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Best Barcelona Neighborhood


weinoo
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So, for a food obsessed person, what's the best neighborhood to stay in, as far as convenience for traveling all around the city for both food and first-time visitor stuff?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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When are you going????

On my trip in May I stayed at the Pulitzer, which is just off Plaza Cataluna: Hotel Pulitzer

Ridiculously centrally located, very pretty and modern boutique hotel. About a 5 block walk (south) to La Boqueria, which I went to every morning for coffee and a xuxo (doughnut w/creme) or other delicious food - at Pinotxo, of course. There's quite a bit of amazing food just north of Plaza Cataluna in the Eixample (i.e., Cinc Sentits (divine, tasting menu), Paco Meralgo (tapas, I went to twice), Tapac 24). There's Quimet y Quimet in Poble Sec, which you MUST visit, and is a quick metro ride away. (Plaza Cataluna's metro is also ridiculously central.) Inopia is closed now, not sure what's going on there, but also a 10-15 min walk from Cataluna. No matter what you do, order the smoked salmon at every tapas place.

I would definitely stay at the Pulitzer again and would definitely stay in that neighborhood again. No doubt. I feel like the accessibility and centrality of the location was key, and not easily found in other hoods. There are many upscale hotels in the Eixample itself, but the blocks are incredibly long, making walking kind of tiring (and I'm a walker), and there aren't many metro stops in there. The Barri Gotic is extremely touristy. I loved El Born as a neighborhood and could see myself staying (or living) there, and there's food there, and a cocktail bar (Gimlet?), but it's slightly further away from La Boqueria, and much further away from the Eixample.

I can take no credit for the food suggestions in here - kathrynyu and spaetzle_maker both gave me copious amounts of info from their trips - but I ate better in Barcelona than I ever have on any trip before. You may not come back.

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I wouldn't worry too much as long as you're vaguely central - Barcelona centre is pretty small and easy to walk around - or use the metro. I generally agree with Daisy17 - somewhere in the Eixample closeish to Pl Catalunya is probably a good bet, with the Born being a good second best. I'd avoid staying in cheaper accommodation in the Barri Gotic or Raval - you need good soundproofing in these areas! Are you thinking hotel or apartment? If self-catering, basing yourself near a good market might be an idea - the Boqueria's the obvious one, but it can be a bit annoying trying to actually shop there (full of tourists!) though plenty of people do. The Santa Caterina market in the St Pere area (above the Born) is another good option - a modern, rather than Modernista building, but still architecturally interesting, and a bit less crowded.

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We are traveling around Thanksgiving time.

We will be renting an apartment, and I am focusing on the area of Pl. Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia and the Gracia neighborhood itself.

There are also some nice apartments in El Born, and one really nice one in El Raval (with a rooftop terrace), but I'm most skeptical of the Raval area.

And Daisy 17, just how long are the blocks? Is it like walking from 5th to 6th avenues?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I feel like a big baby complaining about how long the blocks were - I live in NY after all, and walk everywhere. A couple of things compelled me to point it out to you: there's a serious lack of metro stops within the Eixample and Gracia. If you're on the outskirts and close to the metro stop you should be ok for getting to other neighborhoods. But deep within the neighborhoods, there are only buses and taxis and your feet. The blocks are square rather than rectangular. They're at least a New York avenue in length - I would say even noticeably longer - but because they're square that's the length of every block, not just those running in one direction. According to this wikipedia entry NY avenues are between 600-900 feet and Barcelona blocks are 1240 feet. I'm telling you, they're long. These neighborhoods are beautiful and residential, with sprinklings of restaurants and bars throughout, but it can feel like a trek.

El Born feels more sophisticated (although much grittier than Eixample, which is more like the Upper East Side), hip and interesting (all in a good way) - the streets are old and narrow and winding and getting lost in them is fun. I would be careful about renting an apartment on a busy street there though, the nightlife might make things difficult. If I lived in barcelona I think this is where I'd live. The food there is more cafe/casual than the upscalish dining you'll find in the Eixample. You must go to Paco Meralgo. Please promise.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We stayed in Raval at the Casa Camper, which was close to the Boqueria but far enough away from Eixample to be annoying, especially after dinner. I think I'd want to stay somewhere in between both next time.

I'd compare Raval more to the grittier parts of the East Village (maybe 10 years ago?) and Eixample more to Soho, due to all of the shops and how quiet some stretches are at night.

Daisy's right about the large size of Barcelona blocks. Plus, I found the streets, sidewalks, and intersections are wider, and a lot of Eixample streets are on a slight incline. If you've been walking around all day already, it can make walking back to the hotel or apartment feel like it's taking forever.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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The very hip Born neighborhood has the wonderful Mercat Santa Caterina and is also a 2O-minute walk to the Boqueria. It is in the old town where most streetse are pedestrian. The hotel Banys Orientals where my friends always stay - and where I always rent from across the small pedestrian street - is not only right above the restaurant Senyor Parellada but is in an area that is the tapas epicenter of Barcelona. Btw, my rental from BCNGotic is excellently soundproof, and we are talking about one of the most animated streets in one of the most animated neighborhoods. I never hear a thing at night in the apartment. But remember to choose the larger apartments or the one 1-bedroom apartment with terrace. The other apartments are small and, with 3 bedrooms, are quite cramped.

Casa Camper, recommended above, is also a great place to stay in a very hip and very central area. If you stay there, don't forget to have an horchata for breakfast at the funky old Granja Viader near the hotel.

LOL, I also share the same impatience with those long blocks in Eixample and Gracia. Because they are all perfectly perpendicular to each other, they are sooooooo boring to walk. In the day time it's better, there are shops open, and all the animation that goes with them. At night, walking back from the great tapas joint Paco Meralgo located in the middle of nowhere in those grid avenues, I think I have been hypnotized into walking the same block for eternity, you know, like "Groundhog Day".

Edited by Parigi (log)
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