The Irish Balance Foodie Guide To…Barcelona

bcn10

bcn18

Nomad Coffee – VERY Hipster with great brews

The TRAVEL BLOGS continue!!! I visited Barcelona in June last year guys (2017) with my boyfriend, and I have to say, it was easily one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on, and Barcelona (BCN we’ll say for short) is now one of my favourite cities in Europe. We spent about 5 days exploring, eating, hiking, sight-seeing – you name it, we threw ourselves head-first into the BCN culture. In this post, the FIRST of many posts for the Travel Section of my blog (which I am SO excited to have finally started!), I’m sharing my favourite places for brunch (+ coffee of course) and dinner! I made it my mission to really dive into the foodie scene of BCN, and suffice it to say that I feel I succeeded! I hope anyone travelling to, or from, or even living in BCN (and all you foodies in general!) enjoy this post – I cannot wait to continue to develop the Travel part of my blog in the future! I love reading food/activity/travel blogs about cities and countries I’m visiting before I go, and it’s a great feeling to give a little back.

bcn19

Skye Coffee – Served from a Van in a Warehouse!

Brunch in BCN (and the Coffee to go with it!)

I made brunch my absolute GOAL to nail while in Barcelona. I had heard the game was strong here – and trust me, it did not disappoint! From eggs to pancakes to the tofu wraps, we found a brilliant range of things to try on the menus. Tom and I would stop off for brunch on our way to our activity/sight of the day, and it was the best fuel we could have found. These are my top five brunch spots to check out – and yes, they are in order of favourite! Ranked by the deliciousness of the meal (PLUS the coffee to go with it!

  1. Caravelle

bcn4

So Caravelle was hands down TOP of our list guys. This café is extremely chill, and I loved the casual vibes paired with a menu that more than delivered. I had a Poached Eggs & Feta on Sourdough dish, while Tom had a Mexican-style Beans & Eggs. Both were amazing, decent sized (and just filling enough) portions, with the best coffee we had while away. Caravelle is located in El Raval, which was my second favourite area in BCN (after the Gothic Quarter). Make it an essential visit.

  1. Brunch & Cake

bcn15

FOOD-PORN. That is the only word I can use to describe the food at Brunch & Cake . It is a REALLY hard call between here and Caravelle, purely because of how wacky and creative the menu here is. There are a few Brunch & Cake cafes around BCN, and if you find it on Instagram, you’ll see why it’s pretty famous. It’s known for being a ‘healthy brunch’ spot with a  splash of indulgence – and by that they mean you’ll find gorgeous salads, acai bowls and egg dishes alongside ridiculous indulgent options like the Nutella Pancakes (which, of course, Tom had!). I ordered the Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon on a Charcoal Waffle, which was insanely good, if a little unusual in flavour (charcoal is a funny vibe let me tell you!). As I’ve said, Tom had the Nutella Pancakes, covered in what I think was fairy dust and sprinkles…it was a carb coma he didn’t regret one bit but took a while to recover from. Portions here are kinda massive so bring your appetite…and it gets pretty busy so you might have a little wait.

  1. Federal Cafe 

bcn1

Federal Cafe was awesome. Another spot which is great for brunch or lunch, I came across it on Trip Advisor and Instagram for the rave reviews of their egg dishes (particularly shakshuka!) and coffee. It’s an Aussie themed café after the origins of its founders, and is another place with very chilled out vibes, and a hearty menu you might need a little extra time to choose from! I arrived convinced I was going to order Shakshuka, but instead chose a gorgeous Baked Mushroom & Eggs with Gruyere and Spinach (with essential rye on the side). It was DELICIOUS. I can’t even describe the taste it was so good. They had me at Gruyere!

  1. Milk

bcn2

Milk is a spot I was on a mission to visit while in BCN, for two reasons – one, it was actually set up by Irish owners (legit), and two, I had read it was famous for a brunch/lunch menu that would cure all hangovers! Now, of course you guys know I’m not one for hangovers (lightweights can I get a hell yeah!), so we stopped into Milk for a much need lunch after clocking up about 22 million steps exploring. The hanger, as opposed to a hangover, was REAL – and Milk was the perfect cure. I ordered a RIDICULOUSLY tasty and HUGE Asian Chicken Salad, and it might sound crazy to rave about that, but seriously, the flavours, dressing, plus the mound of gorgeous red cabbage/shredded carrots/VEG was just what I was craving. Tom got an absolutely insane burger & fries dish, and I’ve never seen him devour something so happily. The staff were super friendly, the interior is crazily funky (lots of couches, red décor, loads of posters), and every box was ticked here.

  1. Flax & Kale

bcn14

I had heard serious promises about Flax & Kale as a must-visit spot for THE healthy breakfast/brunch/lunch in BCN, and it was one of the first places we visited. The owner Teresa Carles is a pretty famous Spanish chef, who specialises in vegetarian dishes, and owns a number of restaurants around Spain. Flax & Kale was a fun experience – it was clearly a hotspot for Insta-foodies to visit, with food photos being the norm from what I could see around me! The staff were really friendly, and the menu is pretty cool – from simple options like avocado on toast (which Tom opted for) to grilled tofu wraps (my choice!), plus a huge selection of smoothies/juices/teas, you’ll easily find something to enjoy. Prices were very reasonable, portions were good, but I wasn’t as overwhelmed by this place as the other four, and I did think it lacked its own vibe a little, if that makes sense. Depending on how many days you have in BCN it is worth a trip, or try visiting one of Teresa’s restaurants for a vegetarian dinner!

bcn17

Quinoa & Avocado Salad Lunch from Surf House

An Evening Feed

So, I decided the second half of this BCN blog had to feature my top three spots to visit for dinner, because all three were places I searched high and low to find, and all three were a total 10/10 for us. Each was quite different, in terms of vibes, menus, and style of cuisine, but all were really special Spanish cuisine experiences.

bcn5

The Infamous Spanish Patatas Bravas!

  1. Alcolba Azul

bcn16

Gorgeous Toast Range from Alcolba 

bcn9

Hummus Plate 

This was our first dinner in Barcelona, and it set a seriously high standard for the rest of our trip. I can’t even remember how I found Alcolba, but I do know I had read this spot was known for being ideal for a cosy dinner, chilled out vibes, and an eclectic menu of tapas and ‘toast’ dishes. And that, happily, is exactly what it was. This was by far by favourite dinner spot – it’s located in the Gothic Quarter, and has a quite a dark interior, in a good way! The menu is a mix of a great tapas selection with the other half dedicated to gorgeous simple salads and their specialty – toasts! And by toasts I mean homemade breads (we tried a rye) loaded with really creative and inventive toppings – for example, ours was a rye toast topped with these beautiful caramelised onions and I can’t even remember what else, but I know it was so delicious that I didn’t want it to end! The menu is really varied, with both meaty and veggie options, so you’ll easily find something to make your mouth water! Alcolba is also a great stop in for a quick lunch too, particularly the toasts! Prices are ridiculously cheap for the quality of food you get, and they do a cheeky glass of cava of course!

  1. Vinitus

bcn7

Baked Fish with Tomato & Cheese 

bcn12

Esclivadas – Roast Vegetables with Goat’s Cheese on Top!

We refer to Vinitus as our ‘fancy’ dinner, but 100% not in any sort of posh way. A friend of mine had recommended Vinitus to me as a great tapas bar, and it’s also very central in BCN. Well, we LOVED it. On the exterior, it seems a little upscale, but once you step inside and get chatting to the staff and those around you, it’s just a restaurant filled with friendly faces and happily satisfied appetites. I would definitely recommend going here for a truly authentic tapas experience – we tried a few different dishes, including (of course) patatas bravas, a gorgeous monkfish dish with a tomato sauce, and roasted vegetables baked with goat’s cheese. We chose three tapas dishes each to share and the whole meal for me cost twenty euro. Insane. Plus our waiter was genuinely hilarious – a total gent, who gave us great advice about the menu and put up with our attempts at Spanish!

  1. Arume

bcn3

Authentic Spanish Paella

Our final dinner in BCN was at Arume, as we were on a quest for authentic Spanish paella. Arume is in the El Raval area, and was a really special experience. It was probably our most expensive dinner, but saying that, we don’t go Michelin star lads, so when I say expensive I’m not talking dropping dollah everywhere! I had a hummus dish to start, and we shared a beautiful seafood paella for our main, which is Arume’s specialty. They do seafood and meat paella (they’re known for a duck paella too!), usually shared between a group. It comes straight in the pan, and you just tuck in. We had a really lovely experience here – a glass of red wine (rare occurrence for me!) with proper Spanish cuisine, finished with a cheeky little liquer shot they gave us that tasted like Baileys! Arume is quite small too, and every table was full throughout the night. Staff were friendly, the food was epic – get yourself here for a real Spanish feast guys!

bcn8

Alright! That’s a wrap on my BCN foodie recommendations boys and girls. It was easily one of my favourite cities I’ve been too – so full of culture, things to see and do, food and drink to experience, and it is so easy to just dive straight into it all and make your trip your own. Let me know if you’re going, if you’ve been and you loved it too, or if you’ve visited any of the spots I’ve recommended here! I hope anyone travelling to Barcelona reading this finds this post helpful – I’ve been meaning to build the travel section on my blog for ages, and I’m so glad I’ve finally started! Leave a comment, DM me, let me know what you think!

Ciara x

2 thoughts on “The Irish Balance Foodie Guide To…Barcelona

  1. Sounds like you had an excellent foodie experience! My husband surprised me with a trip to Barcelona for my birthday last year, and much like you guys we threw ourselves into all the great eating opportunities the city has to offer!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s