Barcelona is a city very close to my heart. Not only was I very fortunate to call it my home for 3 years, but the city is like no other, with it’s unique and magnetic energy. I first visited when I was 17 years old, and that’s when I decided that I wanted to live there at some point in my life. Fast forward a few years on and my dream became reality, when I decided to go to university there over a decade ago. I experienced so much during those years living there, and the city will always hold a special place in my heart. Surprisingly I have only been back twice since moving away (both times being 24-hour work trips) – so needless to say, the excitement levels were high, when my husband whisked me away for a whole weekend in the city, to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary a few months back. Good food and wine was on the top of the agenda, and I was excited to visit some of my old haunts, as well as adding some new ones to the list! Here are my top 7 places.  

El Xampanyet
One of my go-to haunts for a late lunch or mid-day snack. Although it’s centrally located in the El Borne within a touristy strip, the place is local to the core – and the tapas and wine is incredible. Get a seat in the bar and pick from the counter display. Simple, tasty and authentic Catalan cuisine.

This sushi place is an old favourite of mine. One that I certainly couldn’t afford to go as much as I did back in my student days, but it was always worth the splurge. Great sushi, great drinks and amazing vibe. Book a table no early then 9/10pm and enjoy the food, good music and people watching. Oh, and other than ordering the sushi, make sure you get the black cod and chocolate fountain for dessert! So good.

Another great tapas place located in my old local hood of Gràcia, and one of my favourite squares (Plaça De La Vila). Full of locals, with authentic, well priced dishes. Get a table located on the square, order their Patatas Bravas, Padron Peppers, Gambos de Ajo and a local beer, while watching the world go by.

Flax & Kale
This place wasn’t here back in my student days, if it had been, I would have probably been here everyday! Located centrally, this is Barcelona’s first “healthy flexitarian restaurant” in the city. They offer 80% plant-based food, with the remaining 20% containing oily fish. They serve all day, but I prefer it for their breakfasts and weekend brunches – try the Poke Avo Toast, Healthy Veggie Eggs Benedict or Pink Pataia Bowl. Yum. 

I was recommended the Sensi Group Restaurants by so many, so I had to give it a go! It actually has 5 different concept restaurants within walking distance from each other – we went to the original one, Sensi Tapas, and it certainly did not disappoint. Except fusion tapas with a twist, local wine and a bustling atmosphere.

Another great sushi place that I love, located in my old neighbourhood of Gràcia. Full of locals with great sushi and beer, with stand-out maki’s and so many other delicious Japanese dishes. Pop here for dinner first, and then head to any of the nearby squares for some after drinks to soak up the local atmosphere.

El Nacionale
Another new addition, but one of which that can’t be missed if you’re in town! Centrally located in the heart of Passeig de Gràcia, this hidden gem is gastronomic heaven, with lots of different eating and drinking areas – from traditional tapas, oyster bar, deli and meat and fish – to cocktail, wine and beer bars. All based on traditional recipes from around the Iberian Peninsula – this place is a must. If you’re only popping by to have a look – make sure you grab a scoop of ice cream from the Gelateria stand, it’s the best.


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