EAT in Barcelona:
Ca l'Isidre is considered to be one of the best restaurants in town and not only since, in 1986, HRH King Juan Carlos and his spouse HRH Queen Sophia celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary here. This true Catalonian kitchen, which has very little French influence, will allow you an extraordinary gourmet experience. The menu changes every day, as owner Isidre Gironés pays a visit to the market and evaluates its offerings. He then decides what will be put on the menu that day. There is a huge selection of great wines which go along very well with your gazpacho, sea bass, scampi or turbot.
In July 2012 Albert Longán kicked off his restaurant Loft212 in Barcelona. The economic crisis has seized the country, unemployment rates are high. But in his restaurant business booms. The guests order tapas - including sushi - and drink Cerveza. In the kitchen Albert's son Daniel Longán creates Spanish bites with an Asian touch, he serves seasonal and regional cuisine for the main courses - from fish to meat (the latter is from the Valle de Cardener and therefore specifically tasteful). And all this embedded in the ambiance of New York lofts from the 1950s. The design comes from Carlos Martinez: bright and dark wood, whitewashed brick walls with black and white photographies, a mix of wooden and aluminium chairs at the bar - long, black, with a counter lighted in yellow colours. Quite comfortable indeed and therefore no surprise that the Spaniards love to spend their money here - for good food and good company. All crises aside!
The Tragaluz group owns only on the best, most exciting and stylish restaurants. Omm, El Japones and Negro-Rojo are names that everyone in Barcelona knows and associates with the Zeitgeist of good cooking. The Bestial, which is their satellite of the sea, has earned without a doubt its position between those names. Right under the Frank O. Gehry fish at the beach of San Sebastián, guests enjoy dinner on the amazing terrace with breath taking views onto the sea and beach. The cuisine fits the beautiful location right at the beach of San Sebastián: light, Mediterranean with a preference for fish and Italy.
STAY in Barcelona:
No need for a spa, fitness room and hotel breakfast? Then perhaps an apartment is the right option for you. Inside BCN offers stylish apartments in El Born and Sants for everybody on a small budget: the apartment at the Carrer de Sants has 3 rooms and offers space to accommodate the entire family. Party people can get their short nights' beauty sleep in the king size bed of a studio apartment. If you are a business traveller, you just book a 2-room apartment and welcome your business partners in your living room. All apartments are fully furnished and are available for short or long stays. At the Sants Building, a studio costs 69 euros per night while a 3- room apartment is available from 150 euros per night.
Designers and architects created a great ambience for sophisticated people. Dark corridors lead to light rooms where modern design meets natural materials leaving you with a great feeling. If you wish to do more for your well-being, then let yourself be pampered at the spa, have a fruit juice at the pool bar or enjoy dinner at the hotel restaurant Moo. The Moo holds one Michelin star and features a wine cellar with 600 different types of wine awaiting the connoisseur. Double rooms are available from 230 euros per night.
How does a palace dating from 1892 become an exclusive 5-star hotel? You add glass, concrete and steel to the old walls and turn this into an architectural highlight in the middle of El Born next to the old town. The theme is pure elegance in the rooms, the pool terrace and the gourmet restaurant East 47. The terrace hosts Djs from June to October while guests like to enjoy their cocktails. The private Egyptian art collection is an evidence of how classy this hotel is. Double rooms are available from 170 euros per night.
SIGHTS in Barcelona:
The smallest part of Barcelona lies between the old harbor and the Platja de Barceloneta. Ahead is just endless sea. Once upon a time, this used to be a very small fishing village. In the 18th century, however, a man arrived with a drawing table and he re-organised the area. That is why the area is full of two-storey buildings with a footprint modelled on a chess board. The beach of Barceloneta is the nearest to the city and therefore popular on a nice day. However, we still recommend it. Especially the proximity to the sea shows the high quality of life of this metropolitan. Tip: in the evening there is a lot happening on this promenade. A few night clubs, bars and restaurants are situated here. If you would like to eat fish ask the locals for their current restaurant recommendation.
Barcelona is all about contemporary art, especially in November. At the BAC! festival everything goes as long as it looks good and is art. Examples include graphite, objects, sculptures, photography, painting and video art. The participating artists are international and their work is exhibited all over town in galleries and public spaces. The works are connected through a common theme that changes every year. The exact programme is constantly being updated and is published on their website.
The times where El Raval was avoided are definitely over. In previous times, there were many cheap and cheap-looking apartments that immigrants used to start off their lives abroad. Today musicians, sprayers and artists have discovered the beauty of the darkness that surrounds this area. As an example, the mestizo sound of Manu Chao was born here. After the opening of the three temples for contemporary art MACBA, CCCB and FAD, the area was upgraded and turned into a hot spot for tourists, creative and trendy people. Meanwhile, there are many trendy and hip bars and restaurants. Nevertheless, there are still some dodgy people, cheap restaurants and 24-hour shops that keep the area exiting and trendy. Tip: avoid the side alleys especially at night and if you are dressed smart.
SHOPPING in Barcelona:
Everybody in search of something special will make a find at Pinzat. For ten years, the creative heads behind the trendy label have worked on their ideas and a considerable range of products. The result: unique bags and backpacks made of vinyl, one of the oldest customary form of plastics. But don't think of stiff and grey plastic bags. The offer ranges from small, medium-sized to big bags which were designed by graffiti artists from all over the world. From motifs with flamenco dancers to landscapes - everything is possible and makes each and every piece unique. In order to guarantee a longer lifespan, the products are sewed twice and an additional strap enables you to wear your bag at the waist and attach it to your bike's handlebar. Also available: more vinyl pieces for the safe transport on your bicycle.
Jeanne Weis attempts an experiment that cannot fail: she combines beautiful African textiles with modern European cuts. The idea, she says, is not that everyone is dressed like an African, but that there is more colour in the wardrobes of the European households. If you like sewing, you can also purchase the textiles by the metre and tailor your own African dream. If you have never tried, you should give it a go anyway- the outcome won't matter that much, as everyone will be starring at the colour not the tailoring.
Maria Pascuali and Monica Howe are two fashion designers based in Barcelona that gave Zsu-Zsa their ideas in the shape of young and exclusive fashion designs. One cannot describe their style, as both designers don't want to rely on a specific line or seasonal trend. One finds inspiration on the streets, in music, art, architecture and photography. The great thing about Zsu-Zsa is that these desirable items are affordable - especially in the sale.