The walk to the beachfront from our hotel was long, but lovely. We walked through vibrant streets, saw Barcelona’s own Arc de Triomf, which was built in 1888 as the entrance gate for the World’s Fair. The boardwalk and bridge on the beach front are lovely areas and home to the Maremagnum, a mall with lots of reasonably priced stores, that is open on Sundays. (Most of the stores in Barcelona are closed Sundays, so if you want to shop on Sundays this is it.)
The beachfront is not only the home to a seemingly infinite number of seafood restaurants, many that double as clubs, but also was the location for the 1992 Olympics. (While I did not get to enjoy the Barcelona nightlife, I have heard that the beachfront restaurant/clubs are not to be missed.) The giant fish sculpture on the boardwalk was created by Frank Gehry (my mother’s favorite architect) for the 1992 Olympics and is a really neat addition the beach landscape here.
Since it was the winter, the beaches were mostly empty, a few people walking them, but I would imagine in the summer they might be less than serene. My brother and mother had never put their feet in the Mediterranean and despite the cold temperatures decided this was their chance. The water was very cold, but strolling along the beach was actually quite pleasant.
After we toured the area, we settled on one restaurant that was reasonably priced and had seafood paella on the menu, since my mom was determined to have some. The food was good, the seafood was fresh and well prepared and the appetizer we had of garlic shrimp was some of the best shrimp I’ve ever had.
Even on a winter visit to Barcelona, I would recommend spending a day at the beachfront exploring and in the summer I think the beaches (minus potential overcrowding) would be lovely. Also if I were to return to Barcelona I would plan to have dinner and drinks later in the evening at one of the clubs.
Almost all the food we had in Barcelona at restaurants was exceptional. Now partially I thought that because the Spanish food was a departure from the Moldovan cuisine, but also the food and especially the tapas were in general really well prepared and clearly used fresh, high quality ingredients.
Usually we had a simple breakfast of coffee and fresh bread from the bakery down the street from our hotel. For lunch we usually ate our larger meal of the day and I believe everyday we had tapas or other traditional spanish fare for lunch. Generally by dinner time my mom was tired and decided to go to bed early, but after a nap Max was always ready to wander the city and get dinner with me.
I enjoyed wandering the area around our hotel at night with Max and exploring small out of the way places. By far our best find was a pizza place that had a two for one carry out deal and did amazing margarita pizzas with fresh buffalo mozzarella, delicious sauce and basil leaves. We also managed to find an ‘American restaurant’ that served nachos with guacamole and where the waiters were impressed with my brother’s Spanish. (To be fair the amount of Spanish my brother still remembered from his high school classes was impressive.)
The meats, olives and cheeses in Spain were awesome and thankfully I brought some back with me. In fact I would recommend to anyone that sausages, cheeses and olives are the best gifts to bring home from Spain. If I could go back and eat my way through Barcelona again I would check yelp review more often, do tapas everyday for lunch and the pizza’s everyday for dinner, but next time I would certainly have some more gelato.