Most of my time in Barcelona was spent eating. Forget Gaudi, La Ramblas and the beach- it's all about the food here. But watch out for tourist trap restaurants, serving nothing better than a greasy spoon back home. The key is to plan ahead, and doing so, you can discover some of the most delicious food off the beaten track.
Here are my best places to eat breakfast or brunch in Barcelona. Certainly not tourist traps here.
El Quim- La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria Market is a large public food market in Barcelona. Selling all kinds of food, from colourful, wacky sweets, to the less pleasant sheep's head. But hidden- and I do mean hidden- near the rear of the market is El Quim; a tiny little restaurant, or more accurately a counter around stoves. But don't let it fool you. The food served here is simply divine. Some of the best cooking I have come across. Eat brunch here and you are in for a treat.
Tapas style, the food is traditional Catalonia, featuring seafood heavily. Tick off the items you want and hand it over the counter.
In Barcelona we noted that its the norm to drink at brunch. A drink before midday? Well if that's how its done here, I'd hate to offend...
And cheers to my first day of being 23. I look older, but wiser? Doubtful.
We ordered multiple dishes to share, with the first to arrive being Patatas Bravas. Oh dear lord! Wow.
They were the best Patatas Bravas I have ever had in my life. Oh my gosh, I wish I'd ordered a second portion. I still dream of those.
Next was 2 cheese and ham croquettes. And so cheesy they were, cheese just oozed out. Delicious.
We decided to be adventurous and go for the Calf's head and foot in vinaigrette. Well why not? That's the whole point of food, its to be adventurous and discover new flavours.
Although maybe not this one so much. I think it was cooked ceviche style and sadly the vinegar was too over powering for me.
But onwards and upwards! Next, we were served salty sardines. I love sardines, and sardines love you- they are so good for you. Cooked just right, these again were some of the best.
Finally we had a great dish. Prawns on fried eggs. Never would I have thought to do this combination, but yes people, its a sure winner!
I can not recommend or rave about El Quim enough! It is on thee of best breakfast/brunches I've possible ever had, including London. Make it your priority.
Milk is a bit more 'Our' Breakfast style. Owned by an Irish couple, it is a mixture of eccentric furniture, wall art and topped off with a hearty 'Recovery Brunch'. Just what is needed after a night of one too many Cava's eh?
I'm still confused as to why anyone would want to drink a bloody Mary, but unlike me, Caroline LOVES them, and so have become a permanent fixture at our brunch tables.
This has to be the most extravagant bloody Mary I've possible ever seen, yet I'm also told its wasn't just a pretty face, but a bloody good, bloody Mary.
Mine on the other hand was a little more... sweet?
Sugar makes me happy! Cue silly pose.
Although I have no idea what was happening with my hair that day, I look like I've been shocked. You can tell I was out late the night before eh?
Oh OK, cue silly poses all round. Just for you.
We decided to share two plates, as that way it means more to taste.
We has the American pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Now not exactly photogenic, but not one to judge a book by its cover, these were good. Fluffy, sweet, with a kick of salty crispy bacon. What more could you ask for?
I never thought I liked holandaise sauce before. I always found it way to sickly. That's when I discovered that there is good holandaise and bad holandaise. My only prior experience was at a branch of slug and lettuce and I hated it. So when we ordered a round of Eggs Royale I was a tad nervous.
Slowly I cut a small piece of bread, egg and salmon and covered it with sauce. I took a bite and... it was good. So smooth and not overly butterly. It had a great kick of lemon and just enough salt and pepper to add dimension.
Oh and it comes with a side of potato's. As you do.
The cafe gets quite busy and you can't reserve so get there a bit earlier as you'll probably have to wait 15 minutes.
Federal was actually a last minute find for us. We'd plan to go somewhere else, and yet when we turned up, the place was tiny and the menu was pretty uninspiring. Luckily we discovered Federal just around the block. It's run by Australian's which again means you won't find any traditional tapas here, but you will find great breakfasts with a twist.
It kind of feels like you are walking into someones kitchen. There are open kitchen units and only one giant table, except for the cushion window seats that line the open walls. Taking one of these, we were fully exposed to the world outside, making for excellent people watching.
Smoothies are a must in my mind for breakfast, with lots to choose from here.
The menu is pretty extensive with typical breakfast items of toast, eggs and bacon. However everything comes with a slight twist.
We opted for the scrambled eggs, toast, asparagus, halloumi and caramelised onions. Wow is all I can say. Its like all my favourite things in one.
There was a delicious mascapone and blackcurrant jam croissant, but the most bizarre, but most enjoyed was the scones. Yes that's right, scones for breakfast. Can you tell we are British?
Once again the food is delicious, and not to be missed.
Breakfast is certainly the most important meal of the day in my mind, and also my favourite. If you are off to Barcelona, you are in for a treat- the place is foodie heaven. So don't skip breakfast this time folks.
Have a glass of cava and a croissant and some prawns or two... just maybe skip the Calf head yeah?