One day in Barcelona: Eating your way through the city

We touched-down in Barcelona on a day that wasn’t sure if it was going to be sunny or cloudy – but one look at the bi-polar sky, the Gaudi-strewn streets and the air of easy nonchalance, we were sure we’d love the city.

And with burgers for brunch, mini-sandwiches for lunch, gelato for a snack and sit-down meals (Asian to Spanish) for dinner – Barcelona is a virtual potpourri of cultures. If all you have is 24 hours in the city, we show you how to make the most of gourmet offerings. Join us on a cross-city culinary chase.

Marmalade, las Ramblas

While their Bloody Mary is simply rumoured to be the best in town, we can vouch for it. The ideal companion to a brunch that’s heavy on the calories and the cheer, head down to the cool, chic restaurant and cocktail bar for your first meal in Barcelona – choose from the succulent hamburgers or classic breakfast offerings (eggs, bagels, pancakes). If you’re looking to end your evening here, we suggest you try the sangria, pair it with the delectable fully loaded nachos (that we couldn’t stop eating) – and that incredible ramen burger. Ah, Barcelona! Marmaladebarcelona.com

Txapela, Passeig de Gracia

Passeig De Gracia, one of the most luxe streets in the city is home to an array of designer stores and restaurants – if you’re tired from all the walking through Barcelona city, Txapela is the place for you. Described as an authentic Basque tavern, we prefer the outdoor seating so you can make the most of the summer (or winter) sun and settle down to choose from their extensive range of pintxos (small snacks, of which they have 51 on the menu).  Think everything from mini baguettes filled with salmon to fried eggs and Iberian ham ensconsced between the softest bread. We tried at least 15 of the 51, and we’re definitely going back for more. For breakfast fiends, they have a menu that includes donuts, croissants and mini sandwiches, naturally. Txapelarestaurant.com

Restaurante Nuria, las Ramblas

If you’re hankering for a dose of authentic tapas in the midst of the frenetic las Ramblas of Barcelona, head down to Nuria – which dates back to 1926. Set in quirky, cheery interiors, the well-lit space is perfect for a glass of wine and range of tapas.  On Nuria’s side is its ace location and quick service – topping our list were the fried calamari and assortment of sausages. The Paella is super fishy and only meant for those who have developed a taste for the deep and lasting intense flavour. Nuria.com

Santagustina, El Born

Set in Barcelona’s beautiful El Born district, we headed down here for a few drinks – and ended up staying for tapas and dinner. The bartender’s friendly wine advice and great selection of cheese, coupled with the relaxed environment and moody music were the key factors – set in quaint, kind of rustic interiors, we loved the friendly vibe (even if the tables were a little too close together) and service. All in all, leaving us with an intimate, fun experience. And wine connoisseurs, you’re going to have plenty to choose from – making this the perfect place to while away a boozy evening at. Santagustina.es

Bananas, El Born

Specialists in “international cuisine with orientalized touch” , the offerings at Bananas restaurant in the heart of El Born are global and yet fusion. The fried duck wontons were the best we’ve ever tasted and the Nasi Goreng could give any Indonesian restaurant a run for its money – the Desperado on offer didn’t hurt either. Bananas-barcelona.com

Gelato, Italiano, In Espana

If you can’t quite make it to your Italian sojourn, worry not – you can satiate your gelato cravings at any of Italian chain Amorino’s many outlets in Barcelona. The fact that you can mix more than two flavours (we pick Belgian chocolate and dulce de leche) that are then decorated adorably into a rose flower – makes this ice-cream adventure more an experience that just a snack. Perfect mid-morning, mid-afternoon or midnight snack if you ask us. Amorino.com

 

 

 

The Bachelorette of your dreams awaits – in Spain

Should we go to the Maldives? No, Greece obviously. Have you not watched and fallen in love with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? The most exciting part about getting married is the bachelorette— at least that’s what I was basically living for, maybe even a wee bit more than the actual wedding. With my entourage all packed and ready to rumble, the girlies I’ve known since the time we were no taller than smurfs, were obviously my fellow travellers. We did and still do everything together and share a bond not even of sisters, instead we’re more like enhanced extensions of ourselves— so spending a few days away with them before bridezilla mode kicked in was just what I needed. What attracted us to Spain? Candy, naturally – the food, sweet and men kind. Spain is a visual treat, right from its distinctive architecture to the endless sandy beaches to the banging beach clubs.

Here’s a little hint (just a hint, we aim to keep this blog PG) in to all the stuff we managed to cram in to 10 days in Barcelona and Ibiza and why Spain is a perfect bachelorette location.

  1. Cheers to the weekend and every other day when on holiday:

So if you’re agenda is bachelorette, then fight the lag and get down to business. Barcelona is vibrant in all forms and within a few hours the city manages to consume you and all you can do is let go and enjoy (a lot of) Sangria and tapas at a street side café. One of the highlights of this trip was the pub crawl we signed up for at our hostel. Pub crawls are common all around Barcelona and we highly recommend this as it is a great way to meet people and exchange (more than just pg) notes. Also, they’re highly cost effective and guarantee a happy high at the end of the night. Not to mention a hangover and the chance to meet some seriously cool people.

  1. Take a guided tour across the city:

Important note: Do not do attempt the bar crawl before the city tour unless no hangovers are a superpower.

A guided city tour is a great idea one which can be easily arranged by your hotel/hostel. Our tour guide was a young enthusiastic Psych student who made us walk over 7km across the city, explaining the history behind the gorgeous buildings. Highlights include meandering through then narrow streets of the Gothic Quarters gazing at the neo-gothic architecture of the La Seu cathedral or the Santa Maria del Pi church while your guide enthusiastically communicates legends of the history behind these striking structures. Bring coffee.

  1. Oh my Gaudi:

What’s Barcelona without Gaudi? Anyone that appreciates beauty will agree that Antoni Gaudi, one of the most distinctive architects in the world has left behind masterpieces in Barcelona. The Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo will leave you spellbound while Park Guell will take you to a mystical place leaving you captivated by the artist’s creativity and attention to detail. We recommend you find a quiet spot in the park, whip that book out and bask in the Spanish sun, with a little sangria, or churros. After all, you’ll need some rest before the next wild night out.

  1. Eat, shop, eat, drink, eat, drink:

Holidaying makes you hungry. It’s (probably) a proven fact.  However, when you’re not gorging on tapas and Paella, you will find that Barcelona has some thrifty shopping that can make you buy a new suitcase just because you’ve over shopped and can’t fit anything anymore (true story). The popular stores include Zara, Bershka, H&M, Mango, Pull & Bear, Caramelo, Desigual, Massimo Dutti and numerous other brands we couldn’t pronounce and afford. What do you do once you’ve shopped a fair bit? Eat! Barcelona has cafes lined along the streets and they’re all amazing! A few worthy places we might have inhaled the food at are Cerveseria Catalana, Bananas and Marmalade.  Once you’ve made it through the day, head to the tree-lined streets of El Borne district to nibble on tapas or sip on some champagne at any of the quaint bars. This fashionable yet authentic district is safe, affordable and welcomes you with smiling faces and countless matchbox sized bars enough for you to enjoy an entertaining night out with your friends. (including those who break into 80s Bollywood songs, at 12am in Barcelona – traumatising / entertaining other humans)

  1. We’re going to Ibiza:

We played good children in Barcelona (wink wink) and soon it was time to head to Ibiza. Ibiza is the perfect island to let loose and celebrate yourself. While partying may be a way of life here, we found a way to strike a perfect balance between letting loose and exploring the natural beauty of this wild-child island. A great way to do this is to pick a good accommodation, close to the party strip yet not too far from the rest of the island. Although we stayed on the busiest strip of the island (Playa d’en Bossa), our apartment was quiet, spacious and just what we needed (Ebano Select Apartments). Mornings in Ibiza are best spent walking over to “Passion” to grab a smoothie and gorging on some healthy breakfast treats before spending the day sun bathing and exploring. While many might call Playa d’en Bossa commercialised, noisy and filled with drunken party goers, we found it to be perfect in terms of the safety of women travellers as the streets were always swarming with people and cars. The beach despite being crowded emits a fantastic vibe with happy faces always ready to help out.

  1. We’re back to eating and partying:

Well you’ve made it to Ibiza, it would be a criminal waste if you didn’t party until dawn. It’s very simple— begin your day by nursing your hangover from the previous night, then head over to a Yacht party after which you attend a pre-gaming party at Sankey’s or wherever the hell they’re offering cheap booze. Once you’re fairly intoxicated but can still stand on your matchstick-like legs, head over to the main event of the night usually being held at Ushuaia, Space, Amnesia or Pacha and party like there’s no tomorrow. Party, pass out, wake, repeat.

  1. Call it magic:

We found our highlight of this holiday and it’s called Sunset Ashram at Cala Conta. This picturesque spot is quietly tucked away from the hustle of Ibiza and surrounded by endless ocean views and cliff drops. As the name suggest it’s a hipsters paradise so feel free to laze on a cushion whilst sipping on some Sangria all while taking in the breathtaking view this gem has to offer. Alternatively you can head down to the tiny beach area to roast in the sun which makes it a perfect spot for reading a book, plugging in those headphones or simply meditating. The staff is kind and food is beyond delicious with ample variety to suit every pallet. P.S – Don’t miss the sunsets they rank No. 2 on our modest list.

Location – Barcelona and Ibiza

Famous for/as: Shopping, sunsets, architecture, Sangria and Paella

Route: Flight from Mumbai to Barcelona and domestic flight from Barcelona to Ibiza

Best Season: July – August – September

 

 

 

 

 

We love Casa Gracia – and here’s why you will too

Churros for breakfast, croissants for a sultry mid-afternoon snack, cigarette stores down the road to satiate persistent cravings and a complete shopping extravaganza just a walk away – not to mention chocolate and cherry gelatos in lieu of boring coffee breaks. When you’re based out of Casa Gracia, Barcelona, there are many ways to indulge – or just kick back and enjoy the free-spirited, harmonious vibe of the Spanish city.