TRAVEL DIARIES/ Barcelona, part 3 – where to eat

After a couple of weeks gap this is the third, final and FAVE part of my #barcelona travel diaries (catch up with Part 1 and Part 2 here) – where to eat. Food is such a big part of sociability (is that a word?) in Spanish culture, which is something Mr Alice and I wholeheartedly embrace! 

The print above is from Bacoa, a burger bar that does things a little differently. To order you complete a little questionnaire about your preferences so you get exactly what you want and there can be no confusion about what you asked for. There are I picture of the food because we are so hungry we just didn’t want to wait but I assure you it was delicious. A definitely recommendation for any burger fans. Also, there are baskets built into the seats to store your bags in, which is a really handy touch.

Placa ReialWe kind of stumbled on this gem whilst we exploring the side streets of La Rambla, as it was only a couple of minutes from our hotel. As well as being gorgeous to look at (the street lamps are Gaudi architecture) there’s a pretty decent amount of entertainment to fill a whole night. As well as street performers there are 2 clubs offering live music and flamenco Jamboree & Tarantos) open until the early hours. 

We chose to eat at Les Quinze Nits as we’d heard great things; it seemed everybody else had too as there was a fairly sizeable line of people waiting for a table! Though their tapas is their most recommended food, we both ended up ordering roast duck with cinnamon potatoes. Personally I’m a fan of mixing sweet and savoury together so knew I’d love it, Mr Alice less so but he was pretty enamoured with it too. The food is definitely on the higher (but not grossly expensive) side if evening meals we had, but well worth the spend. However the house cava was pretty reasonable – we paid about €10 which was cheaper than in the supermarkets.

For a truly authentic tapas experience, you NEED to visit Bodega Biarritz, which is on a tiny little side street to the top right of the placa. It’s teeny, so I don’t know how they do it, but they make some of the most delicious tapas and cocktails EVER. Speaking as a very passionate foodie, that’s a pretty big claim for a gal to make!

Everything is displayed on the bar; you simply tell the staff what you what and they’ll cook it to order. Alternatively the staff are happy to pick the dishes for you if you tell them what sort of thing you like, allergies etc. This is super helpful for anybody who is overwhelmed by the choice and simply can’t choose, or wants to be surprised. We visited twice and did it both ways.

All of our dishes were presented really nicely as if we were in a restaurent,  which was a really nice touch.you can order as many dishes as you want (8 is recommended for 2 people) and take your time, but once you’ve decided you’re done eating  it’s time to pay up and go as its not a place to sit and drink. 

Price wise, this was really good value – most dishes were €3-4 each, mojitoes €5. Because it’s cheaper than most other places in Barcelona we did use this an opportunity to eat a little bit more…oops! The only downside is that they don’t serve churros, which would have been an amazing way to round off such a lovely feast.

The Mercat La Boqueria is another must visit place. Even if you’re not a die-hard foodie it’s  a great place to grab a snack or even just wander round and look at the variety of cuisines and colours on offer.
As it was right across the street from our hotel we bought breakfast these each morning, fresh juice and a fruit cupEvent the ice lollies were made of healthier fresh fruitThese sweets, however, were not!  Neither were the chocolate…but we were very good and just looked

Desserts

You may remember from my Marbella post that my Spanish dessert of choice is churros, which are widely available in Barcelona too. However waffles and gelato are also very popular (and a favourite of Mr Alice) so we had these instead. With waffles in particular, having them with fresh fruit means it totally counts as one of your 5 a day. No, really…

Drinks

We didn’t get too adventurous with places to drink and ended up staying pretty close to home. Sangria and cava are two of my favourite tipples, so a couple of nights we sat and enjoyed a glass whilst shooting the breeze and doing a bit of people watching. The bars we frequented were Temple Bar (which had really cool pub meets Gatsby decor) My Bar (next door and owned by the same people) and Cheers (directly opposite our hotel and did special offers on cocktails every day). All of these  were Irish; they’ve really made their mark in Barcelona!

A few tips for fellow foodies:

– the places we ate in are pretty popular; so arriving earlier to guarantee a table is adviseable. If not, prepare to wait (though it’s worth it) 

– taking a seat without a prime view will often mean you can jump a queue and be seated more quickly

– avoid eating on the main La Rambla thoroughfare if possible; the food is fine, but for the prices charged you want more than fine! The side streets offer much better quality and value

– if you’re not into eating local cuisin, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other options available. There’s even a few chain restaurants if you really wanted to play it safe.

– restaurants on La Rambla normally have a ‘drink per person’ minimum if you’re not eating, and won’t seat you in a prime spot at the front.

– stall holders in the mercat are fine with taking pictures (I think they kind of expect it) but don’t lean in too close to the products.

That’s it for the travel posts for now; I’m currently starting to plan my next adventures so I’ll have lots more to experience and share! Stay tune for more food, beauty and fashion in the meantime.

Stay stylish,

J 😘xx


FOOD/ #HullFoodie …The Mad Italian

You can never have too many good places to eat in a city, FACT. Some of my favourite pastimes include eating and chatting, so meals out with friends or Mr Alice feature frequently in my social calendar.

As we’re now firmly in countdown mode for Hull 2017 the #HullBloggers have decided to create a series called #HullFoodie to show off some of best places in town to eat, drink and be merry.

HannahHeather and I kicked this off in style when we were invited to sneak a peak at The Mad Italian menu before its official launch. Based on Newland avenue (one of my fave places) it fits in perfectly with a developing trend of restaurants in the same area that really commit to their food genre through the decor. When you walk in there’s a unmistakeable rustic, quirky Italian feel – lots of wood, colour washing, bare bulbs and a beautiful mural of the town where the owner grew up in old Italy.Moving on to the most important but now…the food. Yay! At the back of the restaurant is a deli-style antipasti station so you can pick exactly what you want to nibble on with a glass of vino. If you’re having a full meal, my advice would be to have this OR a starter so that you don’t feel overstuffed. As you can see in this next shot I’m speaking from experience, we had both and were very full. But, when it’s tasty AND pretty healthy that’s ok! Although we had this delicious haul as a starter it would also be a great lunch or something to pick at over a bottle of wine with the girls on a sunny bank holiday afternoon.This food is soooo insta-worthy!My main course, lobster ravioli, didn’t disappoint. Beautifully presented and garnished with yummy olives and tomatoes. There’s a lot of lobster meat in the ravioli as well as shelled bit on top so amazing value for money, and the creamy sauce was perfect with it. This dish behind is Hannah’s Pollo a la crema which was a beautiful rich sauce that I know Mr Alice would adore.Dessert. Oooooohhhhhh myyyyyy. Being the undececsive person that I am, it was super helpful that the owner put together some suggestions of dishes with (home made) ice cream accompaniments he thought we’d like. We did an ‘eat a bit and pass it left’ thing so we got to try errrrrthang…

Almond/marzipan biscuit with Madagascan vanilla ice cream (NB: the owner used to make 200 of these a day for Harrod’s back in the day). Gooey, cookie-like texture of the biscuit and really rich flavours from both.lemon sponge and chocolate mousse flan with chocolate, orange and chilli ice cream. The milk chocolate offset the darker chocolate in the ice cream, and the chilli came in as an unexpected warmness at the end.meringue, cream and profiterole tower (I can’t remember it’s actual name!) with fresh strawberry ice cream. The meringue was chewy and exactly as I like it, pairing it with something fruity (there were strawberry pieces in it too) gave it a kind of Eton mess feel which is one of all time faves.We didn’t have room for after dinner coffee or tipples this time; frankly I’m completely stuffed again just looking at the pictures! We were happy girlies when we rolled ourselves home for sure.

The final thing I’ll mention is cost. Based on the menus we saw everything is really reasonable and appropriate for the area, and portions sizes are good (great for people like me with a big appetite). Plus, there’s a set menu in the works that promises to offer the students and bargain hunters an amazing deal! You can keep up to date with menu options and opening deets on Twitter and Instagram.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find me a snack…hehe.

Stay stylish (not hungry)

J😘 xx