Cheap & local seafood in Madrid

What do you think about when you think about the food of Madrid? That’s a curly question that tends to stump people on our food tours. Often guests say paella, or perhaps tapas (which assumes – incorrectly but understandably – that tapas is a food group) or they head for safe ground and simply suggest jamón. The thing is, Madrid’s gastronomic identity is a bit of a conundrum for many new arrivals. Which means they get a hell of a surprise when we tell them that this city has the second largest fish market in the world. In a landlocked city? What gives?!

Well, we Spaniards (me being of the honourary sort) eat a hell of a lot of fish. And Madrid, being the capital of Spain and the centre of power, has long demanded – and been able to pay for – a lot of excellent fish. And that means that the capital is a fabulous place to get your seafood fix. Of course, there are lots of pricey places to chow down on fresh octopus or big ugly monkfish, but there are also a number of rough-and-tumble, cheap-as-chips joints where the locals get their seafood fill. And those are the places I wanted to celebrate in this video.

So, without further ado… My favourite places to eat cheap seafood in Madrid!

(p.s. The largest seafood market in the world is in Tokyo. And p.p.s. No you can’t visit the Madrid one, it’s only for trade customers unfortunately.)

Devour Barcelona Food Tours, here we go!

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, food tours in Barcelona

I hear you, I hear you. A post about Barcelona on a Madrid blog. But bear with me. And I’ll keep this short. Having spent the last two years leading hungry visitors to Madrid through our favourite tapas bars, markets, bakeries, sweet shops with Madrid Food Tour, we felt it was time to take everything we’d learned and strike out into uncharted territory. So my partners Lauren Aloise, Alejandro Cabrera and myself hopped on the AVE to Barcelona. We picked our favourite neighbourhood in the Catalan capital, and we ate and ate and ate until we’d narrowed down what we thought was the best food made by the most passionate people.

The upshot? What we hope is the best food tour in Barcelona. The Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, by Devour Barcelona Food Tours (now the sister company to Madrid Food Tour).

What’s involved? Over the course of 4 hours, guests taste over 12 different Catalan foods from some of our favorite family-run businesses in the traditional neighbourhood of Gracia. We enjoy everything from a crisp cava and butifarra breakfast to a century-old pastry made only in Gracia, and en route we’ll explore the local market, specialty food shops, an age-old bodega and more. At each stop, guests meet the chefs and families who proudly create the food they’re tasting and between stops, we discover the culture and history of the neighbourhood.

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, butifarra sandwich

 

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, Pep

And the neighbourhood? Gracia was once a village on the outskirts of Barcelona. But in the 19th and early 20th century, it was swallowed up as the city grew. But it still feels like a separate village: quiet and picturesque with a close-knit community. In recent years a young eclectic crowd has joined the older residents, creating a place that’s a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity; an invigorating environment place where classic multigenerational family-run businesses co-exist with side cutting edge art galleries. And, of course, it also means the food is a fabulous blend of old-style Catalan cooking, alongside new thinking and fresh ideas.

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, Devour Barcelona Food Tours

Barcelona is such tourist-soaked city and although it seems anachronistic to say that and yet launch a food tour for tourists there, it’s a shame that many visitors to the city are  blindsided by the overwhelming offer of shonky experiences (whether culinary or not) on offer. Like any other city, separate the wheat from the chaff, and Barcelona is full of fabulously enriching authentic experiences. That’s what we hope our tour provides, along with – of course – lashings of yummy food.

If you want to read more about the tour or book, click this link. Tours start 9 September 2014 but you can book now.

And here are a few more pics from our testing tours…

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, Mostafa Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, best bomb in Barcelona Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, best pastry shop in Barcelona Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, olives Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour

 

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, cured sausage in Barcelona

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, granel

 

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, olives

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, Olisal, olive oil tasting in Barcelona

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour

Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour, bodega Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour

James Blick