Best Barcelona Experience - 2003
Though San Francisco's nightlife shuts down right around the time things are just getting started in Barcelona, there are still several similarities between the two cities, among them an abundance of good food and drink. The best restaurant in Barcelona is a tiny bodega across from the Picasso Museum that serves only sparkling wine, fresh anchovies, and manchego cheese, a conjunction that might seem limited at first glance. The anchovies, a far cry from the salty little creatures we fish out of a can, are meaty and tender, with a distant briny tang. The manchego is their perfect complement: nutty in flavor, with a buttery texture that cushions the zing of the fish. Balancing the two with unexpected success is a glass of icy cava. This heavenly trifecta can be experienced here, too. Leonard's stocks wheels and wedges of manchego fresh from the old country as well as gently marinated white anchovy fillets from Italy. The Jug Shop across the street is well supplied with sparkling wines from all over. Combined at home, the results evoke memories of Gaudí and the Mediterranean and La Rambla at dusk.