Jun 6, 2021

6 min read

A Foodie's Guide to Barcelona

Erika Kwee is a travel enthusiast and Barcelona expert who works in product marketing in NYC and runs a “bake-off blog”—

The Pancake Princess

 (IG: 

@thepancakeprincess

). Her colorful, mouthwatering site compares popular baking recipes side-by-side to help readers and aspiring bakers find recipes that are just right for their tastes and skill levels.

One of Erika’s career highlights is her 4 month rotation to the Barcelona office of her former employer. There, she was able to live like a local and immerse herself in the Spanish culture. During her time in Barcelona, Erika uncovered some of the best restaurants & bars, shops, photo ops, and more. 

Read on for her insider tips (as you might have guessed, she’s giving us a 

lot 

of foodie recs).  

For more from Erika follow her on IG 

@thepancakeprincess
Erika Kwee

Where to stay

Because I’ve spent most of my time in Barcelona living there, I’ll pass along some Safara favorites. 

Ohla Barcelona

 – This hotel has an unbeatable location in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, a Michelin-star restaurant, and a visible appreciation for art and history. 

The Barcelona EDITION

 – Carefully selected color palettes and design elements evoke a feeling of calm in each of the guest rooms at the Barcelona EDITION. When you’re ready to up the vibe, you have a rooftop restaurant, speakeasy-inspired bar, and micro club all onsite. 

Mercer Hotel Barcelona

 – This boutique hotel of 28 rooms is an oasis in the always-bustling Gothic Quarter. We love the perfect blend of Roman and modern architectural styles and design and the rooftop plunge pool.  

EDITION Barcelona
Ohla
EDITION Barcelona // Ohla

Where to eat & drink

You’ll see that tapas are a going trend…

Breakfast/Lunch

  • Flax and Kale

    : Ok, it’s very westernized food, but it’s done really well! Think incredibly fresh and lavish avocado toasts and delicious, vibrant salads. This is also a great place for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone else with dietary restrictions.

  • Mayer Bakery

    : Home of my favorite almond croissant!

  • Bo de B

    : Best place to grab some sandwiches or bountiful salad plates to go. 

  • Fromagerie Can Luc

    : Stop here to pick up amazing cheese and picnic supplies. (Tip: pair with bread from

    Forn Mistral

    or

    Origo

    )

Snacks/Drinks 

  • La Croqueteria

    :

    A tiny, family-owned bar serving delicious croquettes, empanadas, and more. The brie cheese & caramelized onions croquettes are a definite crowd-pleaser!

Fromagerie Can Luc
Mayer Bakery
Fromagerie Can Luc // Mayer Bakery

Dinner 

  • El Xampanyet

    : I go here every time I visit. The incredibly executed tapas are more than enough to look past the cramped tables and brusque (though usually friendly) service.

  • Bar Ramon

    : A causal, eclectic tapas restaurant with a range of incredible dishes. I’ve never tried anything that wasn’t absolutely fantastic. 

  • Santa Gula

    : An airy, relaxed yet refined atmosphere to enjoy beautifully crafted tapas. 

  • Carrer de Blai:

    This entire street is filled with tapas bars, so it’s the perfect place to meet up for a night of tapas hopping! I would just wander down the street and dip into whatever spots catch your eye.

  • Vinitus

    :

    A favorite of several of my former coworkers. This is a gorgeous, popular spot for authentic and delicious tapas. 

  • Sports Bar Italian Food

    If you’re tapa-ed out, try this casual spot for excellent pizza and pasta. Note: it’s lauded by Italian ex-pats, so you know it’s legit.

  • Can Codina

    : I really enjoyed the casual and cozy vibe of this restaurant, and it has great tapas to boot (are you noticing a trend here?).

Dessert 

  • Parallelo

    : My favorite gelato in Barcelona!

  • DelaCrem

    : A best gelato runner-up. 

  • Xurreria Trebol

    :

    My favorite neighborhood spot for churros. My advice: avoid the stuffed ones as they can get a little soggy. 

  • Churreria Laietana

    :

    A great spot for churros con chocolate. Or if you’re looking to switch it up a bit, try churros’ puffier cousin, porras.

Santa Gula
Parallelo
Santa Gula // Parallelo

Where to workout

While traveling, my workout of choice is definitely walking or running the city. It’s the best way you get your exercise in without losing time to explore your surroundings. 

I love a good walk/run in the city to or around Montjuic, Ciutadella Park, Labyrinth Park, and Castelldefels Beach. 

There are also a number of great hiking spots nearby: the Carmel Bunkers (located in the upper part of Turó de la Rovira), Costa Brava (a coastal region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain), and the GR-92 between Vilanova i la Geltrú and Sitges (a rocky path along the railway tracks that overlooks the sea). If you make it to Sitges, make sure to reward yourself with a paella!

If you’re looking for a mix of effort and ease, I highly recommend checking out a scenic hiking/wine-tasting excursion. Costa Brava has a few, and you can find them in other areas as well.

Costa Brava
Montjuic
Costa Brava // Montjuic

Where to take someone special

I’d go with a vermouth and snacks at 

Las Vermudas

. It’s such a cute spot, and be sure to try 

all

 the vermouths – they’re very different from American vermouth! 

And if vermouth isn’t your thing, check out a “Magic Nights” rooftop concert at Casa Batllo.

Is there anything cool happening with a nod to the environment here?

There’s a great company called 

Barcelona Slow Travel

 that offers a ton of sustainability-focused experiences. They have everything from cooking classes to market tours, organic wine tours, day trips, and much more. I took a cooking class with them and it was excellent. 

Where to shop

Whether I’m in the states or traveling, my favorite places to shop are always thrift stores. This is both for the unique finds and the sustainably-minded nature of buying secondhand. 

There are many locations of 

Humana

 throughout the city as well as other shops like 

Flamingos Vintage Kilo

 and 

Trash Closet

.

One of my favorite neighborhoods for thrift shopping is Gracia. You could start with the Gracia Humana location and continue exploring the many small, sustainably-minded boutiques from there.

Where to enjoy nature

Montserrat

 is absolutely stunning and by far one of my favorite excursions from Barcelona. It’s a popular day trip and is only about 1 hour by train.

Sitges

 is famous for its museums, art galleries, and studios, but it’s also a beautiful example of a coastal city with incredible beaches. It’s also just a 30 min train ride outside of Barcelona, making it a great alternative if you don’t have the time to make it all the way to 

Costa Brava

, which is closer to 1.5 hours away. There are beautiful hikes along the coast to be had here!

Montjuic 

is my favorite location for some nature inside the city itself. It’s a beautiful sprawling park that has a lot of scenic greenery surrounding the castle, including a botanic garden.

Which locations are going on your Instagram highlight reel?

In no specific order…

  1. Montserrat

  2. Tibidabo

  3. La Boqueria

  4. La Sagrada Familia

  5. Parc Guell

  6. Montjuic

  7. Sitges 

Montserrat
Parc Guell 
Montserrat // Parc Guell 

If there’s one shot to take that sums up the place, what is it?

La Sagrada Familia

 or 

Parc Guell

. I feel like they’re iconic for a reason!

Any extra tips?

When in Barcelona, you’ll be fine even if you don’t speak much (or any) Spanish. Most people speak English and are typically very friendly and helpful.

Also, don’t be afraid of the subway! It’s very easy to navigate and so handy for getting around. The 10-trip card is a great deal if you’ll be scooting around the city for a few days.

To learn more about Erika, check out our Insider Profile.

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