Brunch and La Pedrera

We took a break from hotel breakfast and ventured out into the city. We found a great "American" style brunch spot called Milk Bar and Bistro. The menu definitely had familiar names like huevos rancheros but also some more European style dishes like Turkish Eggs and Mediterranean Eggs. Portion sizes were HUGE!

We left to grab some coffee at a local 3rd wave joint called Black Remedy. Their cold brew was excellent and really hit the spot on the hot and humid day.

The rest of the day was spent touring La Pedrera. It's a super weird and cool building, very indicative of Gaudí's style. Definitely worth a visit if you love neo-Gothic art and Catalan Modernism.

La Sagrada Familia (kind of) and Lokal Bar

We had visited La Sagrada Familia years ago on our first visit to Barcelona. I remembered it being much easier to get into but now requires reservations in advance. Since we had none, we had to settle for an external view. We did have reservations for later this week so will post updated photos then.

After our quick outer tour, we grabbed dinner nearby at Lokal Bar. Smaller and less frenetic than other tapas bars, the food was more refined. The place had a musical themed decor with old cellos and guitars that were converted into wine racks. 

On to the food. Sangria (red and white) were superb. I appreciate that they didn't offer us the pitcher because they said the ice would melt and water down the drink before we could finish it. We did glasses instead and the white was my favorite. Next, we ordered a few starters including super creamy guacamole, refreshing gazpacho, not so spicy padron peppers, and a smoked goat cheese salad. The two entrees we had were the very tender octopus and ox tail wrapped in phyllo dough. We then had Catalan cream and a brownie for dessert with a cappuccino.

Before we left, our server offered us a complimentary glass of his family's Țuică, a plum based high alcohol content liquor. Usually made and bottled in the same year, his family instead ages their Țuică for almost a year in oak barrels, then buries them in the ground for an additional 11 years. The result is a much more mellow drink that doesn't burn and leaves a really long finish. A great way to end the meal.

El Nacional - Tapas Meets Dim Sum

Spent the day walking La Rambla and seeing the waterfront at Port Vell. A parent from school suggested the Mission Barcelona kids scavenger hunt book and this was Mission #1 and #2 for us. Definitely a fun way for kids to experience the city and gives them something to read up on and look forward to before they arrive.

Dinner was at El Nacional, a huge space with multiple restaurants inside. It reminds me a little of a Las Vegas high end hotel lobby (in a good way) with the many different restaurants laid out in front of you. The vibe/energy here is amazing.

We opted for the tapas bar, La Taperia, and were surprised to be served dim sum style. They call it "singing tapas" with servers walking around with specific tapas plates, hawking their selection. It was an amazing way to see more than a menu could ever tell you. Food was excellent and service was great.

We started with some wine and cava to go along with our fava beans. Then calamari, meatballs stewed with mushrooms, cheese fritters, amazing jamón ibérico, patatas bravas, a mini seafood paella, and pickled peppers with anchovy. For dessert we got a thick flan and a ice cream sandwich. Come early as they will run out of certain dishes. We missed out on squid ink paella and steamed razor clams but no complaints about any of the dishes we got.

First meal in Barcelona

We found a local tapas bar near our hotel for a late night snack. L’Olivera is open until 1am, great for weary jet lagged travelers. We started with a nice cava sangria.

Next up was a steady stream of great tapas. Tomatoes with burrata, patatas bravas, chicken and cheese croquettes, tasty steak with chimichurri sauce and a fried egg, anchovies on toast, arugula with more of that great burrata, and olives at the end as a palate cleanser. A great start to the trip.