Has anyone here been to Barcelona? need a little insight to help plan my trip

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by pollopicu, May 1, 2013.

  1. pollopicu

    pollopicu

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    I'm planning a trip to Barcelona next fall (Oct/Nov), stay there for a few days (about 5) then drive or take the train to the South of France, then fly back home from there.

    I've been researching related topics on tripadvisor, however, I don't trust their judgment as far as the culinary aspect of my trip is concerned. I've followed their recommendations before, and most lead me to tourist trap eateries that were mediocre at best. I do trust all of you here at CT to lead me to the right places to eat, and perhaps even to stay. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    Any restaurant recommendation would be appreciated. Budgeting for dinner around the $100.00 per couple a night without drinks.

    Now as far as choosing a location to stay in...I'm not a party person, so would like to stay away from the nightlife. I would prefer to stay in a more residential neighborhood that's as quiet as can be. Staying on Las Ramblas is out of the question. I've heard good things about L'Exiemple District Barcelona. Seems more french-style, less busy, more locals.

    If you've been to Paris, I'm looking to stay on a street similar to Avenue Georges-Mandel. I made the mistake of renting an Apt. near the Odeon Metro, and every day I wanted to slit my wrists. I expect there to be a level of street noise because it is a city, but I'm looking to stay away from direct noise that prevents you from having a good nights sleep. I have an unusually low tolerance for noise. It's beyond my control.

    Detailed recommendations are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. mikelm

    mikelm

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    Pollo'-

    Can't offer recent experience; only restaurant I can remember  in Barcelona is Los Caracoles

       http://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/barcelona/restaurants/spanish/los-caracoles

    It was wonderful, one of the memorable meals of my lifetime.  But... that was in 1955.

    The recent review above was fairly positive, but no more.  If you do decide to go to it, ummm...try the snails.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    Here's a listing of supposedly top restaurants there:

       http://www.barcelona.com/barcelona_...arcelona/top_10_best_restaurants_in_barcelona

    You can branch out from that site to the other references.

    I look forward to hearing your detailed report after your trip.  Have fun!

    Mike

    added-  When I was there, the place was over 100 years old.   I would expect the chef has a good bit of experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  3. guamcook

    guamcook

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    Watch the locals. As with anywhere, where the locals are is probably a good place to be.
     
  4. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I was in Barcelona in april and stayed at the humble Ramblas Hotel on... the infame Rambla walking avenue.

    Using the dutch version in my case of an original english guide with more than 20 very elaborated walks, I now know my way through this fantastic city better than ever. I would highly recommend this guide, this is an english version; http://www.amazon.com/Barcelona-Step-Roger-Williams/dp/1780050720

    It contains a very good map of Barcelona too. Do use the metro (subway) in Barcelona, it's cheap, fast and easy.

    It's impossible to advise on places to eat. Barcelona is one gigantic paradise for foodies and fashion shoppers. However, both Ribera and the El Born area are particularly hunting ground for foodies. Try to get into the spanish eating rhytm; lunch starting at 14-15h and dinner starting at 20-21h. Have a tapa in between to stretch it to the late eating hours; many times we visited the famous La Boquería indoor foodmarket (Mercat St. Josep), an absolute must for foodies. It's on the Rambla.

     

     

    Around 17-18h there was a lot of people stopping at the wineshop on the outer eastside of La Boqueria, tasting cava or wine at around 2€ per glass. Some also bought a little jamon iberico at another stand and enjoyed it while tasting cava.

    Which areas to visit? That's very individual of course. But, here are my preferences;

    - Barri Gòtic; small medieval streets, a cultural must

    - La Ribera and El Born; small streets with hundreds of places to eat. Which one to chose? Alwayse go where a lot of people eat, you may notice waiting lines in the streets for the best ones, that's where the spanish eat. If the restaurant is empty, you're probably much too early or in the worst case, it's a no good restaurant.

    - El Raval; a little grim in places but one of my favorite areas. It used to be the working class area, now mostly north african immigrants. A few very good eating places and also a large indoor market Market St. Antoni. A few very good eating places at the Rambla del Raval.

    - Eixample; leave the misses @ the hotel; too many posh highstreet fashion boutiques! Large boulevards but also the area to discover the stunning architectural work of Gaudí.

    - Gràcia; It's away from the touristic crowd, just above Eixample. Small community with lots of young people, good restaurants. If I had the money I would buy me a place there and move to this area asap. Also, imo the best area to buy spanish charcuterie to smuggle home, nicely airtight packaged, just look for the specialized butcheries.



     

    Want to see some more pictures I made?

    La Boqueria;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/La%20Boqueria%20foodmarket%20in%20Barcelona?sort=3&page=1

    Barri Gotic, Ribera and El Born;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/Barri%20Gotic%20and%20El%20Born%20quarters%20in%20Barcelona?sort=3&page=1

    Barri Gotic;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/Barri%20Gotic%20part%202?sort=3&page=1

    Eixample;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/Eixample%20quarter%20in%20Barcelona?sort=3&page=1

    El Raval;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/El%20Raval%20quarter%20in%20Barcelona?sort=3&page=1

    Gracia;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/Gracia%20quarter?sort=3&page=1

    La Rambla & commercial center;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/La%20Rambla%20and%20Commercial%20center?sort=3&page=1

    Sagrada Familia;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/La%20Sagrada%20Familia?sort=3&page=1

    Passeig Colom & Via Laietana;

    http://s673.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBelgium1/library/Barcelona%20march%202013/Passeig%20Colom%20and%20Via%20Laietana?sort=3&page=1

    Enjoy Barcelona, it's a fantastic city!
     
  5. pollopicu

    pollopicu

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    Thanks so much Mike, that's exactly what caracoles means, snails!

    Guam, it's true. The locals know the places to eat. Luckily for me I speak Spanish, so I'll be bale to ask questions and talk to many of them.

    Chris, thanks for the detailed post. I can't wait to get home later and look through every link with a fine-tooth comb. The picture above on the right reminds me of the Covent Garden area in London. It makes me want to go there even more.
     
  6. mikelm

    mikelm

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    Thanks for the help, Pollo',   Actually... I knew that. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    Mike
     
     
  7. pollopicu

    pollopicu

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    Just booked our trip and we'll be there in the first week of Dec.

    Chris, all your info is going to come in handy. Hope you don't mind if I have a few questions to ask. I might pm you. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  8. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I overlooked your post for a few days, PP. But, by all means, do not hesitate to ask. You will so enjoy Barcelona, probably in some kind of Christmas mood. I envy you already.
     
  9. geo87

    geo87

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    Hey, have fun in Barcelona it's truley a foodies paradise.
    The markets there are beyond comprehension.
    Like you have died and gone to chef heaven. There is produce there I did not know existed. Mushrooms you would pay a kings ransom for in overflowing buckets next to fresh truffles with hundreds and hundreds of cured meats and fresh seafood... Seafood I have never seen b4 lol.
    My advice when looking for food... Stay away from las ramblas , the backstreets are better, more authentic and cheeper.
    Oh and las ramblas is riddled with pickpockets.... All of Barcelona is really, so please be carefull don't carry much money on you.
    On a non foodie note if you like architecture check out the numerous works of gaudi scattered around.
     
  10. pollopicu

    pollopicu

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    Oh my goodness.. just got back from Barcelona, and it is indeed a foodies dream. I actually enjoyed the food choices I made in Spain more than the ones I made in Paris. I think that's because I was on a strict budget in Paris, whereas in Spain I just went for it.

    We stayed right across the street from Casa Batllo in Gracia. The apt was quiet and beautiful. The city itself is clean, and a perfect combination of modern and classic. It's like Paris and NYC made love and Barcelona is it's love child. The people were amazing, and civilized. Soft-spoken, and gentle. It's refreshing to visit a culture where people are so mindful. One of my biggest pp's here in the states is how disgustingly rude people are. I just loved Barcelona (at least this time of year) and if it stayed in the 50's and sunny all year round I'd probably move there. It was really one of the best vacations I've ever had.

    The Boqueria was totally sick, but one of the stands (El Quim) I wanted to eat at was closed the time we went. I ate so much cheese, bread, charcuterie, and pastries that I can't even look at that stuff now. I'm actually recovering from all the over-eating I did. I feel like the inside of my stomach lining is actually bruised.

    Thanks guys for all the advice. It's true, it's hard to recommend a place to eat in a place like Barcelona.

    Thanks everyone, besos.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  11. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    PP, you bring back such good memories when I hear you talk like that about your trip to Barcelona. You really have to experience the city on your own pace to know how fantastic it is.

    The good thing is that there will always be things you did not visit because of lack of time;... the perfect excuse to go back!

    Don't worry about having eaten too much, I'm 100% sure it's all good food and no junk, so nothing to worry about!