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Over the last six years, my husband and I have had several extended stays in Barcelona. During the winters of 2017 and 2018, we rented an apartment for six weeks or more during the period of January through early March. There are many well-known sites in Barcelona and I will not focus on them, instead, I will try to share a few of my favorite restaurants, shops, resources for finding lesser-known fun and interesting things to do, and other tips on “living” in Barcelona. We have always stayed in the Eixample area of Barcelona and loved it! Although I have stayed in several apartments, the one we rented the last two winters was the best. It was a great apartment in a great neighborhood. We were in the Eixample only a couple of blocks from Gracia.


Artssspot: If you are interested in art, you may like to check on local art happenings by subscribing to the Artssspot newsletter or checking the website. https://www.artssspot.com/barcelona/en/ We visited several of the exhibitions or events suggested on this site.

Spotted By Locals: Although you can go to TripAdvisor for restaurant ideas, I found I liked many of the suggestions on Spotted By Locals. https://www.spottedbylocals.com/barcelona/ You can use the website, but I bought the app for Barcelona. It is inexpensive, updates frequently for free, and is quite useful. Local residents who are “spotters” provide short reviews of places of interest, restaurants, bars, shops, and more. There is an off-line map function that is very helpful.

Bill Sinclair: One of the Barcelona spotters, Bill Sinclair, also has a website that is full of helpful information about visiting Barcelona. http://billsinclair.es

Metro App: I loved the Barcelona metro map. https://www.tmb.cat/en/barcelona/applications-downloads/tmb-app. You can use it off-line and search for the best route to reach your destination by inputting the beginning and ending metro stops. And, speaking of the metro, your best bet is to buy a T-10 ticket. More than one person can use it and it is the most economical way to ride the metro.

Google Map: Okay, everyone knows about using Google maps. But, I urge you to consider making your own google map before you go. You can use it off-line if you key in the beginning and ending points of your walk (or ride) before you leave wifi. I loved having it as a resource.

Restaurants and Bars

Teoric: https://teoric.cat
A small venue in the Eixample that serves spectacular food. It opened in late 2016. The owners of our apartment recommended this place and, during our time in Barcelona in the winter of 2017, we went several times. While reserving on weekends was advisable, it was easy to get a reservation. By the time we returned during the winter of 2018, the place had gotten hot! It was necessary to reserve several days (or more) in advance and during Mobile World Week it was packed with conference attendees. The prices were reasonable for the quality and the wine list was small but good.

Santa Gula: https://www.santagula.es
Santa Gula is another of our favorites and is also located in the Eixample. Be sure to reserve because I have never eaten in this small restaurant when it wasn’t completely full and turning away people who showed up without a reservation. The food is very good and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. We went a couple of times in 2017 and when we returned in 2018, one of the waiters recognized us!

Rebelot: http://www.rebelotbcn.com/en/
A small, funky bar/restaurant in Barceloneta that serves small plates of very good fare. The food is locally sourced, traditional, and is part of the slow food tradition. We found this place through Spotted By Locals in 2017 and went there several times for lunch both winters.

Can Codina: https://www.spottedbylocals.com/barcelona/nou-can-codina/
The link is to the Spotted By Locals review where I found this cozy, vibrant bar. This is a neighborhood spot in Gracia. It isn’t fancy, but we loved it. It was a great place to have some wine (they also serve many beers) and something to eat. Note, this isn’t a restaurant, but a bar. If you arrive when it is full you may have to wait a few minutes for a table to open up, or you can perch at the bar.

La Singular: http://lasingular-barcelona.com
A small restaurant in Gracia that is one of my favorites. I have been there for lunch and dinner, but prefer lunch because it has a great menu del dia. As with many restaurants in Spain, there is a lunch menu of the day. There are usually several choices for each of the three courses. At La Singular the food is very good and the price is very low—only 10,50 euros, which includes your choice of wine or water. If you go for lunch, arrive shortly after they begin service at 1 pm because it is quite popular and if you arrive later you may have to wait.

Goliard: https://www.spottedbylocals.com/barcelona/goliard/
The write-up is from Spotted By Locals. This is another popular spot in Gracia. The lunch menu is good and the degustation menu was excellent the only time I had it in late 2015. This restaurant is small and tucked away. Be sure to use your map.

Embat: http://embatrestaurant.com
Another restaurant in the Eixample with very good food. At lunch you will see groups of well dressed business people. In the evening it is quieter with small groups of friends from the neighborhood.

Semproniana: https://semproniana.net/en/
Yet another good spot in the Eixample, which was recommended by Bill Sinclair. I have only been there for lunch, but it was very good and he recommends the dinner menu, also. The decor is whimsical and relaxed.

Paco Meralgo: http://restaurantpacomeralgo.com/en/the-restaurant/
This place is well known and I have been going there for many years. I still love it. If you go in the evening, either reserve or arrive when the doors open and sit at the bar. I prefer the bar because it is lively and interesting. Order two or three things to share and some wine. Order more food as you go along, as your appetite allows. Save room for dessert—but not there. Go across the street on the opposite corner and get gelato at Cremeria Toscana. P.S. Don’t miss the patas bravas here—the preparation is a bit different than other places and very good. I also like the gazpacho if you are visiting in the spring or summer.

Morro Fi: http://morrofi.cat
Whoa. I pulled up the link for this vermut bar and was astonished to see that it has sprung up with many locations. I have only been to the one on Consell de Cent, which is very fun and the size of a large closet, with patrons spilling onto the sidewalk. You must try vermut in Barcelona. Very traditional and tasty. Locals stop in at the end of a work day before heading home, or out for dinner.

Casa Mariol: http://www.casamariol.com/en/
Casa Mariol is another place to experience vermut. They have their own vermut and wine. This place has food, but I have not eaten here. I stopped in on a Sunday afternoon for a vermut and later bought a bottle of vermut for take-away. Very good vermut, which you may see on the menu in some bars—like Can Codina.

Criollo: https://www.facebook.com/pg/criollobcn/about/?ref=page_internal
This is a small empanada shop in the area that borders the Eixample and Gracia. We had empanadas several times during the winter of 2018. We carried out and had them at home for lunch or dinner with fruit or a salad. I still miss this shop.


Bodega Marin: https://www.spottedbylocals.com/barcelona/bodega-emarin/
You will see that this is another Spotted by Locals find. This small bodega is located in Gracia. You can buy bottles of wine or other liquors—or you can bring a large, empty water bottle and have them fill it from the spigot. I have done both. The bottles of wine I found here were of good quality and at a lower price than the traditional wine shop in the Eixample. Besides, a bodega is a fun experience. Either practice your Spanish or be prepared to get by with sign language. Either way, it works.

Forn Sant Josep: http://www.fornsantjosep.com
A fabulous bread shop in the Eixample. I was practicing my Spanish one day and one of the women behind the counter praised me for my efforts! So much fun! It is all excellent.

Mercat de La Concepcio: https://www.laconcepcio.cat/en/home
A large neighborhood indoor market, with many stalls. Fish, meat, vegetables, prepared foods, wine, olive oil, flowers…… You can find whatever you need and you won’t be struggling with tourist traffic as you will in some markets.

Other Stuff

If you are in Barcelona during the winter, try to go to a calcotada festival. The calcot, which looks like a large green onion, is roasted on an open fire. It is served with lots of other roasted meats and vegetables. We went to a festival put on by the local castelliers in Gracia and it was so much fun!

I am sure I will remember things later and wish I had included the information. If you are headed to Barcelona and have questions, send me a message and I will help if I can.
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Jan Morris
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