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Feb 16, 2011 10:30 AM

Please Critique - Barcelona Weekend Itinerary

My husband, two children (ages 4 and 6) and I are headed to Barcelona the last weekend in February. The kids have never been to Barcelona, but are well behaved and fairly good eaters. We are staying right near the Universidad de Barcelona. Here is our rough plan. I would be grateful for any suggestions/tweaks/changes. Thanks in advance for any help in making our weekend as yummy as possible!

Friday -
(arrive mid-day)
Lunch, Cinc Sentits (have a reservation)
(walk along Las Ramblas, Sagrada Familia)
Suggestion for the best place for Churros y chocolate?
(worth going to Magic de Monejuic for the fountain show?)
Dinner, Cal Pep (have a reservation)
(walk around Boqueria, then maybe Parc Guell)
Lunch, Els 4 Gats (have a reservation)
(maritime museum and perhaps picasso museum)
(watch dancing in front of Barcelona cathedral before dinner?)
Dinner - no reservation - Cuines de Santa Caterina? Other choices - Quimet e Quimet (open for dinner?), Tapas24? Hisop?
Sunday - our flight leaves at 3 p.m., so would like to have an early brunch before heading out, but it will be before proper restaurants open for lunch - Ciudad Comtal?

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  1. Your resto choices are good. One problem that I see in your planning is that you seem to zigzag back and forth in a sprawling city. Maybe you would like to consult the city map and figure out a more efficient visit plan instead of going from one end of the city to another.

    "Friday -
    (arrive mid-day)
    Lunch, Cinc Sentits (have a reservation)
    (walk along Las Ramblas, Sagrada Familia)
    Suggestion for the best place for Churros y chocolate?"

    The best churros I know is between the metro stop and Park Guell.
    In general, Not especially close to Sagrada Familia or the Ramblas.
    But churros is a ubiguitous street food.

    (walk around Boqueria, then maybe Parc Guell)"

    They are not near each other. Well, your choice.

    "Lunch, Els 4 Gats (have a reservation)
    (maritime museum and perhaps picasso museum)"

    The maritime museum has a great café.
    Picasso museum is very near Cal Pep. You may want to pair those visits together Friday.

    "(watch dancing in front of Barcelona cathedral before dinner?)"

    The Sardana? It is performed all day but not too late into the evening on Sundays. Are you sure it is performed Saturdays too?
    In front of the cathedral is an excellent tapas bar - Bilbao Berria.
    After a rich lunch, late afternoon tapas would be fine for me, in lieu of dinner.

    "Sunday - our flight leaves at 3 p.m., so would like to have an early brunch before heading out, but it will be before proper restaurants open for lunch - Ciudad Comtal?"

    Hmm, you need to be at the airport by 1pm latest.
    Maybe a good tapas place - instead of what passes for brunch - at 11:30am the latest near your hotel.

    1. Chowhound is THE place to ask about food but when it comes to trip-planning, check out Tripadvisor. In particular, Tripadvisor Barcelona.

      No Sardana on Saturday.

      1. I agree with the other comments thus far - I do have one for Cal Pep. I would suggest NOT eating in the back "reservation" room, but getting there 15-30 minutes before they open and waiting in line to eat at the bar. The atmosphere is way better, more exciting, etc. than sitting in the back. You can watch the waiters behind the bar and watch some of the appetizers being cooked. Plus, if Pep is there, you get to hear his ridiculous voice and conversations with customers. I've eaten in the back and I've eaten at the bar many times and although the back is more comfortable, there's no comparsion to the front in terms of overall experience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Barcelonian

          Totally agree. A big part re eating at Pep is the fun factor (+ food + food + food). The long counter is much more fun than the reserved backroom. The last time I went, I pointed at Pep's paisley trousers and Pep squeaked: "guapo, no?"

        2. Also, for churros, you could swing it after lunch at el 4 gats - there is a street called Carrer de Peritxol that is within walking distance. It's a narrow, pretty street that has various places to get chocolate (hot chocolate) and at least one churro stand that fries up fresh churros.

          I found this blog that sums it up pretty well...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Barcelonian

            I would take a pass on churros on C/ Petritxol. Although I love La Pallaresa for the chocolate and pastries, their churros are not made to order and often come out limp and tepid. That goes twice for Dulcinea. Granjas are not known for churros and the ones that make them only seem to do so as an afterthought. In fact, I think I've only seen tourists order churros in a granja.

            Churros are only really good when they've just been made, It's no use wasting your calorie allowance on stale ones. La Pallaresa has very good desserts including great ensaimadas. I highly recommend them. As for Ducinea, we only went there once because we read somewhere that they had great churros con chocolate. After some so-so chocolate and stale churros we never went back.

            If you do end up going to La Pallaresa try to figure out what you want before you sit down. There are no menus. Everything is displayed out front and you're expected to order the moment you sit down.

            Our favourite Granja was M. Viader on C/ Xucla. They don't have churros, but they have some awesome desserts and great chocolate. I think it's a must-go for any hound visiting Barcelona. Viader is not just about the excellent eats, it's a complete cultural experience. After only one visit my GF and I fell in love with the place and went back as often as we could during our stay in BCN.

            For churros con chocolate, I much prefer going to La Granja on C/ Banys Nous with fresh churros from the churreria up the street. It's the only way we found to combine good chocolate and churros. Everywhere else you have to compromise since even the best churrerias often have crappy commercial chocolate mixes.

            One place we found that had suprisingly good churros was the Xurreria Sagrada Familia on the Plaça of the same name. The place had immense tourist trap potential, but the churros turned-out te be top notch. It also seemed to be a neighbourhood favourite. The chocolate was nothing special, though.

          2. Actarheel, you mentioned that you are staying near the Universidad. Do you mean the Universitat metro station? If yes, you might like to try Horchata, which is a "milky" drink made with tiger nut. My son can't have it though since he's allergic to nuts.

            Horchateria, C/ Aribau 16 nr Placa Universitat
            La Valenciana at Aribau 18

            El 4 Gats is known for his historic significance and old-fashioned decor. I wouldn't set my expectations too high on the quality of the food.

            Just down the street from the Picasso Museum, there's a nice Basque pintxos bar, Euskal Etxea. It's nice for a snack.

            Quimet i Quimet is NOT open on Saturday evening. It opens from 12 pm- 4 pm on Saturday.

            Sunday sit-down lunch may be out of the question, if you have to be at the airport 90 mins or 120 mins early. Even a place that opens very long hours, like El Glop, doesn't open until 1pm.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Aleta

              Aleta, tiger nut is not a nut. It's a tuber. In fact tiger nut is cited as an almond substitute for persons with nut allergies.

              1. re: SnackHappy

                SnackHappy, thanks for your input. I know that tiger nut is not a real nut but unfortunately, there are some people who have had anaphylactic reactions to it and therefore, if I'm recommending it, I feel that I should mention the possibility. Here's a link to the story of fellow from Waterloo, Canada. In Sunday's entry, he describes vividly his consumption and subsequent reaction.

              2. re: Aleta

                Yes, between the Universitat and Catalunya metro stops. Thank you for all of the input....

                1. re: actarheel

                  There's a Pastisseria Escriba on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 546 (near c/ Muntaner and 1/2 block from Metro Urgell). I went there on a Sunday and the cafe/bakery was open. You could try it on Sunday before the airport. A bikini sandwich or one of their pastries would be a yummy pre-departure snack!
                  Phone number is 934 547 529
                  Have a good trip!