I always stress how important it is as married parents to get some alone time. This is something my husband and I both believe in whole-heartedly. Yes, family vacations are fun, but they can also be stressful so we make time to get away without our 7-year-old daughter to relax, and enjoy each other’s time, and enjoy “grown folks” activities. This is exactly what we did when we visited Barcelona, Spain.
My husband and I spent one week in Barcelona, Spain. Literally, one day for each year we’ve been parents. I chose this location because my husband, on several occasions, stated that Barcelona is his favorite city – with a beach. The both of us like surprising each other and granting each other’s wishes, if you will, so, I surprised him with a trip to his favorite city.
Where We Stayed
When we visited Barcelona, Spain we stayed at Room Mate Anna. Room Mate Anna is a 4-star boutique hotel with quirky room designs, located in the city-center, exactly one block away from Casa Batlló – redesigned by Antoni Gaudí in 1904. We could see it from the fourth-floor balcony of our room.
When choosing the hotel, I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if the location would be ideal for the things we wanted to do. But, I picked the perfect place! The hotel is perfectly situated within walking distance of many shops, restaurants, tapas bars, and the Passeig de Gràcia train station, giving you access to the various locales in the city.
Where We Ate
Brunch and Cake – I don’t really remember having many sit-down breakfasts while in Barcelona, but we did eat at Brunch and Cake on two occasions because my husband liked it. It came highly recommended by the staff at the hotel where we were staying. The food was Instagram-worthy, however, I thought it was mediocre as far as taste goes.
Tapas + Lunch
First, I’d like to say that the staff at Room Mate Anna was extremely helpful in helping us find some good spots to eat. They guided us to some great tapas bars and confirmed the spot I chose for a steak dinner to celebrate my husband’s dinner was “official tissue”.
Vinitus – Go here if you want quality tapas in a high-end atmosphere. It is the perfect atmosphere for a date. We had some of the best tapas at this place! I think during our 7-days in Barcelona, we ate at Vinitus at least four times. Plus, we even saw Larry David there.
Tapas 24 – We came here after walking along Passeig de Gràcia for the better part of the afternoon. It’s a basement establishment with high-top and bar seating. Tapas are small plates; however, the portions here were very small and on the expensive side. We did enjoy the items we did have but felt we had better tapas at Vinitus and wasn’t as costly.
Granja M Viader – We were told this is the place to get the most authentic churros and chocolate, as it has been around since 1870! The interior is decorated with photos and news clippings depicting Granja M Viader’s history. After about a 15-minute wait, we were seated at a table for two and were quickly served our churros and chocolate. Having not yet experienced Bar Churreria Layetana, we thought this was the bee’s knees. The churros and chocolate were good! Plus, it was nice being in a place with so much history.
Bar Churreria Layetana – Listen, I live for churros, and churros with chocolate are the bomb dot com! Why didn’t anyone tell me? We went on the hunt and found two of the best churro places in Barcelona. We stopped by Bar Churreria Layetana on several occasions and twice they were closed. But when we were finally able to indulge one night after touring the El Born section of Barcelona, it was open! You should have seen how my face lit up when I saw the lights on and the guy making fresh churros. We waited on the line patiently, until our turn came while people enjoyed their fresh churros and chocolate. Doesn’t it look good?
9 Reinas – My husband, like most men, loves his steaks. 9 Reinas, an Argentinian Steakhouse was the perfect place to take him for his birthday dinner. He thoroughly enjoyed his steak and the atmosphere; they seated us at the “Romantic Table”.
The best part of our dinner was dessert, which was an Argentian sponge cake called Balcarce – a delicious sponge cake with fresh peaches, dulce de leche and cream that was heaven in our mouths. We went back just to experience this cake. For his birthday, they even threw in some delicious Cava.
Crudo Bar – I am a seafood lover. Crudo Bar specializes in seafood dishes using different techniques from various cultures. Of the dishes we had there our favorites were the Croquettes with Baby Squids, Black Rice with Shrimps, Grilled Octopus, and Shrimps with White Wine.
Patagonia Beef & Wine – This was my second choice of restaurant to take my husband for a birthday dinner while in Barcelona, Spain. It is an elegant Argentinian Steakhouse that receives its steak daily directly from Argentina. They also have a great selection of wines from Argentina and Spain. My husband, of course, had steak while I had a surf and turf that consisted of a filet mignon and prawns. My husband and I both agreed that the food here was not as good in comparison to 9 Reinas, but the ambiance was good for a romantic night out in Barcelona.
La Gavina – If you want to experience a fancy seafood dining experience with excellent harbor views, then La Gavina is your spot. We sat outside, so we could enjoy the sea breeze and people watch. The food and service were good. I also had a pitcher of sangria that was really good.
CocoVail Beer Hall – Directly across the street from our hotel – Room Mate Anna – is a craft beer hall. Listen, we love craft beer! This was a godsend and the fact that it was directly across the street made me even more happy that I selected that hotel.
CocoVail has 24 craft beers on tap like some of our favorites: Tripel Karmeliet and Lagunitas IPA. They also serve food, such as wings, poke bowls, fries, and sandwiches.
Eat Caribbean Barcelona – Located in the Ravale section, it is the only Caribbean restaurant in Barcelona. We stopped here to show some love after having dinner near the port. I consider myself the rum punch queen so I challenged the owner to make one to impress me. He did well. If you head there, see for yourself.
Solange Cocktail & Spirits – During our paella class, we met a great couple who we ended up meeting for drinks at this swanky James Bond-themed bar. The menu at Solange is based on the movies of Roger Moore. The drinks are unique like the carrot one I had. But, if you are unsure of what to get, the bartenders are happy to help.
El Nacional – This Gatsby-like restaurant/bar is located on Passeig de Gràci, and is the first space of its kind in Barcelona that combines four different restaurants and four specialized bars that offer traditional dishes from across Spain. We didn’t eat here but did enjoy specialty cocktails at one of the bars. The few times we visited the place was buzzing with couples like us on dates.
Where We Played
One of the things I liked most about Barcelona, Spain was that it is a walkable city. Trust me, we did a lot of walking. We also took the metro, but walking was our main mode of transport to see things in Barcelona.
Zoo de Barcelona – We are a family that loves both zoos and aquariums and we try to visit one any place we visit. The Zoo de Barcelona is a small zoo that is located in the Parc de la Ciutadella. It is home to about 7,500 animals, spanning across 450 species.
We headed to the zoo right after passing through the Arc de Triomf, and then Cascada Monumental. It is literally a 15-minute walk straight through the park. Entry into the zoo costs about $25 USD ($21.40 Euros).
L’ Aquarium de Barcelona – This aquarium, like the zoo, is also on the smaller side. However, it is home to one of the largest collections of Mediterranean sea life. It is home to 11,000 animals representing 450 species. It is about a 5-minute walk from La Gavina. Entry into the aquarium costs about $23 USD ($20 Euros).
FC Barcelona Game – Being that my husband is from “across the pond” he is fútbol obsessed. He believed we could not miss attending an FC Barcelona game at Camp Nou. I, on the other hand, could have passed. At least I thought so at the time until I experienced it for myself. We had so much fun. Yes, I had fun watching soccer. The crowd helps because they were so live. My husband swears they are nothing like the fans of his team, the Tottenham Hotspurs.
Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tours – Big bus tours are the best way to see any city and learn about it. While in Barcelona, Spain my husband rode the Green Line and Red Line, which took us East and West. We were able to ride the bus to touristy locations like Sagrada Familia, Port Olimpic, Camp Nou, and more. We did this over a span of two days. The bus saved us from a lot of walking, and it dropped us off right at Casa Batlló, which is only two blocks from our hotel.
Paella Making Class – This trip, I wanted to try something different so I scheduled us for a Paella making class with this sweet lady named Marta. Spain is known for Paella, so there was no way I was going to go there without trying it and learning to make it. The class was so much fun, and being able to connect with other couples during the class was great, too! This is where we met the author of Coco, Angela Cervantes and her husband. We clicked with them instantly and hung out with them for the rest of the trip.
Overall, our seven days in Barcelona, Spain as a couple was beyond amazing. Although we did not get a chance to visit the beach, we covered a lot of ground and saw a lot of historical places, ate a lot of amazing food, and drank many bottles of cava. Barcelona, Spain has now become my favorite cities to visit. I can’t wait to visit again!
Have you visited Barcelona, Spain? If so, what are your favorite spots to hit up?