I was only in Barcelona for a brief amount of time but I learnt quickly that the food is fresh, fun and genuine. Like most of the big cities, staying away from the tourist spots proved the most fruitful, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay huge amounts of money to appreciate what’s on offer!

A few of my suggestions;

Brunch & Cake – for the best acai bowl you’ll probably ever eat….

I’ve never had an Instagram photo go viral before, but thanks to Brunch & Cake I can now say it has happened! Their beautiful acai bowl was one of the best I’ve ever had, as it was perfectly balanced in terms of sweetness, with fantastic crunchy granola on top and served in a pineapple! The coffee was also excellent, being one of the very few places I’ve seen that serve almond milk for those who like their coffee extra nutty. Healthy, fresh and vibrant food makes for such a great change when travelling – the hardest part will be choosing just one item of their entire drool-worthy brunch menu!

Galleria Cosmo – for tea and cake (or cake and coctails!) 

This was a terrific accidental find while making my way to Las Ramblas. The space is both an art gallery and a trendy hispter cafe, one that you’d expect to find in the backstreets of Melbourne rather than the centre of Barcelona! While it may be a quirky space, expect no ironic moustaches and highbrow attitude here – the atmosphere is very chilled, with lovely English speaking staff to help you navigate your way through the menu. I had a vanilla tea and the key lime pie (in a jar), which is perfectly tangy and touted as one of their specialties for good reason. They also had some very tempting chocolate cakes on offer, and an extensive cocktail list that will convince you that cocktails and cupcakes make for the best afternoon tea!

La Boqueria – for colourful cuisine chaos!

I visited La Boqueria every day I was in Barcelona. These huge indoor markets feature pretty much everything you can think of – seafood, meat, poultry, offer, pastry, fruit and vegetables, juices and even chocolates. Half the fun of the place is going with an empty stomach and a bit of cash, and just trying everything as you go! My favourite tidbits included a spinach empanada, guava and coconut juice, dates stuffed with nuts and the most beautiful fresh fruit salad. If there is such thing as ‘foodie heaven’, it looks like La Boqueria…..

BCN Kitchen – for a Catalonian cooking experience like no other! 

A must for any foodie visiting Barcelona! We explored La Boqueria markets under the wisdom of a Catalonian chef, who provided us with the industry secrets of how to buy the best and freshest produce. We then spent a chaotic but fabulous 3 hours in the kitchen cooking traditional Catalonian cuisine , including tomato bread, Spanish omlette, gazpacho, a massive cuttlefish paella and, my favourite, Creme Catalan (like a creme brulee but with orange and cinnamon). It has definitely inspired me to incorporate some of these dishes into my repertoire at home!

Informal – for fine dining without the price tag!

I arrived solo without a reservation and was greeted with open arms and a seat immediately. The service was impeccable and the food was absolutely divine. I had the chicken meatballs, the octopus salad (my favourite dish so far in Spain!) and the fruit and cheese tart for dessert. A filling three course meal, with beautiful wine, and of Michelin standard, cost me only €48. Very impressed indeed!

Dela Crem – for authentic gelato 

I was once told by some gelato chefs that the most authentic gelato is the kind stored in a temperature controlled environment rather than on display under glass with extra bits thrown on top. This means if you find a store with the product stored under the counter in those big metal containers, you’re onto a winner, and these guys certainly prove that theory! This gelato shop hidden away opposite Brunch & Cake was filled exclusively with locals on a hot afternoon – another good prognositc indicator for excellent gelato. The pistachio and hazelnut gelati I tried were oh so good, and they also offer a great range of pastries and coffee.

Escriba Rambla – for a one stop traveller’s shop (and hot chocolate thick enough to eat with a spoon) 

I love this place! It’s one of the very few good cafes along Las Ramblas, as most are very touristy. For €5.70 I had a delicious lemon pie scented tea (yes that’s right, it’s a cup of tea that tastes like pie – genius!), a fabulous gin and tonic macaron (again, actually tasted like gin and tonic!), a 70% dark hot chocolate that was so thick I had to eat it with a spoon, plus access to wifi and a clean bathroom. In travelling terms, I’d call that an absolute bargain!