When vacationing in Barcelona, one would be remiss not to experience a tapas tasting in the Catalan capital. Sachta and I only had three days to explore what the city had to offer so it was important that we didn’t waste any of our precious time in the tourist districts eating unauthentic offerings. We decided to try our luck with a tapas tasting tour.
We figured that trusting a local guide and seasoned tapas eater would be our best bet to have a truly authentic tapas experience. We were introduced to a tour guide named Edouard. He has lived in Barcelona for over a decade and leads food tours for a company called Food Lover Tour. Given that Sachta and I are both in love with food, we were happy to be under the company’s care.
Among the different tour options, we opted for the Tapas Lovers Tour. Three hours of eating and drinking our way through Barcelona’s famous tapas bars that you’ve never heard of. The anticipation was palpable. We spent most of the day walking around the city and eating light in order to preserve our appetite and to ensure we were at full potential for the evening’s feast.
The meeting point for the tour was located in front of the historical Casa Milà, a building designed by the renowned architect, Antoni Gaudí – an ideal place for a brief history lesson on Barcelona’s architecture and cuisine. Once the introduction was complete, our group set off for the first tapas bar of the evening.
Most tapas bars in Barcelona are crowded, at least the good ones, with everyone vying for a table or a seat at the bar. One of the many perks of our group tasting was that we had reserved seating. Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted with Vermouth on the rocks. This particular Vermouth had been brewed locally and tasted unlike any Vermouth I’ve had in the past. I typically would never drink Vermouth alone and was surprised by the smoothness and flavors. It wasn’t long before our first plates arrived.
This bar offered a series of delicious meats seasoned with paprika and mixed with different sauces. Spanish cheeses and vegetables found their way into the meat-centric tasting. After about 45 minutes of conversing with other fellow foodies and devouring the Spanish meats, we headed off to another tasting where the local specialty is seafood.
The atmosphere in the second tapas bar differed from the first. While the first place we experienced was bustling with energy and hungry locals, the second restaurant imbued an old-time charm. You could tell that those who worked there had been preparing these meals for decades. Once seated, traditional baked bread covered in fresh tomatoes and bottles of white wine were presented. Soon to arrive were assortments of fresh razor clams, traditional clams, scallops, shrimp, and octopus. I was amazed of how fresh each dish tasted.
After an hour of blissful seafood, it was time migrate to the third and final tapas bar for the evening. Our final destination was more formal and displayed an impressive wine cellar and open kitchen. The program also differed in that we would be served a three-course meal. The first course consisted of heavenly fried calamari, non-fried calamari, famous green chilies, and more wine. We were also given the option of red or white wine. The main course soon arrived in fashion. Raw meat placed on a hot skillet was presented. We could decide how long we wanted our portions to cook, which I thought was a novel feature of the night. Soon after the tantalizing meat was consumed, dessert was offered. At this point I was almost too full to press on, but it was impossible not to resist the rich chocolate cake.
By now, the Tapas tour was subsiding. Everyone ate and drank passed their comfortable limits, but no sign of remorse emanated from our group. The food was authentic and delicious; our hosts were knowledgeable and entertaining; us foodies engaged quite well with one another. I would definitely recommend the Tapas Lovers tour to anyone interested in a guided tapas tour in Barcelona. I would also encourage you to explore the other tours offered by Food Lover Tour. If they are anything like what we just experienced, then I have no doubt you will fall in love. I have a feeling that Sachta and I will be talking about this experience to our friends for many years. I hope you will, too!