It feels amazing to be traveling again, especially returning to my favorite cities, which Barcelona is certainly one of them. Was joined by 4 of my favorite people; Carol, Doug, James and Greg. We rented an AirBNB for the first time and I am hooked. How nice to have coffee when you wake up, and be able to shop in the great marketplace and make dinner a couple of nights.
We were there for two weeks and able to stroll all the diverse neighborhoods, visit the famous Gaudi sites, go out of town for a day, and eat and drink in all the wonderful restaurants this city offers. Planning on returning next January and already researching neighborhoods we want to stay in.
- Berbena, Carrer de Minerva 6 – what a way to start the vacation but to have dinner here the first night! Small, friendly, lively, reasonable and informal restaurant with a very creative chef. Chef Charles Perez de Rozas Canut’s has personality plus and his cooking matches his outgoing persona. It features seasonal Mediterranean ingredients while also having influences from Asia and South America. Follow his recommendations and you will have a great tasting with local wines.
- CentOnze, Hotel Le Meridien, La Rambia 111 – New Years Eve is celebrated at home in Barcelona so very few restaurants are open for dinner. But Hotels are the exceptio. I was nervous about dining in a major hotel, but was pleasantly surprised by Le Meridien. Not only was the dinner great, but the New Year celebration was done in style – a fun evening. They had a fixed menu with more courses than I could count (or eat!) and free flowing wines (which we drink in large quantities… ). We brought in the New Year by eating the traditional grapes, champagne toasts, and enjoying the goodie bag they supplied.
- Elsa y Fred, Carrer del Rec Comtal, 11 – Right at the edge of the Born neighborhood, it was one of our favorite restaurants and we returned a second time during the trip. Fun, casual, lively, with some of the best tapas in town. Loved the friendly and funny female bartenders and wait staff.
- Paco Meralgo – Carrer de Muntaner, 171 – had eaten here on our prior trips and loved the vibe and food. Cozy & lively tapas bar, stool seating, with lines down the block to get in. Specializes in seafood, croquettes and tartare. Everything was as good as I remembered, including the staff!
- Caelis, Via Laietana 49 – Michelin Star Restaurant with a lunch menu for 45 Euros that was so unbelievable. For a couple more Euros you also get unlimited wine; best deal in town with the best food we had on the trip! The space is lovely and serene. The perfect place to relax after a morning of shopping and sightseeing.
- Llamber, Carrer de la Fusina, 5 – Fun night at this edgy, brick-walled restaurant that takes a creative angle on classic Catalan dishes. Great cocktails too!
- Canete, Carrer de la Unio, 17 – Filled with locals and a lively buzz. They serve classic dishes like paella and traditional tapas. Have a great bar in the front room and tables in the back and side room.
- Bar Ramon, Carrer del Comte Borrell, 81 – This tapas bar sums up why Barcelona has such a amazing reputation for good food. Recommended by my favorite chef, Hillary Sterling, we saved the meal for the last night when all our friends had left. It is an easy going bar with framed music posters, plus jazz & blues on the stereo. You walk in, are greeted by the owner, and immediately feel at home. Though she spoke no English, and we no Catalan, she made very clear what dishes she wanted us to try (as well as what wine should accompany it) and her recommendations were right on the money. The tapas was so delicious that I wanted to extend our trip and eat there every night. She also introduced us to two young women, who did speak English, so they could translate for us and make recommendations. We ended up conversing with them all evening and will be hosting one of them when she is in NYC in February. This restaurant is a must!
- Viator Medieval Three Villages Small Group Day Tour – Very interesting all day tour where we visited charming medieval villages and the stunning countryside outside Barcelona. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and lead us through the charming hamlet of Besalú, including its medieval synagogue and Jewish bath. Then continued to the village of Rupit, to discover its baroque Church of Sant Miquel and the castle ruins. And ended in the area around Tavertet, including a stop to admire the sandstone cliffs. Highly recommend this tour. https://www.viator.com/tours/Barcelona/Small-Group-Medieval-Villages-Day-Trip-from-Barcelona/d562-3142BCNMEDIEVAL?mcid=56757
Sites (detailed in my other two Posts on Barcelona so just including a list)
- Park Guell – Park with Gaudi’s sculptural buildings
- Picasso Museum – Vast collection of his works
- Casa Batio – Fantastical Gaudi-designed apartments
- Casa Mila – Gaudi masterpiece housing arts venue
- La Segrada Familia – Gaudi designed landmark church (supposed to finally be completed in 2030)
- Catherdral of Barcelona – 13th-century Church
- Barceloneta Beach – Place to see and be seen
- Neighborhoods : La Rambla, Born, Gothic Quarter, l’ Eixample (just stroll them all)
- Mercado de La Boqueria – Famous, tourist marketplace
- Mercat De Sant Antoni – Local marketplace and our favorite