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A weekend in Barcelona

The Catalan capital woos visitors with an irresistible mix of traditional and cutting-edge cuisine, from old-school tapas bars to full-on gastro-theatre. Roving food lover Kathryn Tomasetti is up for trying the lot
SUCH A BEAUTIFUL HORIZON… A view of the city from Park Güell

Sexy, sunny and with a ringside view of the Med, Barcelona has a reputation for year-round fun. A mention of the Catalonian capital evokes fantastic architectural façades, sprawling pavement cafés and late-night cocktails. For many visitors – me included – the city’s main draw is its delectable and varied culinary scene.

A decade ago, Barcelona was moving beyond its foodie foundations of tapas and beer – still solid traditions today. But now the city is home to a generous dollop of 21st-century favours, too, from locally led insider foodie tours to superchef brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià’s elBarri, a playful mix of restaurants dishing up classic dishes and mind-boggling molecular gastronomy. I could hardly wait to dig in.

TOTALLY TAPAS

I used to be dismissive of patatas bravas, which is too often served as a banal dish of potatoes in a spicy slick of tomato gloop. Yet there I was on my frst evening in Barcelona, deep into a plate of chunky chips smothered in garlicky sauce with just a hint of chilli. I’d been waiting a while to snag a table at Bar Tomás (Carrer Major de Sarrià 49), squeezed into the entryway along with dozens of Barcelonians. This authentic local tapas bar is in the unassuming neighbourhood of Sarrià, northwest of the city centre, and renowned for its interpretation of patatas bravas. Soon I’d piled up six other miniplates of anchovies, preserved tuna and olives. There’s no doubt that local is the way to go.

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About delicious. Magazine

Ottolenghi is back! Find his new recipes in our October issue, along with the best things to eat this autumn including Hugh F-W’s cheesy gratin, Atul Kochhar's home cooking and easy one-pot meals. There’s also a Mexican chilli cook-off, proper bao buns and a foolproof beef wellington. On the sweet side, get stuck into John Whaite's rich chocolate cake, a frangipane crumble and our ultimate biscuit collection – better put the kettle on…