It was a work trip. I couldn’t resist three whole days in Barcelona as opposed to the normal twenty-four hours. I wouldn’t be jet-lagged, I could do a day trip, I could eat late like the Spaniards, I could sleep in and explore. Well, it went something like that.
Day 1: after a three-hour nap I woke up to blue skies and spring-like temperatures. First stop was the newly opened Flax and Kale a’ porter located in the H &M flagship building at Passeig de Gracia 11. Wake up with a frothy cappuccino or strong espresso, and sit in to enjoy views out of the marvelous windows in this upscale modern grab-and-go healthy food bar.
Fueled with caffeine, I’m ready to walk to the beach, hoping to unwind and combat jet-lag. The walk is invigorating and the fresh air helps your body adjust more effectively.
Now that I have had a glass of cava while overlooking the beach at the wonderful terrace in the W Hotel, it’s time to talk about food in Barcelona!
It seemed like there was pork everywhere — hanging in storefront windows and on every menu, either as tapas or main courses. That being said, there are actually numerous vegetarian options as well: croquetas (cheese, no ham), tortilla de patata, calamari/vegetables, just to name a few of my favorites. After finding Flax and Kale and discovering there were three different eateries, I knew I was set. The menus differ, the dishes are labeled by GF (gluten-free), PG (plant-based), RF (raw food), and OF (oily fish). All three locations offer well crafted menus of delicious fresh options.
Day 2: wake up at 7 am, breakfast by 8, and on the train at 9:25! The high-speed train will whisk you off to Girona in 38 minutes, and once you arrive it’s a short walk from the train station to Old Town. Perhaps this is why it’s viewed as an easy day trip and a gorgeous place to visit. Allow yourself to get lost in the narrow winding streets of the Jewish quarter. Climb the stairs to the remarkable gothic cathedral, and walk on the medieval walls for breath-taking views above the city. Enjoy sights of stone houses and arched passageways and still make it back to Barcelona in time for dinner!
If you are running short on time and just need a quick bite before your train back to Barcelona, don’t miss Volver, located at Cort Reial 13. You can get 3 empanadas and a drink for 6 euros. Quite the bargain!
It’s no secret that dinner in Spain tends to be late (9, 10 pm). It provides ample opportunity to check out the mixology and enjoy a cocktail or two before a meal. There are a couple of places I like: El Natcional, located at Passeig de Gracia 24, offers four specialised bars — always a favorite. A new one I discovered on this trip was the Hotel 1898, located on La Rambla. The bar was quiet and relaxed, the cocktails creative, and the service top-notch.
A recommendation from this hotel sent me towards my next discovery for dinner. I arrived at 9:45 and waited just a few moments for my table at Restaurant 2254, located at Carrer del Consell de Cent, 335.
This restaurant was lively and soft at the same time. The dishes are a tribute to the chef’s journey between Italy, France, and Catalonia. The space is designed with communal tables for interaction with others. The food and service were impressive. The patatas bravas were some of the best I have ever had in Barcelona.
After dinner, taste the homemade limoncello and listen to a story about the chef and how the restaurant began.
Day 3: I’m exhausted, but I have tickets for the Sagrada Familia and the tower on the passion facade starting at 12:30. The Sagrada Familia is pretty much what I expected; mobbed with tourists. Trying to capture the perfect picture sans construction equipment or people working is impossible. The views from the top are impressive, the walk down the 400-ish stairs is easy, and the lookouts along the steps provide excellent scenery.
My homage to Antoni Gaudi, his distinctive style, and this amazing Basilica, which will hopefully and finally be complete by 2026!
One last dinner, one tired person; let’s make this easy. Reservations are made for the last remaining Flax and Kale Tallers, located at Carrer dels Tallers 74b. Once again, this restaurant did not disappoint.
Fun facts: I never once slept in. I spent all my free moments in Barcelona shopping (sales were still going on)! I was more exhausted than usual when I got home. Last but not least, I don’t really like Spanish coffee so much.