Last updated: February 1, 2013 7:24 pm

Five of the best: Barcelona eateries

Catalan shops, markets and restaurants offer an array of treats – from tapas and cava to seafood and chocolate
Inside Alkimia restaurant in Barcelona©Albert Mollon

Alkimia

Bubó

Footsore from pavement pounding, with blood sugar levels dipping dangerously? Head for this chocolate and pastry shop near the church of Santa María del Mar in the Born district for pastry chef Carles Mampel’s jewel-like creations. A Pandora’s box of chocolate-coated bombóns awaits (open it at your peril), including a startling reincarnation of pà amb tomàquet, involving a sliver of toast with a lick of sweet tomato jelly bathed in dark chocolate and dusted with sea salt.

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Caputxes 10, 08003 Barcelona, www.bubo.es

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Formatgeria La Seu

Scottish-born Katherine McLaughlin has a small but perfect selection of Catalan and Spanish artisan cheeses in her tiny shop in the Barri Gòtic. Standouts include El Petit’Ot, a moist, mildly goaty; Crottin-style cheese; and El Uff!, a semi-soft beauty that packs a smelly punch, washed in beer from a local microbrewery, both from cheese maker Martí Huguet near Girona.

Carrer Dagueria 16, 08002 Barcelona, www.formatgerialaseu.com

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Mercat Santa Caterina

Everyone goes to the Boquería market but Santa Caterina, with its giddy multicoloured roof, is more fun. Shop here for DIY feasts (tiny trimmed artichokes, a riot of fish and shellfish) or stock up on jamón, anchovies, oil, cheese and saffron to take home before snagging seats at communal tables in the restaurant for a selection of market-fresh produce.

Avinguda de Francesc Cambo 16, 08003 Barcelona

www.barcelona.com/barcelona_directory/monuments/mercat_santa_caterina

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Alkimia

Jordi Vilá achieves a near-miraculous transformation of humble ingredients into pure gold with his take on modern Catalan cuisine. Look out for his caneló de pollastre rostit (melting fresh pasta rolled round a filling of roast chicken with nubbly bits of almond), suckling lamb with infant broad beans, or variations on the mar i muntanya (“sea and mountain”, or shellfish and meat) theme so beloved of Catalans.

Carrer de la Industria 79, 08025 Barcelona, www.alkimia.cat

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El Xiringo

Forget cava by the glass at this food-and-wine-shop-turned-tapas-joint – the house fizz is so good you’ll need a bottle. Take instruction from the owner on what’s hot tonight, kick back to the strains of jazz and await successive flights of scallops a la plancha, artichoke hearts in lacy batter, succulent tortilla chunks, lobster croquetas and Manchego slivers with quince jam.

Carrer Sant Carles 23, Barceloneta, www.elxiringo.wordpress.com

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