UPDATE: Unfortunately the excellent Manolete is no more. It is now the Aperol Spritz Bar. A nice bar, with a covered terrace, in a good location, that thankfully serves more than Aperol.
Manolete, Passeig d’Isabel II, Barcelona
Located slap-bang next to Port Vell underneath the beautiful arches that line parts of Passeig d’Isabel II, Manolete is a charming little restaurant serving some equally charming tapas.
Now I want to be up front here. I don’t normally do restaurant posts. I’m not normally invited to restaurants. To review them I mean – I have friends. But Manolete kindly invited me and for once with these sort of things they were kind enough to invite my wife too. So it was brownie points all round.
We arrived on a warm August evening. You can see Manolete from across the street thanks to the string of bright bulbs out front that remind me of a stage actresses dressing room mirror. They have a small terrace outside with cute red and white polka-dot tablecloths. Inside is similarly charming. It has some nice touches. Distressed-look cupboards filled with glasses and wine, modern black and white photography perched on a shelf half way up the back wall, and pretty embroidered cushions along the wooden but perfectly comfortable benches. Even as I write this it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does. The lighting was just right too. And the music playing in the background was loud enough to notice but quiet enough not to be intrusive. I have to admit, I sat down, arranged my cushions behind me, looked around, listened, and then smiled. Even though the restaurant was pretty empty at this point it was an extremely pleasant atmosphere. Read the rest of this article…
Zoe with all the kids
I’ve lived in (and loved) Barcelona for over 3 years now. And I pinch myself almost everyday that this is my life. It’s easy to have a perfect day here, with the incredible weather, the beach on my doorstep, beautiful architecture at every turn and the goblet of G&T. But all of this can be easily trumped by the ultimate perfect day… my wedding day. Cliché much!?! Of course. But to have all our favourite people, in the city we love, doesn’t get any better in my opinion; wedding or not.
It was on Saturday 11th April this year. It had been a whirlwind week of drinks and dinners out with the stream of wedding guests in holiday mode. Unfortunately, our French neighbours decided to have an air traffic control strike that week resulting in many guests having to endure challenging journeys over. So amidst the fun, I’d also been glued to my phone most of the week getting stressed out hearing about cancelled flights and peoples’ ‘planes, trains and automobile’ adventures just to get to our wedding. Luckily everyone made it! And our three French wedding guests miraculously became French Canadian overnight. Read the rest of this article…
Voices, Faces, City Spaces: Ramon Holgado Ordaz (Otoxo Productions)
As part of the ‘Voices, Faces, City Spaces’ series by BCN Mes and Otoxo Productions this short film follows Ramon Holgado Ordaz, a homeless man whose life has been transformed thanks to the Hidden City Tours social enterprise project.
It’s a great little story that will only take 4 minutes of your time. Read the rest of this article…
If I had to describe my perfect Barcelona day in three words, they would be: street art safari, of course!
I’m an early riser, so I’d probably wake up around 7 or so, take a nice run along the Paseo Marítimo before the boardwalk gets crowded, then have a café solo and a glass of water (a habit I picked up while in Italy) and sandwich in a small bar in Barceloneta.
Nowadays in Barcelona, if you want to see some fantastic urban art, you need Google no further than Murs Lliures, which is an initiative that gives artists a space to work, with the blessings of the city council. Most of these spots are concentrated in the old industrial areas of Poblenou, and tend to change quite frequently. I’ve been able to see some really great work there. Read the rest of this article…
View from Park Güell
I have many a perfect day within different landscapes but a typical favourite day in Barcelona would see the sunrise and view over the city from my balcony. I live right next to Park Güell so have a great view down towards the Sagrada Família, across Barcelona rooftops and hopefully to the calm sea in the background! I am always into seeing the city from a different viewpoint too and a good one is up in Vallvidrera (catching the Peu del Funicular up and a walk along to see the best view of the city).
Swimming is a favourite of mine, so usually I run or walk through Park Güell with a full view of the city in the background and head to the gym next to the park and in the summer swim in the outdoor pool. Read the rest of this article…
Steel Donkey Bike Tours
If you’re in Barcelona and you fancy getting out and about on a bike for a few hours then you could do a lot worse than checking out Steel Donkey Bike Tours.
These guys have been around the block and are consistently recommended on TripAdvisor as a great way to see the city on two wheels.
They kindly asked me to join them one morning, and so, feeling like a modern-day Sancho Panza and on a very comfy set of wheels from Green Bikes, we set off from Plaça George Orwell with our guide whose name escapes me.
This lapse in memory is no reflection on the guide himself. He led the tour extremely well and was always ready to answer my questions. The groups are small, usually no more than 4 or 5, so I certainly felt there was opportunity to pick his brain. Read the rest of this article…
The thing I love about Barcelona is that there are so many areas which offer a different experience of the city. If you need a bit of space away from it all, you can walk down to the port on a quiet morning or if you fancy a browse and a coffee you can head up to the cool neighbourhood of Gràcia and people-watch in one of its sunny squares.
My perfect day in Barcelona involves coffee stops, wandering around, a little shopping and definitely a bit of rooftop drinking. I love it when I have family or friends visiting and I get to share all of this with them. Read the rest of this article…