I’ve got to be honest – after such an incredible week in Italy (catch up with recap one and two) and knowing our trip was ending in Paris, I was originally feeling a bit bleh about going to Barcelona. I knew very little about the city and just didn’t think it sounded as exciting as our other destinations. But as soon as we arrived, I realized I was completely wrong. Barcelona turned out to be one of my favorite cities, and somewhere I cannot wait to visit again.
What I loved about Barcelona wasn’t the sights or activities or even the food (even though those things were all great) – it was the people and overall vibe of the city. Sydney put it perfectly by saying it reminded her of California meets NYC. Everyone is laid back and so friendly, but there’s still a bit of that metropolitan aspect too.
We spent most of our time in and around the Gothic Quarter, El Raval, and El Born. Pretty much every day we just wandered around for hours, which is my favorite thing to do when visiting new cities (and even in New York, actually). We also lucked out by visiting during the Merce Festival, so every day we stumbled upon fun performances throughout different parts of the city. I also loved how so much of Barcelona was pedestrian-friendly, with many streets shutting down on weekends for people to walk in.
In Barcelona we stayed at H10 Cubik, which was another great hotel experience. It was extremely modern and trendy, with toys (yes, toys) as decorations, candy everywhere, and books upon books. Also something strange to note is that I loved was that the lobby smelled amazing – I loved walking in and out of there every day!
I also loved our room. It was very new, clean, and well-decorated. We had a terrace again, which was actually quite large!
The service was also great. The hotel employees were extremely attentive and helpful with all of our requests. They also give you tickets for complimentary drinks at the rooftop bar + restaurant. If you’re visiting Barcelona I’d definitely recommend H10.
Of course you can’t go to Spain without enjoying tapas! We did just that two nights in a row at Sensi Mezzanine and Sensi Tapas, located right next to each other in downtown Barcelona.
Both restaurants are non-traditional when it comes to tapas, offering a sit-down meal of small plates (which is normal in the States, but in Spain tapas are typically served more buffet-style).
At Sensi Mezzanine we were served the restaurant’s top picks, and each dish more was delicious than the last.
Scampi with panko, cilantro yogurt sauce and citronella oil:
Tiraditos style octopus “Nikkei” with crispy potatoes:
Sea bass fillet Brazil (coconut milk, palm oil with garlic and ginger):
Tempura zucchini with fresh goat cheese mousse:
Catalan cocotte with potatoes, sausage and melted cheese perol:
Beef tenderloin with chimichurri sauce, confit potatoes and jalapeno peppers:
Beet Risotto with mascarpone and crispy beet:
Chocolate Molten Cake and Tiramisu:
Although they were all delicious, favorite dishes from Sensi Mezzanine were the Scampi Sea Bass, Zucchini Tempura, and Tiramisu (which was surprisingly better than some of the Tiramisu I had in Italy, ha!).
Unfortunately my photos from Sensi Tapas disappeared along with my phone (which was stolen at a club), but the dishes were just as incredible. The menus at both places are very similar, but different enough to visit and enjoy both experiences.
My favorite dishes at Sensi Tapas were:
Iberian chorizo croquettes with red aioli
Burrata with three textures tomato
Duck confit pie with parmesan potatoes
Dulce De Leche Cheesecake
Amidst all of the decadent food we had been enjoying during our trip, Sydney and I were both craving vegetables like no one’s business. Enter: Flax and Kale, which we ended up visiting every single day for lunch/brunch during our time in Barcelona.
Let’s just say it would be my DREAM for a Flax and Kale to open in New York City. It’s no secret that I love me some healthy food, and Flax and Kale pretty much nailed everything I love. They tout themselves as a “Flexitarian” restaurant with various vegan, gluten-free, and even Paleo options. There’s something for everyone! And every single thing we tried was delicious. Over the course of 3 days we had (my favorites in bold):
- superbowl salad
- crunchy tacos
- veggie tacos
- paleo bread
- carrot avocado salad
- savory pancakes
- avocado toast
Since we were like, so healthy at Flax and Kale, we treated ourselves (twice) to dessert at Chok. Cronuts, cookies, and white chocolate-covered cookie sandwiches – let’s just say my sweet tooth was most certainly satisfied in Barcelona.
On our last night we had a huge Mexican dinner at Tlaxcal with Sydney’s family friends who live in Barca. We enjoyed a huge taco spread, and they were some of the best I’ve ever had. Of course I lost ALL of those photos, but I had to include this place anyway since I loved it so much!
If you go to Tlaxcal definitely get their nachos, queso, and Al Pastor tacos.
Tlaxcal was also located near what turned out to be my favorite part of the city – El Born. I highly recommend making your way to El Born if you visit Barca – there were so many great restaurants and bars there. I wish we had spent more time there and will make sure to next time.
I’m actually pre-writing this post in the Barcelona airport, waiting for our (unfortunately delayed) flight to our next and final stop: PARIS. I can’t wait to share that final leg of the adventure with you soon!