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Barcelona: 2 Wonderful, Authentic Locations You Won't Find in the Tourist Guides
Author: Matthew Davies

One of your first priorities when you arrive in Barcelona is bound to be a lazy stroll down that world famous thoroughfair "Las Ramblas". If you make your way along that fabulous kilometre of sights and sounds looking for a a place to eat, however, you will probably be disappointed. That's not to say there are no restaurants, of course. There are hundreds, all clamouring for your business. But as with any major city centre the quality of food in such places often leaves a lot to be desired, and the prices are invariably hiked up with that dreaded "tourist tax". So rather than take your chances there, why not get a little more adventurous and seek out somewhere "off the beaten track".

Firstly you could try “La Champañería”, which is a true Catalan original. You can get a drink there but it's not exactly a bar or a pub. You can eat there but it's like no restaurant you've ever been in before. There's never any music in the place but it has an atmosphere you won't forget in a hurry. Located in the port area close to “La Barceloneta” metro station it's nearly always packed with people. When it's full you have to shout at the bartender to order your food and wait as hundreds of hands pass you your plate!

The name “La Champañería” comes from the drink of choice – Cava. The golden rule is you can get a free glass but only if you eat! Choose from a selection of delicious cured meats, cheeses and “bocadillos” (sandwiches) to accompany your drink and soak up the ambience. If you get there early (before seven) you can avoid some of the later crowds – but for some it's the raucous atmosphere that makes “La Champañería” so much fun. Either way, it's a fantastic place to kick start your evening, especially if you're looking to get into the party mood before you hit the bars and clubs.

If all that sounds a bit to energetic for your liking, don't worry. Another great choice if you want a taste of authentic Barcelona is a restaurant called “la Cove” which is situated on C/Baluard close to “La Barceloneta” market. It's been a favourite of local residents for more than twenty years and though it's hardly the most luxurious or comfortable restaurant in the world, it is steeped in genuine Mediterranean flavour. The food is phenomenal but with just six tables and maximum capacity of thirty people be prepared to wait if you get there too late in the evening.

Visit either of these two locations and you are guaranteed to have a wonderful evening. Just remember to leave your tourist guide at home!

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Matt Davies lives in Spain and is a regular contributor to Barcelona Homes, a website providing Holiday apartments in Barcelona. He also runs an online gift store: Regalos



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