If you want to see one of the best football teams in the world and one of the best basketball teams in Europe, there is one city where you have to go: Barcelona. This city is also the place to be, if you like Art Nouveau architecture and the work of Gaudi. If you rather prefer the sun and the beach, Barcelona is also the place to go. If you hate sports, arts and you don’t like sand between your toes, but you want to play the star in the novels written by the author Sophie Kinsella, please book your ticket to Barcelona. I’m sure every shopaholic will love the capital of Catalonia.

The only reason you don’t have to go, is if you have “cynophobia” or fear of dogs. There are so much dogs: little and big, hairy and bold, fat an thin, ugly and nice, stupid and smart, brown and dark and white and multicolored, purebred dogs and mongrels. Name it and it barks in Barcelona.

Yes indeed, I went to Barcelona from Thursday till Tuesday and yes, I liked the city. No, I didn’t go to see soccer or basketball, but yes I saw Barcelona playing on a TV in a restaurant. And no, I’m not a shopaholic, neither a die-hard arts fan and I even not a big “dog fan”. But yes I bought new shoes and was impressed by Gaudi’s work. And what about the dogs? They barked and didn’t bite me, lucky me.

Besides all this tittle-tattle, we also found some very nice food spots. This is my top 5.

1. Cerveseria Catalana

We read in our travel guide that this place was the best restaurant for tapas in town. The only problem was that you have to wait for a very long time. On Sunday evening we wanted to give it a try and so we went to this Cerveseria. Indeed, the waiting cue was about 45 minutes to one hour.

I had delicious patatas bravas, a very tasteful burger and even the crunchy Camembert was ok for me – although I’m not a cheese lover. We decided to wait and after 45 minutes we finally could try and taste. The travel guide didn’t lie.

If you ever go to Barcelona, go, wait and try this place. They also have some Belgian beers, but I don’t get the point of drinking Belgium beer in an other country – except maybe the Netherlands where they only have Heineken 🙂 – so I didn’t try the beers.

2. Merendero de la Mari

This is a restaurant, located in near the subway station Barceloneta. You find the place on Plaza Pau Villa (nr. 1) near the harbor.

Our travel guide told us that their black rice or arroz negro is very famous. On Saturday we wanted to try if the travel guide was right. Sitting on their terrace, drinking a bottle of rosé wine and discovering that the travel guide didn’t tell us a lie, a perfect afternoon. I finished the afternoon with one of their desserts. For a “just a cheese cake” the dessert looked and tasted delicious. A 2 – 0 for my travel guide ( 100% Barcelona). On the website of the restaurant, you even find some recipes.

3. Bar Sol Soler 

You find this bar in Graçia. It’s on the corner of a very little, but busy square, called Plaça del Sol (nr. 21). It’s a small place with some wooden beams, small tables and soft lighting. The place is also known for plenty of vegetarian options. We tried their delicious cocktails, their patatas bravas, their lasagna and went even back a second time. It’s a place to remember. Just go, sit, talk, drink, eat…a perfect evening on a holiday.

4. Mercat

Barcelona, and a lot of cities in Spain, have in almost every district a so-called “Mercat”. It’s a market with fresh vegetables, fish, cheese and meat. This is a thing, we don’t know in Belgium. In London you have Borough Market – “the most expensive bread of London” –  and in Barcelona the most famous one is Mercat de la Boqueria.

This one was closed because of Easter, but we went to a smaller one. A smaller one means the same concept, but less tourists. A difference with for example Borough Market is that the price is ok. If we would have this kind of market in Ghent, I would buy my vegetables and meat over there. That’s for sure.

5. Churroteria “without a name”

You will find them in Belgium also, but for the real ones you have to go to Spain. I’m talking about Churros. It’s kind of a Spanish doughnut, a fried-dough pastry-based snack. In Belgium I don’t like them so much. In Barcelona we saw a churroteria on the street, called Passeig de Joan de Borbo.

It’s located in Barceloneta, near the harbor. There was a street vendor, making fresh churros and we couldn’t resist the smell. So we tried them, and damn, they were good. I don’t know if the churros are the best of the city, but the ones I tried were very good.

Conclusion: I really liked the city. The city has found a formidable balance between  sports, food, beach and culture. It makes it a perfect destination for a short trip.

And no, I’m not sponsored by the Tourist Office in Barcelona, neither the Spanish government. Yet they are always welcome.