Staying at the H10 Montacada Boutique Hotel allowed us to explore and fall in love with the Sant Pere / El Born neighborhood. This area truly has something for everyone!
Our first lunch in the city was at Mercat Santa Caterina and Bar L'Univers. We took seats at the bar and were welcomed by the staff. A couple of glasses of red wine, squid, sardines, and octopus had us quite satisfied.
Later in the week, we decided to try Bar Joan also inside Mercat Santa Caterina. We almost passed by this restaurant and the menu was a little out of my comfort zone but the food was so delicious we ate here twice. Our first visit we enjoyed Fideua (a type of paella made with pasta), bread with roasted vegetables topped with anchovy, and grilled squid. To accompany our meal we enjoyed a simple 5 euro bottle of wine. Our favorite was the Fideua. This beautiful dish was delicious and did not have an overly seafood taste as many other paella dishes have had.
On the 2nd occasion, we enjoyed a 3-course meal. My starter was a comforting bowl of chorizo and potato stew. My entree was tender steak (Argentinian style). Greg opted for the salad and pork shank which both looked very good. We ended up skipping dessert but the offerings looked lovely. This entire meal was under 15 Euros pp. Bar Joan is a truly an amazing find!
Don't let the casual and bustling atmosphere about a food market put you off. You just might find some of your favorite dishes!
Walking through the area you will come across a lot of fun stores for shopping. We came across everything from home goods, clothing, ceramics, and specialty foods!
Nearby we did a short tour of the Museu de la Xocolata. It's a small but interesting museum with a cafe out front. It wasn't available during our visit but you can do chocolate tastings and classes there as well.
Tapeo Born is a small, friendly, and lively restaurant. We ended up dining here twice during our visit and would go back again in a minute! We made a reservation for both visits and I highly recommend making one. We had a small table for two and ended up needing to keep our wine elsewhere because we ordered so much. On our first visit, we enjoyed pan con tomate, eggplant with honey and lime zest, Iberico ham, grilled vegetables, and truffled eggs. How have I never had eggplant with honey and lime before? The combination is perfectly balanced and addictive. The truffled eggs with foie gras and mushrooms were nice but I could have used something crunchy along with it for texture.
The 2nd time we dined here we ordered prawn and sea urchin Fideua, artichoke chips, octopus, tuna, and the eggplant again. The Fideua was satisfying and slightly fragrant from the sea urchin. The artichoke chips were crunchy and salty while reminding me of fried artichokes from Rome.
To end our meal we both decided to try white Vermut. I loved the combination of sweet and herbal notes! I ended up ordering two bottles of Lustau Vermut once we got home!!
On our first night in Barcelona, we walked through the neighborhood and went to dinner at Casa Delfin which is over 100 years old. We had a reservation but it was still pretty early so there were plenty of available tables. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine to start. I think Barcelona is the only place I've said I'll have a glass of house wine and actually enjoyed it. We ordered pan con tomate, octopus, Iberico ham, and padron peppers. We had a really nice casual dinner and couldn't complain about the food or service.
Before we travel to a new destination we always research street art. When looking up Barcelona we couldn't find anything besides an area on the outskirts. Little did we know that street art in Barcelona is everywhere! You will find interesting pieces on almost every store's metal doors, walls, poles, etc. There is such a variety of art and unique pieces that you will never be bored!
El Born has really great casual restaurants and outstanding takeaway spots. I'll get into this in a later post but Greg ended up getting food poisoning at a market restaurant outside of the El Born neighborhood. This left us staying in and skipping restaurant dinners for two nights. I still needed to eat so I tried Las Fritas and their amazing french fries. I loved the spicy sauce and surprised the owner that I enjoyed the heat. We also got take out from La Fabrica. La Fabrica offers Argentinian empanadas. They have something for everyone included Vegans!