Our month in Barcelona was amazing. We loved our neighborhood and found lots of great places to eat (with and without kids). If you're planning a trip, here are some of our favorites:
We got an Airbnb in the Sant Antoni/Eixample neighborhood, right on the Poble Sec metro stop, which we thought was a great location, especially for an extended stay with kids. It was not touristy, but we had everything we needed within a 3 block radius. It's the area where lots of new cute restaurants are, but it's not loud. It's a neighborhood of locals. It's not in the cobblestone gothic quarter (which is very cute, but more crowded/loud/touristy) but it's still very central. We walked all over from there, or took the metro a few stops to the downtown area or other main attractions.
We ate a lot in our neighborhood because it had so many great, cute, hip options, so a lot of these suggestions reflect that. With kids, we often opted to make lunch our main meal of the day since a lot of restaurants don't serve food until 8pm (our kids' bedtime). Not all restaurants offer lunch during the week, but most do on weekends. We tried to find restaurants that had outdoor space which makes dining with kids easier. We did get a babysitter a couple times (through 'Little Prince' agency) to have dinner out.
- Lolita Taperia: one of my favorite meals in Barcelona. We went for a weekend lunch and got there right at 1pm when they opened. Tables filled up quickly. You can sit outside with kids. Creative tapas. I loved the eggplant dish with molasses, the fava bean salad with avocado and eggs, the burrata, and the vermouth (below).
- PIcnic: super cute lunch/brunch spot closer to the gothic quarter. They serve dinner too. They have things like pancakes and sandwiches (with a tapas flair). I got some tasty avocado toast with kale on it.
- Cafe Flanders: I liked this restaurant mostly for the location. The plaza it was in was so cute (outdoor seating), and kids can run around outside. They serve fairly basic tapas and we had a Sunday afternoon lunch here after a visit to Park Guell. There's a burger restaurant in this plaza too that was very crowded with locals.
- Tapeo: a couple different people recommended this place and we thought it was great. Nice tapas in El Born neighborhood. We went for dinner (yay, babyistter!) and it was delicious. Creative twists on traditional dishes, but not too fancy. I loved many of their dishes, especially the leeks, tomato bread and the honeyed eggplant (below).
- Hoja Santa: (pics below) This was our one big fancy meal out. It's a Michelin star place and we did the tasting menu, which they were very accommodating to adapt for dietary preferences. This is a part of the El Bulli restaurant group which is having its revival in the Sant Antoni neighborhood where we stayed since Ferran Adria's famed El Bulli closed a few years ago (some say it was the best restaurant in the world). Tickets is sort of "the" place to go in this group of restaurants, but we couldn't get a reservation, so we opted for Hoja Santa and were very happy. Hoja Santa is a Mexican restaurant, but we were ready for something other than tapas so we loved it. It was a long meal, maybe 20 small plates and almost 3 hours... very creative and delicious. Amazing presentation! Fine dining in a somewhat casual atmosphere.
Tasqueta de Blai: (below) At least once in Barcelona I suggest you do an evening of pintxos! This is a genre of tapas bars where lots of small tapas on toothpicks are on the bar and you grab whatever you like. At the end, you pay by the toothpick (usually about 1 Euro each). Fun, inexpensive, and casual, and there were generally several vegetarian options. This is one pintxos restaurant (on a strip of many) that we enjoyed.
- Bar Calders: We had a good weekend brunch here and sat outside for eggs, potatoes hummus and vermouth. Cute spot to sit!
- Park Guell: my favorite Gaudi spot!
- Cable car to Montjuic: great view of the city + a castle
- The beach near the Barceloneta neighborhood! Fun for a low-key break, especially with kids.
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We spent a month in Barcelona in the Fall of 2017 as I was doing research on Spanish/Mediterranean food for my upcoming cookbook, The Forest Feast Travels (Abrams, Fall 2019). For more photos from our entire 3-month trip in Europe check out the hashtag #forestfeasttravels on Instagram.
Check out this post for more pics from Barcelona.