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1st night in barcelona whilst being crazy jet lagged?!

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hello i have been posting a few things here recently, and i appreciate all the helpful responses i have been receiving. my friend and i will be arriving in less than a week, from the girona airport, and ill have been flying since wednesday night from NYC, so i just hope i can make it for dinner and some drinks w/out collapsing! we'll be arriving just in time for dinner, and will be staying right on av. diagonal, about a block from the passeig de gracia (i think it's the eixample neighborhood). i know paco meralgo is pretty close to there, and id like to give that a whirl for lunch or dinner, but hopefully it's not a chunk of change. i love neighborhoody, local places where one can spend a couple hours and maybe strike up a conversation w/ some patrons. also, any good breakfast and/or dessert places i should be made aware of? im a HUGE dessert fan, i love custards, chocolate, pastries, anything really! btw, how is the coffee in spain; is it really strong? thanks again for your info!

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  1. If I am to eat after a long flight and jet lagged, I would choose an informal tapas or pintxos place. Around the Diagonal and Pge Gracia are Ondoa Berri on Ptge Marimon for pintxos, tapas at Bar Mut on Pau Claris and Tragaluz on Ptge de la Concepcio (both good but little expensive), La Bodegueta on Rambla de Catalunya (good and atmospheric). For me, I would stroll further to Taktika Berri for some of the best pintxos and a lively crowd.
    There are cafes all around for the usual breakfast of coffee and pastry. On weekdays, walk across the Diagonal to the Gracia neighborhood to find many cafes, informal restaurants and shops catering to everyday Barcelonians. If you want to stroll for great pastries with coffee, there is Forne Sant Jaume on the beginning of Rambla de Catalunya or Escriba on La Rambla. Dolso on c/Valencia is a informal restaurant but it has very good cakes, pastries and especially their puddings and custards. There are many churro/chocolate places on c/Petritxol in the Barri Gotic which also have decent custards. Go to Pasteleria Brunells for classic bunuelos and other cookies.
    If you have any interest in fancy pastries, a must is Oriol Balaguer’s shop on Placa Sant Gregori Taumaturg. He is a modern pastry master. Also designer desserts can be found at Budo in El Born.
    Coffee is uniformly good and strong, though not as good as Italy. Common are cafe (espresso, can also order double), cafe con leche (espresso with steamed milk) and cafe cortado (less milk).

    3 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      yeah this taktika berri place ive seen you mention before; is it one of the best in bcn in your opinion? thanks again for the excellent response btw; i will be sure to put a thorough report together whilst eating away lol. regarding breakfast though, i like to start my day off healthily, so ill just swing by the market and pick up a banana or some fruit, although of course one day ill have to try churros & hot chocolate which sound so amazing. thank goodness we'll be walking a ton. also, that dolso place is on my must eat list now; have you eaten their regular food as well, or just their desserts? i know my friend dislikes seafood, and of course i adore it, so i hope there's plenty of meat choices and whatnot to suffice. a lunch at the boqueria one day is on my list; do you think the places you mentioned (la bodegueta, ondoa berri) are better suited for lunch or dinner? i'm just trying to wrap my head around everything if you know what i mean. also, how much are glasses/bottles of cava, and of course i wanna try the beer mixed w/ lemonade. im afraid ill be budgeting very carefully on food, but i can always pick up a bottle of cava, etc. and have it back at the apt before going out for dinner later. bw, is drinking in public spaces allowed there? i know this is probably a stupid question, but i'm american, and that's how they roll here, unless you're in new orleans or something! sorry for all the q's, but thanks for engaging me!

      1. re: unocal

        If you mean drinking in public as having a picnic with a bottle of wine in the park or for example, the Montjuic, it is ok. Some standup pintxos places such as Sagrada in El Born may have people spilling out into the sidewalk with a glass on a crowded afternoon. Otherwise, public drinking is not done.
        As for tapas/pintxos places for lunch or dinner, it really depends on the individual. Just a comment about pintxos places: they are Basque simple one or two bite food that have become very popular in Barcelona. Many places offer only room temperature spreads while other will have pieces of hot items like fried bacala, hot stuffed mussels, grilled pieces of chorizo. Food at tapas places can be very simple or to more elaborate. Tapas and pintxos are not just about food but also for ambience, the people who run them and the crowd. Pintxos places are almost always standup or stools only while tapas can be both plus more elaborate places such as PacaMeralgo have tables. Lunch time is usually more working locals, early evening meeting friends after work, evening maybe more of a partying fun full meal. Most of the Eixample is lively during the day but except for a couple of pockets, it is relatively quiet at night. The beautifully lit Passage de Gracia with it's beautiful architecture and lined with shops and eating places is one exception. My advice is to get out of the Eixample at night. Instead of finding one specific tapas/pintxos place to eat, go down to the old quarter, especially El Born and hop from one tapas/pintxos bar to another. Eat a little and move on to the another place. This is what made Barcelona special, especially with a group of friends.
        Other than the sweets, I have never been to Dolso for their savory food which is a sort of mix of Spanish, Mediterranean and fusion.

        1. re: PBSF

          yeah pintxos places i cant wait to check out; those are the places where in some establishments they count how many toothpicks you've accumulated to see what you owe? thats pretty old school...thanks for the heads up on the eixample as well; i think we'll be closer to gracia, but i feel like all the hoods are good, just different and unique in their own right. i just cant wait to walk around and take it all in; i havent been in europe in over 10 years, and never to spain; to say its overdue is an understatement!