Where to see, eat, shop and walk in Barcelona, plus tips, tricks and links to help you navigate this inspiring city
By Sara Utsugi
This past weekend, my best friend who I’ve known since Kindergarten and I went to Barcelona, Spain. We both hadn’t been before, and we definitely fell in love with the city and all it has to offer. This article is my version of a guide-book to our weekend there including:
Sites We Visited
Gaudi House Museum
Where We Ate
Brunch and Cake
I was told by everyone who has ever been to Barcelona that I must go to Brunch and Cake being that it’s one of the few good brunch places in Barcelona. We went on a Sunday morning at around 11, and while there was a crowd, we were sat immediately on one of the outside window seats. Danielle ordered the lox bagel, and I ordered their “french toast” and a cafe con leche. Danielle’s bagel was good (I snuck a few bites), but it wasn’t my favorite bagel I’ve ever had. My “french toast” is in quotation marks because it was not my American idea of french toast. Instead, it tasted like cornbread or cake with sweet potato fries under it and walnuts on top. Overall, I think the food was just okay, however the cafe con leche has been one of my favorites. Maybe it was what we ordered, but I was underwhelmed.
Spanish-Chinese fusion dim sum
Cost: €€ lower
I had high expectations for this restaurant since it had high ratings, decent prices and yummy-looking pictures on Yelp. While the restaurant didn’t necessarily meet my expectations, the food was definitely still good. At Mosquito, you can either put your name in for a table, or you can sit down at the bar whenever a seat opens up. We ordered the pork guotie, beef shuijiao, dumpling noodle soup and a strawberry mochi. What we wished we’d known was that the dumplings in the noodle soup and the shuijiao are the same thing, so we ended up with 12 of the exact same dumpling...oh well! The pork guotie were excellent (probably my favorite thing), and the noodle soup reminded me of pho. The strawberry mochi was refreshing and surprisingly large--a great way to end our meal. If you’re craving asian food and in the area, I would suggest trying out Mosquito.
Spanish restaurant, make reservations
Cost: €€ upper
This was our splurge meal (not that we can afford that, but whatever) in Barcelona. Danielle wanted to try two things in Spain: tapas and paella, so this was where we decided to get paella. This is a restaurant (rather than a bar or gastropub), so I would suggest making a reservation online. We ordered bread, tacos, the seafood paella, and sangria...yum! Note that in Spain, most of the bread you get IS NOT FREE, but the bread here was definitely worth the euro it cost. It came with a tube of green olive oil that was super bold in flavor, and the bread was good to help scrape the paella dish clean. We each ordered a glass of sangria, and it was so pretty, however taste-wise, it hasn’t been my favorite. The tacos were recommended to us by the waitress, and they did not disappoint. They were super tasty, filling and actually had a little kick to it (surprising since Spaniards aren’t fond of spice). And finally, the paella came out. It had had shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari in it, making it full of flavor. Overall, this was by far my favorite meal in Barcelona, and to top it off, they give you a free chupito (or shot) to end your meal!. Definitely check out Arume. It’s worth your money.
La Tasqueta de Blai
Self-Serve Tapas Bar
The tapas in Barcelona are very different and more expensive than the tapas in Sevilla, the city where I'm studying abroad. At first, I just thought it was this tapas bar, but as we continued to walk around, I noticed that every tapas bar served them the same way: self-serve, little tostadas with different meats, cheeses and combinations of every kind on top. The tapas in Barcelona weren't bad, but they also weren't good, and they definitely weren't hot. Because everything is self-serve, they're constantly putting out new tapas, however, a lot of tapas are sitting out and getting cold. The way La Tasqueta de Blai charges you is they put different colored tooth picks in differently priced tapas. Smaller tapas are 1 euro and bigger ones are 1.50. After a few tapas and a tinto de verano, my bill came out to 10 euros, so be sure to keep track of how much you're spending before the little charges add up. For me, none of the tapas bars we tried particularly stood out, but this one was fine, and because they're busy, the tapas are fresher.
Where to Shop & Walk
Arc de Triumf
The public transportation is Barcelona is quick, affordable and easy to navigate. To get from the airport, we took the Aerobus which only costs 5.90 euros one way or 10.20 for a round trip. Don’t be dumb like me and think that “return” means the ticket back to the airport. Find tickets here.
As for the metro system, Danielle found the multi-person 10-ride card for 10.20 euros that allows people to share the card for up to 10 rides. Through the weekend, we used 6 rides total, so don’t worry about going over. Find our ticket here.
Barcelona was an absolute dream. From the amazing architecture to it's rich history, I was constantly wowed by the city. Whether you're going for a weekend trip like us or staying for a while, I hope that these tips can help make your trip as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Danielle, thank you for an amazing trip! Love you mi amiga cheetah.
As always I'm wishing you the best from behind the screen.