menu del dia – menu of the day or set menu is a very common thing in Spain, especially around lunch time, with a set number of “primero platos” (first plate) “segundo platos” (main dish) and dessert. Very often they will also include wine, water and coffee in the set price.
Those who have been following me for a long time know that Barcelona is one of my favourite places in the world. As I often say, it is the perfect city to live in for pleasure, enjoying your life at full capacity; with affordable living and food to offer, Barcelona has a unique vibe that is just so relaxing and inspiring… But I might also be bias in my preferences, for my heart is bound to the Catalan capital thanks to the part of my family lives there, and it is the place where I spent most of my childhood vacations.
After countless trips there, I have finally decided it was time to collect some of my favourite places in town, some recommended by my local friends, some found by accident, but I never fail to fall in love with those places again and again, and that is exactly why I am sharing them with you here and today.
I am also going to be making a separate “Best sweets in Barcelona” (and where to find my favourite churros!) and “Best Tapas&Wine in Barcelona”, so make sure you keep that in mind for your next trip there!
Don’t actually know why it’s called a bar because this place has awesome food! It’s perfect for a lunch at the terrace, between the comfy pillows, or dinner inside, lost in the modern interior with lamps made out of books.
Menu del Dia: €12
MUST TRY: fried egg-plant with honey; Chicken paillard with soya sauce and rocket salad
Even though it’s one minute off Las Ramblas, Luzia is a spot to remember. With a minimal interior with a touch of Latin folk, it is perfect both for breakfast and lunch. Spain isn’t really granola friendly, which has become my obsession since I moved to London. However, you’ll have no problem finding it at Luzia. It is also known for its delicious pizzas, which, I have to warn you, have a cracker like crust, so not suitable for the traditional soft dough lovers. Be prepared to wait at the bar though since it gets quite busy during the “Menu hours” (which is always a sign of quality!).
Menu del Dia: €14
MUST TRY: Rigatoni with parmesan cream and truffles; any pizza!
If you’re looking for a full tasty and affordable breakfast (yoghurt and granola aside), this is the place you need. During our last trip, Daniel and I went there a few times and very quickly it became our favourite breakfast spot. We both had sizeable plates of scrambled eggs/omelettes with Jamón ibérico (the traditional ham) and bread, a croissant and Ensaïmada (Mallorcan pastry), as well as 2 coffees and we only paid 10 euros! However, with so many Menu rates around the city, the lunch/dinner aren’t really worth it here.
Menu del Dia: No set menu offered
MUST TRY: Scrambled eggs / Omelette with Iberian ham
Fancying an elegant experience on the beach? Can Majo has not only the view to offer, but also some of the best paella in town. It is a perfect place for romantic dinners or weekend lunch while walking around Barceloneta.
Menu del Dia: €40-€69
MUST TRY: Rice or Fideua in Squid ink
Now you might be a bit like “WTF Doina? THIS IS NOT BARCELONA!”. BUT before you hate me, please read this. Vinya Nova is my absolute favourite restaurant in the Barcelona area. It is in an absolutely isolated area, surrounded by a vineyard, farm and the stunning Montserrat Mountain, owned and ran by a super lovely gentlemen who’ll be going around and serving about 1 000 people during lunch time hours on weekends. People from all around Catalunya drive to El Bruc to spend a Sunday lunch at Vinya Nova, and the restaurant’s constant visitors are famous football players, politicians, diplomatic delegations, singers, actors, and many others. So if you are in Barcelona for a few days, make sure to rent a car for a day and drive 40km to try the ultimate Catalan food experience made from the restaurant’s own organic food. Oh, but don’t forget to book in advance, at least two days before (if it’s a weekend you might want to ring them up even earlier).
Menu del Dia: Mon-Fri: €14 ; Weekend: €20 – €30
MUST TRY: Their famous Calçotada… I would explain what they are, but it might only put you off, since that was my reaction at first. But i’ll ask you to believe me here and just try it! And everything else. From the vegetarian burgers to the grilled meat, absolutely everything is so tasty you can’t stop eating.
+Make sure you try the sweet Spanish Marmalade with goat cheese.
++ My favourite wine region is La Rioja. You’ll see it in any grocery store, and even though the prices vary, you’ll get an excellent bottle for about €4-€6