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On many trips to Barcelona, I stayed in an apartment rented out by its owner. I found it in the columns of a newspaper or magazine, and it was great value (they since sold it) - but it's worth looking at such sources.


I then used a Citadines hotel apartment, a little more expensive but still with a kitchen. Details at www.citadines.be

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An open letter to two esteemed members who are making their first trip to this, one of my three favorite cities, later this summer. Veterans might wish to skip the "obvious" section:   Obvious thin

On many trips to Barcelona, I stayed in an apartment rented out by its owner. I found it in the columns of a newspaper or magazine, and it was great value (they since sold it) - but it's worth lookin

Agree re the cava - it was awful.   The tapas was good though, and the atmosphere fun.   In terms of cost, a couple of poker players shouted our bill.

look out for a big store selling really good ceramics and houseware from various regions of Spain.  Once inside, look out for windows in the floor.  They reveal a cellar downstairs which is a wine bar - good list by the glass, and plenty of hams and cheeses to sample.

This place is called Escudellers-Art. A lovely store where we bought some presents to bring home. Tapas and wine was good and cheap.


Boqueria Market. You won’t miss this - the main food market on the Ramblas


Amazing place worth the trip alone. Would've walked around for hours if Sam let me.


El Xampanyet. Most guidebooks mention this little cava bar a few doors from the Picasso Museum, but you need to know how to make the best of it. It opens for a brief time, early in the evening. My book says 6.30, which sounds about right.


We located this whilst having a look around the museum and noted it was close to where we were going to dinner that night. The shutters had opening times painted on: 1.30-4 and then 7-11.30 so we decided to go before dinner. We arrived around 8.45pm and the place was packed probably 5 deep at the bar. We managed to get close to the bar and ordered as Wilf suggested by pointing at the different trays of food. Anchovies were great, ham good, some tuna chunks in tomato sauce etc. We got chatting to a couple of guys next to us who were in Barcelona for the week long Poker Open that we'd noted was on. We obviously made a good impression as they shouted our bill :D .


El Tropezon on Regomir is a good place to order chunks of octopus, cut fresh from a whole, huge beast.


We went here and ordered several plates as portions the previous evening had been small at El Xampanyet. They weren't small here. We over ordered considerably and I felt embarrassed when the table was cleared :huh: Anyway large trays of baby octupus, deep fried squids, bread and tomato, chicken wings, deep fried artichoke (I think), pork loin and tortilla .


My top recommendation, which is missed by most guidebooks, is the closest thing Barcelona has to a St John's. It's the Ateneu Gastronomic (www.ateneu.com).......I strongly recommended a full blow out. First, choose from the "para picar" (for picking at) menu - artisanal sausages and cheeses, good foie gras, and various hams with toast. Then appetizers - look out for local wild mushrooms, or even a thistle salad. Meat or fish (specials often involve re-creations of mediaeval dishes). Cheese with honey is a good dessert.


We went here for dinner the opening night. As Wilfrid mention very reasonably priced though the wine list may've had an update as there's plenty of bottles running into several hundred euros. And as for full blow out he must have a second belly hidden somewhere :o


We started with some ham with tomatoes and toast. Not as elegant as Robuchon but certainly very moreish. Also had a plate of foie gras to pick at with a lovely sweet dressing.


For starters I had Green peppers stuffed with sausage in a lovely creamy sauce. Sam had Spinach paperdelle with wild mushrooms, also delicious.


For mains I had baked Gilthead (2 large fillets) with potatoes and onion. Simply served with the fillets atop the potato bake with sliced tomato. Sam had Confit duck leg with roasted banana. Sounds iffy tasted great.


As we were having our plates cleared and I was thinking of an excuse not to order dessert we were notified the dessert section had closed down for the night, what a pity :D


All in including a couple of glasses of cava and a bottle of Ribera del Duero, less than €100. Recommended.


Also from a touristy point of view the Touristc buses are a good way to spend a day and they take you to all of the famous attractions without you having to think too hard. And if you're in to football and have never been to the Nou Camp it's a must visit. Even Sam enjoyed going.

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El Xampanyet.


V wouldn't let us enter because of the tourists :o


Non-alcoholically speaking, you should start at least one day with hot chocolate and churros.  My favorite is a bar in one corner of Placa San Jaume.  This is the square which has the local government building on one side, and the regional parliament on the other - you're bound to pass through it a lot.  Walking away from the Ramblas, this hot chocolate joint is in the far left hand corner, on the square. 


I'm fairly sure this has gone.


El Tropezon on Regomir is a good place to order chunks of octopus, cut fresh from a whole, huge beast.  You'll also see bars advertising chorizo al diablo - bits of spicy sausage flamed with local liquor.


One of the very few open on Sunday eves, this. Full of local students. Tremendously friendly (but that's not unusual). Following Wilf, I ordered the octopus (clearly highlighted on the menu) and the chorizo al diablo, which was the most alarming flambé I've ever been served -- waitress lit then gave me fork and told me to stir, which I did for what seemed like 5 mins while the flames grew to hazardous proportions. Chorizo and padron peppers good, octopus very good.

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