-fish-1Some of the most beautiful fish I’ve ever seen…sndguerin-boqueria-fish-2As well as some of the scariest one!Obligatory chorizo, ham and salsichon… sndguerin-boqueria-olivesOlives wherever you looked… sndguerin-boqueria-eggsCreative egg displays… sndguerin-boqueria-spicesFragrant spices… La Boqueria really has it all! And then there’s the fruit… sndguerin-boqueria-fruit-1sndguerin-boqueria-fruit-5sndguerin-boqueria-fruit-4Piles upon piles of fruit! sndguerin-boqueria-fruit-2sndguerin-boqueria-fruit-3And then some more! sndguerin-boqueria-fruit-6I could happily have gone for a full box of those beauties for lunch, but we thought loading up on more croquetas was a good idea, so we headed to Bar Boqueria, one of the tapas counters nestled inside the market itself.

sndguerin-bar-boqueria-5If you happen to see an empty seat, JUMP on it! The small counter is so popular that you might have to wait for a bit, but don’t be afraid to settle in by yourself as soon as you get an opportunity!

sndguerin-bar-boqueria-6Then you can indulge in some menu-reading with a side of serious plancha-cooking action!! Those guys are incredibly quick, so before you know it, you’ll be presented with all the delicious treats you’ve picked!
sndguerin-bar-boqueria-1Jamon croquetas are obviously a must-have. sndguerin-bar-boqueria-2We also threw in a plate of grilled red peppers… you know, for the vitamins! sndguerin-bar-boqueria-3And some zucchini tortilla too! sndguerin-bar-boqueria-4Plus obligatory patatas bravas!

I loved the Boqueria Market and its atmosphere. So much that I had to be dragued out to go and explore the city…

And this only worked because 1. a walk seemed like a great way to digest this first round of tapas before we went for more. 2. I knew there was also terrific ice cream to be had later that day (best ice cream I’ve ever had. Coming soon on the blog, stay tuned!) 3. I was promised we’d go back before the end of the weekend!

Mercat de la Boqueria, La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Mon-Sat, 8:00-5:00

Barcelona Day 1|La Boqueria market