We’re now four (yes, four!) weeks into our 6 month stint in Europe, and I’m currently tapping away on my keyboard from our little Airbnb apartment in Lisbon, Portugal (more on this fabulous city coming to the blog soon).
Barcelona was a dream: the weather was perfect, the people were fabulous and we spent our days exploring sites, sipping cava and rosé and dining on tapas.
We stayed in Raval in this Airbnb apartment and it was perfect for what we needed. Raval is a little grittier than other areas like El Born, which is what we prefer and we walked everywhere from our base. And now on to the most important part of this fabulous city– eating and drinking!
SEE ALSO: Tips to Ensure Your First Airbnb Stay is Flawless
Below are my top picks for filling your belly on your next stay. Did I miss something that you loved on your travels? Pop your tips in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
Carrer del Parlament, 39, 08015 Barcelona
Ok, so the food here isn’t traditional Spanish, but sometimes a gal needs a really good latte and avocado on toast to set her up for the day. The team behind Federal have 2 locations in Barcelona (and one in Madrid), and this one was the closest to our Airbnb apartment.
Palo Alto Markets
Carrer dels Pellaires, 30, 08019 Barcelona
If I could design my dream markets it would be Palo Alto. The market is split into series of sections: there’s street food stalls (imagine gorgeous vintage caravans and food trucks selling everything from grilled octopus to burgers to jars of humus with crudités); designer concept galleries displaying work from local designers; bars (who doesn’t enjoy a little rosé in the sun?) plus there’s plenty of live music, street art, coffee and juice stalls, a hipster barber and even a beauty bar for the ladies to have their tresses tamed.
The markets are on the first weekend of every month, and are very popular. I’d advise heading there early (doors open at 11am and we were there from about 1pm) otherwise there could be a long queue. The markets are open until 11pm on Saturday and 9pm Sunday and you can very easily spend a few hours there.
Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 Barcelona
After visiting the Picasso Museum (a must) walk only a few meters to El Xampanyet: a busy little restaurant serving traditional tapas. Get into the Spanish spirit by perching yourself at the bar, sipping on a vermouth (or their house cava) and simply ordering your food by pointing at the stunning tapas displayed on the bar top. Everything is absolutely delicious, especially the tortilla (potato omelette), crisp bread wrapped in jamón lardo and the ceviche.
There’s also a menu for hot dishes from the kitchen, and both the calamari and the potato with egg and chorizo were divine.
There is also a limited number of tables if you’d prefer to sit and order from the menu. Lunch only.
Paradiso Cocktail Bar
Carrer de Rera Palau, 4, 08003 Barcelona
I love a hidden bar, and this high-end, molecular cocktail bar can only be accessed through a secret doorway disguised as a refrigerator in Pastrami Bar. What waits on the other side is a team of bartenders serving up excellent cocktails in a strew of crazy vessels– from treasure chests to glass pipes and a whole lot more.
The best seat in the house is at the bar where you can watch the bartenders whip up their imaginative concoctions. Best of all, you can order a pastrami sandwich from next door to enjoy with your drink.
If you’re in the mood for a great, classically Spanish meal after your cocktails head across the lane to Cal Pep. There’s almost always a line, but the food is delicious (their tortilla is my favourite of the trip, and I’ve eaten a lot!) and the staff have that wonderful old-school hospitality charm.
Boca Chica (and Boca Grande)
Passatge de la Concepció, 12, 08008 Barcelona
This multi-level bar/restaurant feels straight out of Manhattan. The interior is very impressive, the cocktails are spectacular and they have what must be the most Instagrammed bathrooms in Barcelona (also keep and eye out for the DJ and photo booth). It’s definitely a lavish night out, and if you’re wanting to dine I’d highly recommend making a reservation in advance.