Spain had eluded us for our 10 Do's and Don'ts until I asked Monica Navarro, owner of Delishop, to offer her 10 Do's and Don'ts of Barcelona.
We had the pleasure of meeting Monica in New York where she was presenting some of her wonderful Delishop line of gourmet foods.
She was so generous that she came up with 10 of each.
Without further ado, let us serve Monica piping hot 10 Do's and Don'ts of Barcelona.
DO visit AILANTO, one of the trendiest up and coming Spanish designers, this brother duo has a fantastic store and showroom at C/ Enric Granados. A wonderful tree-lined street full of old-world European charm.
DO walk along the Consejo de Cien street near Rambla de Catalunya to contemplate small, independent art galleries, frequented by local art collectors.
DO have the octopus carpaccio with mashed potatoes at the restaurant, LIMBO, in the Barrio Gotico.
DO hop on board the cable car starting from the Barceloneta beach up to the top of the Montjuic hill. On the way down stroll through the recently renovated Botanic Garden.
DO go down to the Barceloneta beach, preferably by bike or scooter, stay around until sunset, and enjoy a nice bottle of wine in one of the many beach bars, where local DJ’s spin cool vibes as night falls.
DO visit PARC GUELL, the outdoor park designed by Antoni Gaudi. Hidden alcoves and awe-inspiring architecture, combined with the best view of Barcelona makes it a must.
DO whet your appetite at the MERCAT DE LA BOQUERIA, described by some as the most impressive food market in Europe; and it does not disappoint. If it’s not on sale at the Boqueria, it probably isn’t worth eating.
Now for the Don'ts
DON’T miss the Festival Grec, an arts festival during the summer months of June and July.
DON’T order expensive wines. There are hundreds and hundreds of fantastic wines for under 15€.
DON’T miss your chance to taste the “pa amb tomaquet”, the local tomato-rubbed bread served with everything. It is said to mimic the colors of a Mediterranean sunset, whether true or not, it is a great example of the poetry of the local cuisine.
DON’T rent a car. Like any other big city, walking, biking, and public transport are the way to go.
DON’T think you can go out dancing before 1am, we’ll all still be eating.
DON’T eat or drink at the Port Olimpic area. It’s a cheesy tourist trap.
DON’T worry about getting pickpocketed. If you don’t get pickpocketed on a daily basis in your own city where you live, you won’t get pickpocketed here. Just use common sense.
DON’T get frustrated if you want to brush up on your high school Spanish but they only speak to you in Catalan, the local language. Ask nicely and any local will switch to Castilian Spanish.
DON’T drink sangria or go to a bullfight and think you have had the ultimate Spanish experience. These two things are not very popular in Barcelona among locals.
DON’T think that 2pm is too late for a 3-course lunch or that 10pm is too late to eat dinner, it is very easy to get used to, and very enjoyable. Just go with the flow and in no time you’ll start to wonder how you ever lived without a “siesta”.
A few words on Monica Navarro:
Barcelona-born, New York-educated, created the Delishop gourmet food brand, following an 18-year career as a strategic planner for luxury brands at a multi-national advertising agency. When she is not busy creating new products and new ideas, she can be found looking for shells on the beach with her daughter or visiting galleries and museums showcasing contemporary art. She is passionate about Barcelona.
Thanks Monica for serving this generous helping of Barcelona.