5@5 - Chef Marc Vidal
February 4th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Whether you're jetting off to Barcelona this weekend (because seriously, who isn't?) or planning your first or thirty-first visit, you're going to need your energy for strolling Las Ramblas or climbing the spiral staircase of the Sagrada Família. (Life! It's just so hard sometimes.)

Y'know a great way to get that energy? Eating - and eating well.

Marc Vidal is the executive chef of Boqueria Restaurant in New York City. Before working under the likes of Ferran Adrià, Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse, Vidal, a Barcelona native, learned to cook at his family's restaurant and earned two culinary degrees in the City of Counts. Let's just say he knows the city like the back of his spatula. (We'll be here all week, try the jamón.)

Five Off-the-Beaten Path Eateries in Barcelona: Marc Vidal

1. Kiosko Universal in the Boqueria market
"This family-owned tapas restaurant in Barcelona's famous Boqueria market (and my restaurant's namesake) offers incredibly delicious yet simply prepared tapas and fresh fish, using ingredients purchased from the market every day. My favorite tapas include fried vegetables, clams in salsa verde, seafood cooked à la plancha and sautéed mushrooms. You know this kiosk is exceptional because it's always full of workers from the Boqueria market, who like to order the €14 prix fixe four-course lunch. After eating here, I like to go for a walk at the nearby Las Ramblas."

2. Quimet i Quimet
"Open since 1914 and located in the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona, the city's theatre district, this casual eatery is known for offering the best canned food and an excellent 500-bottle wine list in a space without any chairs! The chef creates interesting montados, amazing cheeses, smoked fish 'mojama' (filleted salt-cured tuna), cod and salmon that are among the best in Barcelona."

3. Coure
"This well-known restaurant recently opened a very little bar upstairs, serving upscale tapas that combine high-end products with sophisticated culinary techniques. Chef Albert Ventura is one of the most dedicated chefs in the city – he opens the restaurant every morning and is always the last one to leave. Try the veal cheeks and the beef tartare, you will love them! I never miss a meal here when I'm back home."

4. La Cova Fumada
"Located in the Barceloneta neighborhood, the market menu at this restaurant offers fresh fish à la plancha, langoustines, octopus, amazing sardines, different 'escabeches' (proteins cooked in vinegar, olive oil and vegetables) and their signature fried eggs with chickpeas. The famous bullfighter José Tomás liked to go here after his fights. The restaurant is now in its third generation, having been open for about 65 years, and is best known for inventing the Bombas de la Barceloneta - a potato dumpling with spicy meat and bravas sauce. Cova Fumada is near the beach so I especially like to visit this restaurant over the summer."

5. Can Jubany
"If you're craving high-end traditional Spanish cuisine, I'd recommend renting a car and driving to this gem. It's in Vic, a beautiful and historic city about 50 miles from Barcelona, and home to one of the best restaurants in Cataluña. Order the arroz de espardenyes (sea cucumbers) and you'll be in heaven. If it's truffle season, do yourself a favor and order the tasting menu. When game birds are in season, order them too. But honestly, you can't go wrong here - it's all delicious."

Give us your own eating tour of Barcelona in the comments.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Spain • Think • Travel

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Chris Russell

    Lived in Barcelona for 3 months last year as a student, and thought I'd offer this bit of adivce: some of the best places to grab a bite are smack in the middle of the Barri Gotic (the old quarter), so long as you stay away from the tourist traps on or near Las Ramblas. The stalls and restaurants in La Boqueria are definitely worth a visit, but stay away from the paella/tapas/sagria places actually on Las Ramblas. Good rule of thumb: if the restaurant has a picture menu in the front window, or lists prices in both dollars and euros: run. You'll end up getting sugary fake sangria and overcooked paella at twice what they should cost.

    My two favorite restaurants in the city are Cafe de la Academia near the Jaume I metro stop and Vegetalia in Placa de George Orwell. The latter is a small vegetarian restaurant with excellent filled pasta, and the former is a great, affordable cafe frequented by politicians from the nearby city government.

    February 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  2. Sparkle Farkel

    I'll be sure to keep this information. I jet to Barcelona every weekend. Seriously, I'd rather he listed fun spots in NYC.

    February 4, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  3. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    Spain was a nation-state located in Western Europe, on Earth. It was focal point of the Spanish culture, including the Spanish language. Spain's flag was three horizontal bands of red, yellow, and red. (ENT: "First Flight")

    During the late 15th century, the Spanish set out to expel all non-Christians from Spain in what was known as the Spanish Inquisition. Q noted that, during this time, Earth had "character". (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; DS9: "Q-Less")

    In 1810, Mexico, Spain's last territorial concession in North America, was able to gain its independence as the result of using violence as a political instrument. (TNG: "The High Ground")

    In the late 20th century, Spain was a founding member of the European Space Agency. (ENT: "First Flight")

    A feature of the culture of Spain is the carnival, an ancient religious festival that has been sustained into the 24th century. (DS9: "The Ship")

    February 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  4. Truth


    February 4, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
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