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BCN: food

Tapas life and more. Let’s finally dive into this world of Catalan food.

Some data was gathered by me back in 2017, and even though I tried my best to check if all the places are still there and asked my local friends if they are still just as good as before, slight changes on the Bcn food scene from what I will describe here may have occurred. 

BRUNCH

The most important meal of the day for me. Even though I believe tapas are quite suitable for breakfast just as much as they are for dealing with evening craving, I still worship brunch in its classical understanding. So, top my avocado waffle with that poached egg!

  • Cafe Alsur. That’s a chain. All of the places are very cozy, with friendly stuff, air conditioner (not a must for cafes thing even in Bcn heat) and great ambient. I wrote most of my thesis there as well as got wasted at 11 am a few times, so it’s a place for any occasion; and their waffles are the best!
  • la Boqueria. A food market in the heart of Barcelona that attracts both locals and tourists with its choice of anything fresh, from juices to seafood delivered straight from fishermen. I love walking in early in the morning to grab a fresh juice and empanadas for breakfast on the beach.
  • Brunch&Cake. The most instagrammable brunch in Barcelona. Expect to wait quite long to be seated though. But if you want a perfect picture of your brunch, with the brightest mimosas and the fluffiest pancakes decorated by flowers and colorful sauces – that’s a place for you!
  • Federal Cafe. Even though hidden on a tiny square in the Gothic Quartet labyrinth, there are queues to be seated as well during brunch hours. I preferred to come in the afternoon for a brinner and enjoy all the same amazing egg dishes, toasts and coffee, but in a less crowded vibe. The place is very stylish but minimalistic. I love their tiny tables at the window seats. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
  • Lulu. Also a bit hidden from pedestrian streets most of tourists take, but quite popular, it’s a place with quite a small menu made mostly out of simple toasts, but they are delicious. And they have 1L sangria on cava, wohoooo!
  • Milk. Another popular place, which is no surprise. I’d recommend coming earlier. We came already at 9, and by 11 it was impossible to get a table. But it’s located on the street with a few other amazing brunch places, so you can always give it a try, and if not – you won’t have to look for something else long. Turkish eggs and Crab benedict are love! milk
  • Tropico. A more quiet place, nevertheless great breakfast choice, fresh juices and design. A famous map of the world where everyone takes pics is found there, for sure you’ve seen it once if checked Barcelona in instagram locations. Omelette with goat cheese and honey impressed me so much that I started making it at home. tropicoA few more places where I loved brunching but can’t find pics now:
  • Flax&kale. Also very instagrammable. For me was a bit too healthy, but vegans and those who would rather replace sauce hollandaise with a watermelon in the morning will love it.
  • Benedict is a famous place, that’s one of those on the same street with Milk. It recently opened a new location, Belliny. Same menu, 400% less crowded. Loved their variations of Benedict, just ham seems boring for me after seeing how much one can actually make out of it!
  • EatMyTrip was a tip from my local friend. The dishes are just soooo pretty! Definitely on my list for the next trip!
  • Caravelle. Old good brunch yet so new and different.

TAPAS

I will be honest, I am not a fan of Spanish cuisine. I prefer my seafood completely raw, which is not a Spanish way, and my bread basket containing at least 6 kinds of breads, which is definitely not a Spanish way. And tapas excite me only if they are REALLY unique. So you can be sure that those will blow your mind, because I’ve tried a lot.

  • Bormuth. Located on my favourite street in el Born, it’s quite a typical tapas place. But they are just so delicious there! Croquets, tartare toasts, patatas bravas with an egg on top, jamón on a warm plate…I even ate the russian salad there! And never have I ever though I’d be amazed by meatballs. Sorry USA fellas, but the American way made ones gross me out. bormuth
  • Cañete. Just the freaking best tapas place in the world. All said.

     

  • 9 Granados. More chic, but still fits within tapas culture with its menu to share. Delicious! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
  • El Quim. And we are back on the Boqueria market. Who said it’s only bites to go and juices there? You find soooo many proper haute cuisine, just in a market stand format, that I am pretty sure I haven’t even tasted the best things there yet. But this one place had such attractive smell that I even ate fried fish there which I normally dislike.

     

  • Honest greens. A new place in town that already won people’s hearts with it’s smart concept of building up bowls and salads from whatever you want, but if that whatever includes raw tuna, shitake and all the freshest greens – I’m in! Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

SEAFOOD

What would be a trip to Barcelona without the best seafood? Don’t go for it anywhere, it is just as likely to be frozen as it is in the city far away from the coast. Sitges where we used to go on a holiday with family has much better fish and seafood to offer than Barcelona, however surprising that may seem. But there are great fish restaurants in Bcn as well, just make sure you know where to go.

  • Can Fisher. Fresh. What else is there to say? Amazing view to the sea itself, too. Far from the city center, which is often great for a fine dining experience. Ironically, I only have starters that include meat captured in a picture. The seabass in salt was so huge that couldn’t fir in one. I guess. So you’ll have to believe me on that one.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
  • Mordisco. Seafood classics as well as dishes like squid ink risotto. Charming room with a glass ceiling. You can take me on a date there!
  • Xemei. This place won my heart. I’d say it’s the best dinner I ever had in Barcelona, not counting pizza from Frankie Gallo maybe. It’s not a seafood restaurant but a Venetian cuisine one. Great when you can’t see tapas anymore 😉 It has the best seafood pasta though! Their menu has meat choices, too. The place itself is so special that it’s worth going there if you don’t care about the size of clams in your plate.

    A dinner bonus for those who don’t eat fish. The best meat restaurant in town – Buenos Aires. This steak will make you go crazy!

BARS

Here we are on my favourite page of gastronomy. The bars. No, THE bars.

  • Creps al Born. My number one place in Barcelona. Great cocktails, cool staff and amazing vibe of the bar adds up to a bonus of great sweet and savoury crepes they make there. I would totally include this place in my brunch list as a Sunday hangover must-do (on other days it opens at 6 pm, so use your chance for a proper Sunday funday!)
  • Numeronueve. Located just around the corner from Creps al Born, a classical bar with original cocktails menu, cozy corners for dates and a wide bar for those who wanna chat with a cure barkeeper. You get to dance there a lot as well. It was one of my first bars in Bcn where I went with Dasha already 6-7 years ago, so I love it tenderly. numero 9
  • Boca Chica. A fancy beautiful bar. Everything there is just iconically beautiful, from bathroom mirrors to coasters. Make sure to dress up a bit. It’s so different from typical Bcn bars where anyone can come in shorts that this contrast brings you to a royal feeling. Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
  • Pulitzer Hotel rooftop. A great daydrinking place, too. Almost always has a DJ, crowded but with a cool crowd, not with tourists who walked in from the beach still in their flip flops.
  • Ocaña. Located in the centre of Bcn tourism, you would never expect it to be so special.Just walk inside, go downstairs to a speakeasy bar Apotheke, take beautoful stairs up to observe an amazing Mexican restaurant. Sit on the terrace to feel this energy of the city – it’s so concentrated in Plaça Reial!

Presumably me and Dani saw each other for the first time in Ocaña, when he was managing it and I was visiting Barcelona, before we actually met again in Vienna 3 years later. So this is a special place foe me not only because of their delicious octopus and silky cocktails.

  • Mr Robinson. A bar where you can brunch as well. Not sure what makes it so attractive to me, a cute menu styled as a journey around the world book, wooden bar or suitcases, but I really like it there.
  • Bar Brutal. The coolest wine bar I’ve seen.Processed with VSCO with g3 presetAhhh can’t believe I FINALLY managed to share my favourite places in one of my favourite city! No idea why it was so hard in the past 3 years to finalise this post! Maybe one day I’ll even write about Hong Kong! Anyways, eat, drink, love, travel to Barcelona! I definitely will soon again!


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BCN’19

5EB73EA4-D97E-435E-946F-1AEE62BD89CABarcelona! Even the sound of this name drags the happiest moments out of my memory. I spent my happiest sunny days in that loud, fast and crazy city. From going to Port Aventura first time when I was 12 to actually living in Barcelona as a local in 2017, I have seen so many sides of it, including fixing air conditioner myself and being robbed or caught in a terrorist attack, yet I love it with all my heart and will always be coming back.

Two year break was longer than I could expect when left it last time. But maybe it was needed in order to see it again with fresh eye and appreciate even more. I was happy to bring along Anfisa who had never been there and enjoy the tourist stuff together with the local hidden places from my own experience and from tips that local friends always share.

Walks from el Raval to el Born through the Gothic Quarter, eating hangover crepes at Creps al Born, finding the most stylish tiny boutiques when getting lost in chaotic streets pattern, grabbing empanadas on Boqueria mercat when on the way to Barceloneta for a swim and a lemonade at Surf House – I swear I started crying few times from all the emotions and flashbacks those three days gave me.

But in fact, the first reason for our trip was visiting Sónar Festival.

I must admit the lineup was not as amazing as one could expect on a festival of such scale, and sound quality was suffering a few times at the venue of Sonar by Night. But it was nevertheless a great party, and we were happy we didn’t expect too much and definitely weren’t frustrated. Our main focus was still Barcelona itself. I can’t describe the beauty and energy of it – you have to experience it yourself! I can, however, describe my favourite thing, the food, which I will FINALLY do in the next post, together with all the previous tips I gathered in the past years. One new place to see was Casa Vicens – one of the first Gaudi masterpieces. It opened for visitors in 2017 and I am more than glad we made it there! It’s so much more worthy to see in comparison with the other venues that are flooded with tourists since years and lost their charm already. If you are in Bcn any time soon – make sure to visit it before the world knows about it 😉

My summer in Bcn in 2017 was so intense that I never kept on writing any posts that I was planning (I really tried). The emotions are still with me, but let me leave some memories from the best summer ever here ❤

Bcn, 2017:

See you soon again, hottie!


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Mallorca

4D6DDEFD-6929-4893-8B5C-E3ACC36F06E1Hola, Mallorca!

This year my Easter getaway surprisingly didn’t bring me to Portugal again, but back to Mallorca, where I haven’t been since 5-6 years. In fact, it was the first time I saw Palma in daylight. My previous visits started in lines to Pacha and Tito’s and ended on a kebab search mission mostly either still before the sun was up or after I could process the information from my eyes to the brain. So, that was quite a new experience.

Mallorca is great. Is it a great party place? Yes! Would I go to the famous clubs being 26? Nahh. But, again, because I already had all of this when I was 18 and Avicii was still alive. This time it was meant to be about bars, especially taking into consideration that I was with Dani the Barprofi there.

  • Bar Abaco is a place to see. Insanely beautiful. It is something in between Garden of Eden and a place of ancient Greek worship. Never seen decorations this crazy and at the same time harmonised. The drinks quality, unfortunately, as it most always is in such iconic places that attract crowds anyways, very average.
  • Botanic De Can Bordoy wasn’t on my list, we were just walking a tiny street and a beautiful inner yard caught our eye. The sweetest little garden looked something like those hotels on Garda lake. The staff wasn’t interested in a young couple wearing jeans, crowding solely around older guests who looked more representative – an unforgivable mistake for a good place, in my opinion, because you really NEVER know who might be in front of you. But we enjoyed the time in this beautiful and very quiet for the center of a capital city location.
  • Bar Central is a complete opposite: terrace on a pavement of the loudest avenues, tourist crowds passing by, noise and rush concentrated around this oasis of chilling and slowing life down. I love how the southern folks do that thing. Mallorca Delicatessen of Mateu Pons next to the Bar is definitely a shop to visit for typical Catalan souvenirs: jamón, jams, wines and cheeses.
  • Bar Cafe Coto is very bright, Argentinian style, with tiny wobbly tables, great sangrias and pink houses around on beautiful Plaça de la Drassana. It’s cozy both daytime and at night. The colors there saved our mood once we got a rainy day.
  • Ombu is a place that was recommended to me by most of my friends who had visited Mallorca. It’s touristy, but indeed good so to say haute cuisine of tapas.
  • Ca’n Toni – this is where tapas hit the new level. I am no big fan of Spanish cuisine in general and it tires me very fast. This place we found on our last but one evening,  but the line waiting to be seated was so enormous that we only had some wine standing there. So we came back on our last night in Palma – and it was worth it!
  • WhyNot is the smallest bar I’ve ever seen. 8 chairs and the bar – that’s it. Very cute, intimate but not boring thanks to its owner aka bartender always being there and hosting people with his heart and soul. Good drinks and creative and personalised (obviously, in such a tiny place) approach.
  • Brassclub was recommended to us by the owner of WhyNot. It’s a less traditional and more commercial bar, but with great design and classical approach to drinks. A place to visit if you want no sangria but a proper gin tonic.
  • More of the dude’s recommendations are: Door 13, Ginbo, Clandestino, El Neo & Nicolas 
  • Santina is a place for brunches in a non-spanish understanding. For those who can’t replace avocado breads with tortillas.

Palma is great, but the island is so much more. The capital is the best off-season, but for beaches you’d have to explore Mallorca a bit further. Last time we lived in Magaluf – purely a party-resort with an ok beach. There are gorgeous bays like Port de Soller, Cala Deia, Puro Beach, Puerto Andratx, Cala Millor and many more. Even around Palma there are very nice beaches. Bugambilia is a charming hidden restaurant easy to access by public transport or even walking the coastline but impossible to come across unless you know about it. Valldemossa is another beautiful location hidden in the mountains that brings you back in time and just steals your heart away. I am quite sentimental about Mallorca compared to those posts from Pacha in 2013, huh?

Another thing I would definitely recommend doing in Mallorca is flying a hot air balloon.  I did that last time and was enthralled. So, don’t be lazy to get up early one day and see the beautiful island from above during sunrise.

Mallorca, thanks for kicking the summer 2019 off! Only summer views from my window airplane seat as of now! IMG_8163


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BCN’17: 7D

IMG_0462Whenever I travel somewhere for long enough time to have my camera on me, I usually come up with a major photopost that includes every pretty corner I spotted. However, Barcelona has always been such a place of interest for me, that I already have several galleries from the magical place. So, I will just leave some random shots and portraits of myself and my travel companions. I am sure, many more beautiful pictures from Barcelona are to come in my life!IMG_0541IMG_0515IMG_0436IMG_0614IMG_0624IMG_0661IMG_0693IMG_0694IMG_0704IMG_0734IMG_0797IMG_0820Miss you already, stunning place!


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BCN’17: upd

IMG_0460Hey hey! Summer is still here, I got another month of vacation and have a lot of plans ahead. But first, to catch up with Bcn.

It’s very hard to write anything on holidays. With two weeks I can manage to catch up afterwards, but 7 weeks is a tough cookie. I will do my best and at least drop some notes about where and what to eat in the area, but for now I only got half an hour between having submitted my thesis and meeting my girls for lunch. Yes, I’m in Vienna now. Unfortunately, I happened to be in the middle of the recent terrorist attack in Barcelona, so I left the city several days earlier than planned. But fortunately, I have an extra week in Vienna. I had never been here during summer holidays before and I’m actually enjoying it at the moment.

Anyways, away from sadness of recent horror in Catalunya which I can’t believe could have happened in such a beautiful bright place which is supposed to be the happiest place in Europe. My summer in Barcelona was amazing despite everything. The girls came to visit me, Jamila stayed for 2 weeks, then Ksenia came for another 3 weeks, so I didn’t have a single day when I was bored. Moreover, I needed a vacation from a vacation when my head touched the pillow as I landed in Vienna. Three full days in bed to get some rest after an amazing and super intense time were needed before I can start making memories of it. The pics and the stories will follow, of course!

Learning Spanish, eating everything and everywhere, having sangria for brunch, going to the sea, exploring hidden narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter and screaming like crazy in Port Aventura – that is what going to Spain means to me. It is by now most likely my second frequently visited country (after Italy, of course) and I never get tired of even doing the same things there. Barcelona is a very special city. Even in beloved Italy, I try to always go to different places. Spanish experience is Barcelona for me. Hope to see you soon, beautiful!


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BCN’17: Sitges

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetThis town means family time to me. Not much I wanna write here as those are quite personal and very happy moments for me. I am planning one big post about my favorite topic – food, food in Spain but especially in Costa Dorada and Costa Brava area. I’ve been collecting some pics and comments since last year trip, so something is gonna come at the end of my vacation this time. I want to include everything I discover in Barcelona as well, that’s why it’s pending.

Other than great food, the place offers typical for Spain sports and in general a lot to do: any hotel would provide you bikes for rent, for example. We are big tennis fans, so Sitges is our heaven. I love getting up early, going to the courts with dad, where everyone already knows and greets us. And now I practice some Spanish like that, too! Coming back to my favorite Melía hotel afterwards, when the breakfast has started, to drink ice cold champagne as the first thing that the body gets after having been sweating in tennis club. I would live a life like that! Wish I was born in a very hot country where tennis is a thing, really.

The beaches of Sitges are good, too. What’s a big bonus – one can get some quality tan being completely naked, as it is a rule there. Tanning topless is in general a normal thing anywhere in Spain, can’t even tell how much I appreciate that with all my hate towards stripes. Nobody is gonna stare at you, people go together with their kids to nude beaches and you just feel the freedom. Food, tennis, sea and freedom – what can be more of a heaven on Earth?


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BCN’17: intro

Hey hey! IMG_3917Just to clear up what I’ve been up to: I am currently in Barcelona, since a month. I am doing a language course, will definitely leave a feedback and tell everything about the school when I am done, which is gonna be in another month. Two months in Barcelona: what else can one dream of? When I finished my last course of Italian (except university classes), I was sure I was done with language schools for the summer. But last year in Cuba I almost accidentally started to learn Spanish. This brought me to the desire to learn another language, and I am quite into Spanish I admit. Even though nothing will ever replace Italian for me.

Anyways, I am here since a month; leaving Austria for the holidays this summer was the hardest ever, because, a little sneak-peak into my private life, I am now very happy and complete there. But comfort should never stop one from exploring further! I see no electricity in my Bcn apartment since 4 days as another great adventure. And, of course, am extremely grateful to my local friends with hot showers and sockets. Spain is a tricky one, yes. Jon Snow knew nothing yet when I was complaining about trains being cancelled due to a strike in Italy 3 years ago – that was a kindergarten of what mess can be. Love it.

First three weeks of my stay here I wasn’t exactly in Barcelona. My family and friends were staying in Sitges – the place we absolutely fell for last year. We tend to never come back to the same vacation destination, but that was an exception which worked out again. I was staying for the weekends at beloved Melía and coming to Sitges more or less every day during the week when I have courses to have breathtaking meals (yes, I find it ok to apply that adjective to food), endless night talks and to play tennis with dad. Will write a separate note about it, because Sitges is a place to be.

Barcelona was not boring for a single hour either! The fun is just to come, as Jamila arrived 2 days ago and we are expecting more and more people to join us 😉 When I arrived, Jane and Rustam were in Barcelona, which couldn’t be better timing! Food, cava, Rustam’s head spinning from our girly talks as Katya was joining us. Flex pride worldwide!

 

I even finished my thesis last week, now it’s official! Never thought I’d be able to work that fast and productive while being on summer vacation. A great relief!

When everyone left, I flew to Berlin for couple days to unite with my schoolmates there and have some crazy Berlin-style nights and mornings. A separate post is going to be devoted to that for sure. Sooner or later. Not easy to find time in Bcn. Becomes especially challenging when your apartment doesn’t provide electricity.

Now we gotta finish our Spanish homework and the plan for the following weekend which is promising to be amazing. Yuuhuuu!