Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world. When I visited in January, this only solidified that fact and made me more excited to share recommendations with anybody that would listen! The people and the places are so warm and soulful, I’ve never felt more connected to food than I have while eating around this city, and there’s so much and so little to do at the same time.
Most of the following recs are going to be restaurants and dishes, but I’ll include some sites and random things as well…for posterity.
El Nacionale: A Spanish Eataly. A bunch of different types of restaurants and bars in one food court setting.
Mosquito: For if you’re craving Asian food…and if even if you’re not. GO HERE. I think about those beef noodles every day. Order the Pho (City version). And oh my goodness, the pork dumplings.
Paco Meralgo: Classic, delicious food. So if you’ll notice throughout this post, and if you talk to me, I ate a ton of potatoes and cheese and meat. The potato dish I got is called “Patatas bravas” (usually), and the ones here were the yummiest because these ones had a touch of spicy oil. We’ve also tried to recreate the shrimp omelette dish since we’ve gotten back…to no avail.
Any Xurreria (Churreria / any place that sells Churros): Went for breakfast. Was very happy. With that said, I’m going to say something very controversial and declare that the churros at Taco Stand in La Jolla, CA are still the best churros I’ve ever had.
Bar Cañete: A very classic Spanish restaurant. A little nicer, and I recommend you sit at the bar if possible. I believe the line is longer in the evening, but if you go at lunch time, no line and very spacious. You can order anything here and you’ll be thinking about it months later and salivate over it. The razor clams were my favorite. The pan con tomate(?) (if you say that, they’ll know) was my favorite here. You can order that dish anywhere in Barcelona, similar to patatas bravas. I really recommend you make time to go here.
Tapas Tapas: Our hotel was LITERALLY right next to this super chainy, super budget friendly “tapas” restaurant. It’s so touristy, like it felt so touristy TOURist tourIST tour-ist tour to the ist. With that said, we were tourists and felt like we needed to at least try it because it was our neighbor. The food was actually fine. Lol. That’s all.
Tapas 24: Also apparently very touristy, but also just really good, so I highly recommend. The Bikini (? the little paninis) and Russian Salad were my favorites. We also stopped by here to get a Barcelona classic of olives and Vermouth. The vermouth tasted a bit like medicine, but I don’t know if that’s what the drink was supposed to taste like, or if you could take the time to find somewhere with better vermouth. But go here for the food. Here and Mosquito are the only two places we revisited.
Mercado de la Boqueria: A market with tons of food and ingredients. I almost wish we had one more day to eat all day at one of these markets. I recommend a meat/salami/jamon/cheese bouquet, as pictured below. There are also a few more less touristy markets throughout the city. Worth a day or some time there, for sure.
Parc Guell: A beautiful outdoor park, by none other than the gem of Barcelona, Antoni Gaudi. He is one of my favorite artists/architects. If you go to Parc Guell, there is a private space, but a public right outside of it. Go to the public part, if you have the time, because it’s a nice walk and it’s far less crowded. With that said, find the original entrance you entered at, otherwise, you’ll never find a taxi, and you’ll have to wait hours or walk miles. Did that happen to us? Maybe.
Tips – Buy a ticket a day before you go. Times run out quickly, and it’s more convenient than waiting in line on the day of.
Sagrada Familia: You may have been to one two many cathedrals while traveling Europe, but this is by far the most beautiful, breathtaking cathedral in the world, in my most humble opinion. Posting this one picture but letting you experience the inside for yourself! Fun fact – each door represents a holy character. I recommend getting an audio set!
Sangria (Anywhere): Alcohol is so cheap in Barcelona, but the best beverage is by far the sangria. Go to any café, bar, or restaurant and order a pitcher. And I beg of you, don’t count calories.
And most importantly, just walk around. Don’t jam pack each of your days with a schedule. At most, choose one thing to look at, do, or eat a day, and let Barcelona show you the rest. The whole time I was there, I felt like my schedule and my life were my own. This city is meant to be experienced with a breath in between each sleep and each step. Take the time to look up at the sky, the colorful laundry hanging from the tanned balconies, and let the scent of the sea and the hidden alleys guide you through.