Hidden Barcelona: A Designer's Dream Food Palace

Finding really good food brings me such joy. Finding that really good food in beautiful place totally makes my day.

One day while wandering through Barcelona, I happened to look down a side street on our way to the train and the front façade of El Nacional caught my eye.

Now, there are a few ways in which I like to find awesome places to eat. The first [and most desirable] method is a raving review from a close friend who also likes to eat delicious food. The second is a long line out the door [if people are willing to wait for it then it's probably pretty darn good]. Or you could go with the tried and true super highly rated on Yelp/TripAdvisor with a ton of reviews method. But sometimes its fun to just pop into somewhere that piques your interest and just give it a go. This was that sort of day and I'd say it turned out pretty well. 

Inside the building the design was exceptional, I could have easily walked around just taking pictures of all the pretty things but since we were all quite hungry we figured we'd cut the photo tour short and actually try the food.

It turns out that it was a pretty cool food concept as well. Essentially it is a really pretty, high end food court. They focus on traditional recipes from around Barcelona and the Iberian Peninsula, prepared with high quality produce. There was a pastry shop, Iberico ham/charcuterie place, a fish restaurant, a couple spots for vermouth and cocktails and we ended up at a fun tapas place called La Taperia.

La Taperia is operated "Malaga-style" which means the dishes are walked around the room and auctioned “Malaga-style” by the waiters. So if you call it first it's yours. It's a swift form of service which allows you to order cold tapas from our waiters while the hot ones flow out of the kitchen endlessly. The tapas were served on different colored plates to denote the price and to make it easy for your server to keep track of your bill. Overall I think it was a fun way to grab lunch.

We ended up trying a couple different types of shrimp, Iberico croquettes, pork cheeks and patatas bravas along with a side of the local favorite - sourdough bread rubbed with tomato, drizzled with oil and generously salted. Unfortunately because it was such a fast paced meal and everything was eaten rather quickly I only ended up with one picture of the little caramel flan that we had for dessert [and that picture was squeezed in while holding back the eager little hands of two little girls].

While the food was definiteIy yummy, it was a touch on the pricey side. I would say that the ambience absolutely makes it worth it. I totally fell in love with El Nacional when I walked in the door and saw all the tile work and expertly blended elements of design. So if you're a lover of design or just want a delicious bite of local cuisine to eat, this is the place to be. (This is totally not a sponsored post but El Nacional if you're reading this I'm open to the idea.)