Eating Like a Local:
A Guide to Some of Spain’s Best Restaurants
Guest post by Chef Tim Tibbitts and Sommelier Rebecca Tibbitts
In need of a little R&R, Bahamas-born Canada-raised Chef Tim Tibbitts and his wife, Sommelier Rebecca Tibbitts, recently took a culinary adventure to Spain. The Tibbitts own Flying Fish restaurant in the Bahamas.
Spain is full of wonderful food, a rich history, and beautiful sites to explore. One of our favorite things to see was the roadside paved with sunflower beds and olive groves as far as the eye could see on our train ride to Seville. Once there, we wandered the city by horse carriage and filled our stomachs with churros con chocolate, soaking in all the history and culture that came along with the city.
The country has no shortage of exquisite meals made with the freshest ingredients, however, if it is your first time traveling to Spain, it’s easy to fall into the tourist trap restaurants that litter the cities. To optimize your dining experience in Spain, you have to eat and drink like a true local – and take your siestas while you’re at it. Here are our some of our top recommendations of restaurants that are a must to visit while in Spain:
We will admit this hole-in-the-wall dive bar can make for a sometimes uncomfortable, cramped dining experience. But if you’re willing to look beyond the minor details, the food is well worth it! We dove into their artfully-prepared truffled eggs over foie gras, rabbit ribs with aioli, Ibérico pork ribs, Manchego with Quince paste, and sweetbread with figs and forgot all about our surroundings. And their Sangria, made with a Spanish Cava that gives it a fizzier flavor, is a must! (www.tapeoborn.cat)
Lasarte – Barcelona, Spain
Created by Chef Martin Berasategui and manned by Chef Paolo Casagrande, this two Michelin-starred restaurant completely blew us away with both ingredients and execution. We had the fortune of booking a room at the Chef’s table, an all-glass room with a spectacular view of activity going on in the kitchen while still keeping the exclusivity of private dining. The menu consisted mainly traditional Spanish plates with a modern twist but make sure you arrive hungry! Our meal consisted of six courses of snacks before the 11-course menu even began. Every dish is thoughtfully and artistically executed and each paired with an exclusively Spanish wine. And of course, you must finish off the meal like a true Spaniard with a cortado – Spain’s rendition of an espresso. (www.restaurantlasarte.com)
Roca Moo – Barcelona, Spain
Roca Moo is a 1 Michelin-starred restaurant brought to you by the famous brothers of El Cellar de can Roca, one of the world’s most prestigious restaurants. It’s easy to forget that you’re in the lobby of a hotel when you taste the food. Our Sommelier brought an outsider’s view to Spanish wines with a little bit of French influence, making the dining experience that much better. (www.hotelomm.com/en/roca-barcelona-en/roca-moo)
La Tradicional – Seville, Spain
This local favorite will surely satisfy your tapa cravings throughout your Spain trip. We recommend sampling the braised pork cheeks, prepared with a hint of North African influence to intensify the flavor. Other must-haves on the menu include: the fried hake with lemon; fried Padrón peppers; and the exquisite jamón with Manchego cheese. Wash it all down with a bottle of Martín Códax Albariño wine, and you’ll be begging for more. (www.la-tradicional.es)
ABaC – Barcelona, Spain
Boasting the youngest two Michelin-starred chef in Spain’s history, our ABaC experience was nothing short of remarkable. The gorgeous and modern surroundings maximized the dining experience, and it didn’t hurt that we were overlooking the chef’s neatly tended gardens. Their dishes are everything you expect at this level: inventive and theatrical. You can choose either the “short” or long menu: 14 courses and 21 courses respectively. The advantage to tasting entire menus is that you get to experiment with the chef’s different textures and styles, allowing you to experience the chef’s full spectrum of cooking ability. (www.abacbarcelona.com)
Wherever you decide on filling up your empty stomach in Spain, you won’t be disappointed. Their rich cuisine is full of diverse flavors that give you a taste of their rich history with every bite and drink. The takeaway and our best advice? Experiment with new foods and flavors you’ve been afraid to try before without hesitation. When in Spain, do as the Spaniards do. ¡Olé!
[Photography courtesy of ThinkInk PR]