Oh my goodness. After a summer of non-stop, round the clock work, I have never needed a vacation so much. I am saying this now, just after getting off my flight from a 10-day vacation in Barcelona — now one of my favorite cities in the world.
Earlier this year, it seemed like forever since I’d excitedly suffered from a case of wanderlust. The last time I traveled to another foreign country was January 2014, so the foreign country feels felt very foreign to me at this point. But luckily for me, my parents had one of those “life is too short moments” back in February, and we decided to book a vacation to a random destination. Barcelona was the choice we went with.
Maybe it was because Barcelona was such a spontaneous pick for a vacation and I was so busy I didn’t prepare a real itinerary, or because I just needed to GTFO out of the city for a bit, but I can’t stress enough how much I fell in love with this city! And the food. The food. Because you’re really here to hear about the food, I’ll go ahead and map out my meals for you. I must note, you may be alarmed at the amount of food. Don’t be alarmed, please be proud. Please also note that these photos are only iPhone quality because I promised myself I wouldn’t be working on this vacation. But I couldn’t help capturing every moment and I can’t help but write about it. This vacation truly reminded me exactly why I love working so much.
Now….the food. For the most part, dinner was the main event of our day, which usually consisted of sharing tons of tapas. When I say tons, I mean tons. At one point a waitress actually told us she was worried for us and we needed to order less. Anyway, we stayed at Hotel Arts and were fortunate enough to get complimentary breakfast every morning (we would eat around 10:30 AM…they like to sleep in in Barcelona) so that held us over for a while. Next, we would have a light tapa in the afternoon to fill us up until we ate our much heavier dinner around 8:30PM (which let me note, is very early in Catalan culture). We were always first to the restaurant. These restaurants I’m listing out are dinner spots for the most part and I’m listing them in chronological order from our first to last meal. Enjoy!
This was our first dinner in Barca. I loved this place because it was laid back (their slogan is literally “fuck your diet”) and the food was high quality but not over the top fancy shmancy. It was a great dive right into Catalan cuisine with a menu full of the essentials: tomato bread (literally served at every restaurant and should be here in the U.S.), croquettes, pork, seafood, steak tartare and the lovely cannelloni noodle which I noticed is available at almost every Barcelona restaurant.
Not gonna lie to you…I had one too many sangrias before this dinner and my memory is a bit hazy. I’m not proud of this but I’m also not not proud. From what I remember, I have two notes: the stracciatella di bufala was a standout and the foie gras “Pop-Tarts” were a let down. The rest of the dishes were great. I’ve included a few photos in the slideshow, excluding the foie gras Pop-Tarts because I do not think they deserve to be here. The wine I consumed was fantastic, although probably unnecessary.
This is supposed to be the super star michelin restaurant of the bunch, but honestly it was my least favorite of the trip. We opted for the tasting menu with wine pairing, which was unfortunately not the best choice as the wines were mostly white and didn’t seem to have much depth. There are 3 things I’m not a huge fan of: olives, smoky smoky foods and tiny tiny tiny portions. Cinc Sentits is a huge fan of all 3. Don’t get me wrong here, the food wasn’t bad. Most of the dishes were good. The standouts were the squab, foie gras and scallop. When I say scallop, I mean one scallop. I think overall, as this meal progressed the dishes became more impressive. I didn’t photograph every dish because goodness golly gee we had a lot, but here is a good amount of what we ate. There is also a photo of the entire menu at the end if you want to know everything we consumed.
All I can say about this place is hooooooly LOBSTER. You literally walk into this huge boat-themed restaurant with waiters in Captain’s outfits…you sit down…and then the waiter comes up to you with 2 gigantic lobsters. He literally brings out the dancing lobsters. If you’re an American tourist, there’s a 95% chance you fall into this trap and end up ordering the biggest lobsters on the menu. We did that. This place is good if you want something different than tapas and you love seafood. If you don’t order seafood here it’s like you’re committing a sin.
This place is super interesting. The restaurant is named after the 2254 kilometers between Barcelona and Palermo — the lengthy journey Chef Nuncio Cona took that inspired his restaurant. Catalan, Italian, French and Mediterranean cuisine all come together in this diverse and delicious menu. The steak tartare and tagliatelle here are must-haves.
This is the restaurant where the waitress was worried for us because we ordered so much. Once again, everything here was great. The Iberica pork shoulder was the most surprising item on the menu. It was the most steak-like pork I’ve ever had. Still can’t wrap my head around it.
This was my favorite restaurant of the trip. Every dish was impeccable, the atmosphere was beautiful, the service was great and the menu was creative. A+++++.
This was our final meal in Barcelona and it was a great one. This restaurant has been around for over 100 years. They must be doing something right. The chef came out to speak to us upon our arrival and although he didn’t speak much English, you could tell he genuinely cared about his restaurant. He wanted us to have a great meal and we did. The only thing that was off about this meal was the ambiance of the restaurant. We ate in a large brightly lit room, with no music. It felt very quiet and my family is very loud. But once we started eating it loosened up. I must note if you’re an adventurous eater, Restaurant Gaig is a great place to indulge. We ate veal brain and sweetbreads amongst many other dishes that were all prepared to perfection. I forgot to photograph half of them, but please see the grand finale below. It was a great final meal to our trip.
And that’s the story of how I ate Barcelona and it exists no longer.