1 Stock up After the Sagrada Família, the Boqueria food market is the most popular destination in town. Get there before 11am to beat the crowds and rub shoulders with local chefs over a plate of eggs and a glass of cava at El Quim de la Boqueria.
2 Devil in the detail A gleaming glass box amongst the rabbit-warren streets of the Barri Gòtic, Satan’s Coffee Corner is a strikingly Scandi-inspired pit-stop for a classic café con leche or the geeky, fruity charms of a cold-press.
3 Sweet street Carrer Petrixol was once known as the sweet street thanks to its legion of granjas (old-fashioned dairies) hawking churros and hot chocolate so thick you could stand a spoon in it. They’re a dying breed these days, but Granja La Pallaresa is still busy doing what these places have always done (Calle Petritxol 11, 00 34 933 022 036).
4 Rich pickings Even if you don’t plan to shop at age-old Casa Gisbert the toasty smell of coffee, chocolate and spice is irresistible. It’s a great place to stock up on marcona almonds, dried figs, saffron and smoky pimentón.
5 Green gold At diminutive Olis Olivain Santa Caterina market, Ana Maria will happily give you a tasting of her latest finds. Look out for bottles from the D.O. Siurana (Priorat), Empordà (Costa Brava) and Mallorca, which make some of the best oils in the country.
6 Surf’s up Blow away the cobwebs on a crisp winter’s day with a brisk, 20-minute walk from the Born to the beach at Barceloneta. Reward yourself, overlooking the sea at Barraca, with perfectly made rice dishes and a bottle of natural, S02 white from Lleida.
7 Home-style A vestige of the days when Barceloneta was still a fisherman’s quarter, homely La Cova Fumada is as authentic as it gets. Get there by noon to bag a seat beneath painted beams and strip-lights and feast on baked artichokes, pristine grilled sardines, and wine from the barrel (Carrer del Baluart 56, 00 34 932 214 061).
8 Take a ride A 20-minute train journey to Sant Cugat, plus a 40-minute stroll through the Barcelona countryside is worth it for lunch at rambling farmhouse Can Borrell. Calçots are a wintry treat – grilled, long-stemmed onions that are wrapped in newspaper, steamed and served on roof tiles with romesco sauce and various grilled meats.
9 Catch of the day The best fish in Barcelona isn’t by the seafront but tucked in Poble Sec at Casa José Montalbán. With little more than a grill and a fryer, it produces stellar fish and seafood, from crisp fried anchovies and sweet baby razor clams to grilled wild turbot off the bone. (Carrer de Margarit 31, 00 34 934 423 143).
10 Night owls Barcelona is a late-night kind of place. Catch up with the locals at clandestine Bar 68, purveyors of the best cocktails and new-wave tapas in town. Gilded pillars and crimson bar stools suggest 1920s New York, but drinks like the Maryland Sour – hop-infused vodka, hemp smoke and ginger served in a Russian matryoshka – is pure 21st century Barcelona. (Carrer de Sant Pau 68, 00 34 934 413 115)
HOW TO DO IT
Return flights from a range of UK airports cost around £70 (easyJet.com). Base yourself on the greenest side of Poble Sec at food lovers’ favourite Hotel Brummell hotelbrummell.com); doubles start at £95, room-only. More info: barcelonaturisme.com.
Trust olive: Tara Stevens is a food writer, cookery school teacher and culinary tour guide who divides her time between Barcelona and Fes (tarastevens.co.uk).
Photographs: Gareth Morgans, Getty
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