Yes, Barcelona is a great food city—in fact, F&W picked it as #2 in the world (after Tokyo) in our May 2009 Go List. Here are my favorite dishes from the too-short list of places I hit over the long holiday weekend.
*Tortilla at Cal Pep. People seriously line up for one of the 20 seats at this iconic tapas bar. The seafood is invariably great (I worshipped the thumbnail-size clams called tallarines in parsley-garlic oil) but what will change your life is the individual tortilla, made with a little egg, a fair amount of sliced potato and a ton of chorizo and chorizo oil, with garlicky aioli on top. (I waited a good hour for a second chance to have one and it was worth every long minute.)
*Patatas Bravas at Inopia. Albert Adria (you know who his brother is) opened this amazing tapas spot (above) in 2006. Everything about it is fantastic from the supercute staff to the canned anchovy section on the menu. (The atmosphere is great, too—this is the place that U2's private chefs choose to hang out in; in fact, they'll close the place down.) The just-seared tuna escabeche is delicious; if I could eat just one thing there, though, it would be the ubiquitous crispy home-fried potatoes, topped with homemade hot sauce and a dollop of aioli.
*Homemade Macaroni in Parmesan Cream at Fonda Gaig. I know, it seems like the very last thing you should eat in summer in Barcelona is baked pasta. But at this modern Catalan brasserie, chef Charles Gaig serves outstanding large tubular pasta with wonderfully sweet tomato sauce and Parmesan cream. I was brave and starving enough to try it and it was just awesome.