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The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a city so electric, so magical, you can just feel it when you walk around. And believe it when I say, it’s a city that smells—in a good way. If I close my eyes it’s like I can still smell the floral air of the city, like in those Disney cartoons where the wind whips flowers around the princess’ face. It’s so sweet, so alluring, it just gives me butterflies when I think of it. And to think a number of travelers I’ve known have warned against it. You’ll get robbed, they say. There’s nothing to do, they say. Have they been to the same Barcelona as me? This is the Barcelona that we witnessed, fell in love with…and ate. True to form, we ate a lot.

Tapas 24, Barcelona

The entrance to Tapas, 24

Tapas, 24 was a fantastic find not far from our hotel in Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood. The basement locale boasted some seriously tasty tapas, and we enjoyed them all with—what else?—a bottle of Spanish wine. The ambiance was warm with a bit of edge, but it never felt like it was trying too hard. The place was totally buzzing, and we loved every minute of our leisurely, late dinner.

Mc Foie from Barcelona's Tapas, 24

The McFoie Gras “Burger”; a riff on the menu of a certain fast food chain, but better because FOIE GRAS.

Bombas de Barceloneta, Tapas, 24, Barcelona

Our winner: Bombas de Barceloneta, with a mix of ground meat and potatoes in a red-white combo sauce.

Bikini Comerç24 from Tapas, 24, Barcelona

Bikini Comerç24; warm bread folded over a combination of jamon, cheese, and truffle.

Sagtada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

The Nativity facade of La Sagrada Familia

No visit to Barcelona is complete without two very important things. The first, by a long shot, is a trip to the Sagrada Familia. The towering church that remains a work in progress gave me the feels, from a haunting sensation to a mouth-gaping, awe-struck trance.

In a word, it’s powerful.

Flautas de Jamon Iberico in Barcelona, Spain

The second most important thing you must do in Barcelona is to taste its jamón ibérico, or more specifically, the flautas de jamón ibérico. It doesn’t look like much, but this little beauty, with its cured ham, is delicious. You can find them almost everywhere—even the airport—so it’s difficult to leave the city without noshing on one of these (or two, or three). Okay, guilty.

Bubo, Barcelona, Spain

The entrance to Bubo Bar

A final favorite that made for a memorable meal in Barcelona was Bubo Bar, the savory sister of Bubo’s pastisseria that lives next door. We ate in the towering shadow of the stunning Santa Maria Del Mar cathedral, and took in the outdoor scene while also taking in a number of well-appreciated calories.

Bubo restaurant, Barcelona, Spain

Sangria Cointreau bubó

Croquettes from Bubo, Barcelona

A sampling of croquettes, including salted cod, Iberian ham, brie and coconut, and wild mushroom.

Bubo Bar's Tuna Ravioli, Barcelona, Spain

The crispy and delicious tuna ravioli.

Micro Pizza from Barcelona's Bubo Bar, Spain

We didn’t know tomatoes could taste like this. The micro pizza easily ranks among favorite eats in Spain—Europe, even.

And of course we couldn’t leave Bubo without checking out its offering of sweets next door; they were world class, indeed.

boldly colored macarons from Bubo, Barcelona, Spain

Boldly-colored macarons from Bubo, featuring ganache filling and too many wonderful flavors to count (or choose).

Chocolate from Bubo, Barcelona, Spain

The complimentary chocolate treat that began my love affair with salted caramel.

J’s Take

Is it possible to get a bad meal here? If it is, we wouldn’t know. We’ve had our ups and downs in other European cities, but I can say with 100% certainty that we loved everything we tasted in Barcelona, down to the last piece of pan con tomate, er, tomato bread. If you’re going to spend your life’s savings on food somewhere, this city has my vote.

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