Rambla de les Flors, 88-94
If ham is the reason you came to Spain in the first place -- which is totally acceptable -- then this carving station/museum/jamón store is a necessity. Learn all about the curing process, the origins, and what the hogs eat to taste so damn good, then enjoy a regional jamón tasting session paired with beer or cava (sparkling wine). Or, skip the education altogether and buy an entire jamón leg off the wall, complete with pata negra (black hoof), for a cool grand.
Carrer del Torrent de les Flors, 158
Do as the locals do: fast all day, then hit this crazy affordable (€35, or about $40) tasting menu for massive portions of unique and modern flavors. The menu varies constantly, but recent highlights include quinoa sardine sliders; poached egg over cod mousse; and sweet, savory lamb shoulder. Casually finish it all off with not one, but two desserts -- truffles and a passionfruit custard with gentle coconut whip cream.
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Annie Crawford is a freelance country hopper who's based in Oakland, CA. Catch up with her on Twitter @ReinaAnnie.