Just like most modern cities, Barcelona has a great variety of food to please everybody. Vegan, vegetarian or intolerant, you can still find a lot of options to enjoy a great meal in this great city. If you are looking for vegan paella or gluten free tapas here are some restaurants you can not miss:
This small vegan restaurant is situated in the center of the city, next to one of its main streets, Via Laietana. It is known for some of the best vegan burgers in town. The lunchtime menu always features the mouth-watering veggie burger and other dishes that are not only tasty but also absolutely divine. On top of that, you can enjoy a large selection of authentic Catalan craft beers.
Placed next to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), this restaurant offers Asian-infused vegan food. Two of its specialities are gazpacho and Indian thali. It is an excellent choice for lunchtime as the menu includes an appetiser, a main dish, and a glass of water or wine.
You can find this restaurant a few minutes away from Les Rambles, in Raval. This is an organic restaurant and juicery specialised in raw vegan cuisine. It offers daily lunch menus, and also sweet and sour snacks. It is a great place to enjoy a seasonal menu with a variety of dishes, cold pressed juices and scrumptious snacks.
Situated next to the seaside, in La Barceloneta, this paella restaurant is a great choice for people with particular type of food intolerant. The gluten-free and dairy-free dishes are clearly marked on the menu. It offers different varieties of rice dishes, including paella and arròs negre (black rice with seafood).
This small bar situated next to Sagrada Família is specialised in pastrami snacks, bagels and hamburgers. Most importantly, all of the food served here is gluten free. There is also has a huge selection of beers available. At lunchtime, there are affordable menu options from 9€.
This restaurant has a splendid menu for gluten intolerant people. Situated right in the center of Barcelona, in Plaça Sant Jaume (Town Hall and Catalan Government), the menu has a large variety of dishes for everyone (gluten free and non-gluten free). All of the gluten-free dishes are marked clearly. You should definitely try the tapas, paella and salads; they are the best!
The Juice House
Situated in Poble Sec (next to Montjuic Mountain), the menu of this restaurant offers a variety of Catalan, Spanish and Mexican dishes. All gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dishes are clearly marked, so you know exactly what you are ordering.
Situated in the central district of L’Eixample, this place offers a special kind of cannelloni made of rice and a variety of other dishes. The entire menu is 100% gluten free, so you can rest assure that there will be no mix-up with your order.
At Europea Residences we hope that you found useful our vegan guide for your getaway in Barcelona!
Despite it being relatively smaller than most European capitals, many unexpected great things have come from Brussels. Here are some interesting facts:
Remembered as the iconic British actress, model, dancer and humanitarian that she was, Audrey Hepburn was originally born on 48 rue Keyenveld in Ixelles, Brussels. Although she is not Belgian, we still pride ourselves in knowing that she came from our city.
The Belgian capital has an impressive 138 restaurants per square mile, boasting every possible cuisine imaginable and making it one of the hottest destinations for foodies. From cheap eats to gastronomic Michelin starred restaurants, Brussels can satisfy any preference.
A Peeing Obsession
You’ll probably recognise this famous statue of a peeing boy, also known as the Manneken Pis. Repeatedly stolen and dressed in all sorts of costumes, this little guy is one of the main tourist attractions in Brussels. But did you know that in Brussels you can also find a peeing girl (Janneken Pis) and peeing dog statue?
Don’t ask us why… It’s a thing.
The Oldest Shopping Mall in Europe
The galleries Saint Hubert opened in 1847, making them the oldest shopping arcade in Europe. Tourists will find an assortment of high end brands like Delvaux, Belgian chocolate shops, like Neuhaus and Pierre Marcolini, and other artisanal Belgian shops.
Speaking of chocolate, we’re obsessed with it and so are our tourists. The airport in Brussels is the largest chocolate selling point in the world. Whether you’re picking up your haul in the city or at the airport, you will be met with a vast choice of famous household names like Leonidas, Godiva, Pierre Marcolini, etc.
The Biggest Court In The World
Standing at 26.000 square metres, the justice palace in Brussels is the largest court in the world. Constructed in the 19th century by Joseph Poelaert, it is currently a candidate to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Monument. Having been born after 1982, I have never seen this building without scaffolding, construction which is supposed to end in 2028.
Despite being the most hated vegetable in America, the success of our local veggie around the world is indubitable. Yes, Brussels sprouts were broadly cultivated here during the 16th century. Many people think that Brussels sprouts are baby cabbages, this is because they are part of the same family but they are different vegetables.
With temperatures reaching 28°C this week in Paris, you must be rummaging the streets for a cool and sweet delight. Sweat no more! Make your ice cream break a truly special, truly Parisian event by visiting the best ice cream parlours this city has to offer.
The traditional one: Berthillon
Berthillon is all about tradition, creation and … passion. Situated on the charming Ile Saint-Louis, Berthillon has been hailed the best ice-cream parlour in the world. Founded in 1954, the fabrication process remains unchanged, under the caring surveillance of the founder’s granddaughter. The artisanal ice creams are created on the shop’s first floor, and this institution remains the go-to place for a traditional ice cream. The flavours are also on the traditional side, and the best sellers remain vanilla, chocolate, cafe or salted caramel. Somewhat oddly, the shop is closed in August, but you will easily find places around that sell these ice creams during this month. Keep your eyes open!
Address (closed in August): 29-31 rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile, IVe.
The hip one: Une Glace À Paris
Head to the charming neighbourhood of Le Marais to taste the creations of Olivier Ménard, who previously worked for Pierre Hermé and Harrods (London), and Emmanuel Ryon, who has been elected Meilleur Ouvrier de France as well as World Champion of Patisserie. At Une Glace À Paris, the pair offers twenty-four flavours of artisanal ice creams and sorbets « à la française », made in the shop’s basement. What makes this place special is the mix of different perfumes you can find in a single spoon. If you are an ice-cream fan, try their different flavours in a single scoop such as buckwheat-nougatine or smoked vanilla-baba au rhum. If you are more of a sorbet fan, you can safely go for their best seller: orange, carrot and ginger. The menu extends to other types of patisseries glacées. To share with your family and friends, I suggest their vacherin cake, re-imagined with mango for a modern, fresh twist.
Address: 15 rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, IVe.
The rock and roll one: Glaces Glazed
This time, prepare to be surprised by the striking modernity and boldness of the ice-creams and sorbets you can find at Glaces Glazed. Every ice-cream title is associated with a film or song, and here are a few examples of what you might expect. The Black Sugar Sex Magic is a surprising sorbet of chocolate, wasabi and ginger. The Mojito de Tokyo has a wonderful cocktail of rum, mint and organic lemon in it. Pump up the Volume contains mango and Espelette spice. If you like ice-pops, they have a nice selection as well, including their own Smell Like Teen Spirit, which contains absinthe and apple liquor. This year, you can go even bolder and try their range of wild plant flavours ice-pops. Oh, and they’re really pretty too.
Address: 54 rue des Martyrs, IXe.
The one with a twist: À la Mère de Famille
Now that we are on the subject of ice-pops, À la Mère de Famille has also decided to take the plunge this year and make their own version. The shop is already a Parisian institution for sweets and chocolates, and a must-go for those with a sweet tooth who want to taste French sucreries. They do not disappoint with their ice creams and pops! The twist to their ice-pops is the addition of their own fruit paste, cut in chunk within the juice ice-pop. Un délice! Their ice-cream selection will be a fierce rival in your decision process against the ice-pops, with comforting choices such as my all-time favourite: chocolate-caramel coated with dark chocolate with caramelized almonds.
The romantic town of Como and its magnificent surroundings make for a perfect getaway from Milan. A one-hour long drive or train ride will be enough to reach one of the most beautiful destinations in Northern Italy. As a local, I have witnessed the growing popularity of Como amongst international visitors. Showing foreign friends around has allowed me to appreciate it even more. I am very proud to give you some advice to get the best from my wonderful hometown!
How to reach Como from Milan
Thousands of commuters and tourists shift to-and-from between Milan and Como. Therefore, several train connections are available at Centrale, Porta Garibaldi, or Cadorna railway stations. From Cadorna, only, can you travel all the way to the lakeside and the city centre. From Centrale or Garibaldi, you can reach Como San Giovanni with Switzerland-bound trains (Trenord, TiLo, or Eurocity trains). A basic Milan-Como train ticket will cost you about 10€ roundtrip (browse your options here). By car, you can reach Como via the A1 motorway or Statale dei Giovi. Once in town, be prepared to pay for expensive parking lots, as even locals have a hard time finding parking spots in the city centre. Driving on the narrow, winding lanes of the lake or mountain villages requires above-average driving skills. Travelling by train, and then by bus or boat, is probably more suitable. Como is small and you will not really need a car to visit its attractions.
What to see, plus some historical background
Despite its limited size, Como offers much to see. The town is located in a basin between green hills and the south-Western tip of the namesake lake. Nature and history literally stand side by side. Start your visit with a stroll in the old town. Its many treasures witness the city’s history, dating back to the Roman era (earlier Celtic settlements were found in the outskirts). A campsite was built there in the 1st century b.C. Little has remained of the Roman vestiges: the town came to shape during the Middle Ages, as proven by its walls and characteristic Romanesque churches. It is worth visiting San Fedele, in the beautiful namesake piazza, and Sant’Abbondio, a 10-minute walk from the centre. The tower on the top of the nearby hill is related to Holy Roman emperor Frederick I ‘il Barbarossa’, an ally of Como against Milan in the 12th century. He is still remembered in the tradition known as Palio del Baradello.
Como is indeed one of the earliest examples of municipality. The former centre of political power, the ‘Broletto’ tower, stands aside of the Cathedral, which is, in turn, one of the region’s most magnificent with Its distinctive green copper dome.
Neoclassical, Romantic and Art Nouveau architectures give Como an aristocratic atmosphere. To enjoy it at its best, you can walk along the waterfront. Going westwards from elegant piazza Volta, you will cross the city’s gardens, where the iconic ‘Tempio Voltiano’ celebrates Como’s most famous citizen, Alessandro Volta, the pioneer of electrical energy. Once there, you can take the promenade leading you to magnificent Villa Olmo. Instead, walking eastwards, you can opt for a funicular ride (round trip: €4.50) to Brunate, an uphill village embellished by fin-de-siècle villas and a glorious view.
It is fair to warn you about Como’s reputation as one of the rainiest towns in Italy, but this does not make the landscape any less charming, adding a melancholic twist to its blue and green nuances. Last, but not least, one defining trait of Como’s architecture is represented by many futurist and rationalist buildings and monuments, the most famous of which is certainly Palazzo Terragni, formerly known as Casa del Fascio for being the local house of the Fascist party in the 1920s-1940s. It owes its name to Giuseppe Terragni, the architect that designed it.
Whether you’re shopping on Oxford Street or sightseeing and looking for a bite to eat, Soho is by far one of the best areas of London when it comes to food. Known for its density and diversity of choice, Soho will satisfy any culinary craving you might have.
Here is a list of the best restaurants in Soho.
This Lebanese influenced rotisserie is considered one of the cheapest yet best eats in the area. If you love chicken and mediterranean food, then look no further! The entire menu is a fusion of both cuisines. The restaurant interior is cramped with cheap furniture, you’ll be served tin trays but the food is the show stopper, paired with delicious cocktails. This is truly the best place to go for a drink after work or a quick bite after a day of shopping or before a show.
The owner of this steakhouse opened this place as a way of experimenting with the cooking of different cuts of meat and perfecting the art of grilling a steak. Although the menu is dominated with beef dishes, you’ll also find seafood (in homage to its predecessor restaurant). If you’re here for the meat, they offer three different kind of cuts: Picanha, Chateaubriand and rib. We recommend taking the Picanha for it’s deliciously smooth smoky and soft flavour, which costs an astonishingly low 6£ for 100g.
This trendy Thai chain sells “tasty food at a reasonable price” and they deliver just that. Here, you can satisfy any asian food craving with their diverse menu covering Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. You can accompany your curry, stir-fry, noodles with some delicious cocktails or cool beers. We recommend having the Red Saigon cocktail (vodka, raspberry, ginger syrup, lime, mint and fresh pomegranate).
So if you’re in London looking for something more exotic, we definitely recommend going to the Banana Tree.
The Queen’s Head
If you’re in for all things British, The Queen’s Head is a pub worth visiting for a meal. They pride themselves in having locally sourced ales and serve traditional pub food. The restaurant is located upstairs from the busy pub and, there, you will taste a variety of traditional British dishes from ethical and sustainable sources. So if you put aside your pessimism towards British cuisine, you might find yourself delightfully surprised.
Our recommendation: the Fish & Chips or the homemade Piccadilly Pies
Not many people know of this place, TripAdvisor will tell you that it’s only number 2000+ of restaurants in London but Copita will give you an amazing Tapas experience, I can guarantee it! If you are a tapas connoisseur, you will find all the typical dishes of the famed Spanish cuisine with a surprising but delightful twist. This is such a good place to spend time with friends and share food.
Our suggestion: the truffled goat’s cheese with almonds, honey and toast.
After reading our list of the best restaurants in Soho are you looking for a place to stay? EUROPEA has the accommodations you’re looking for!
Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful cities; I will be the first to admit it. But being French, we always have to complain about something: and during summer, the city can become somewhat insufferable. The capital is swarming with tourists, and with every degree (Celsius) over 30, the air gets stuffier and the Parisians grumpier. Thankfully, the city is ready this year and offers wonderful opportunities to deeply enjoy Paris in style, while taking a break in one of the following beautiful terraces.
L’été de Saint-Germain
Nestled behind the famous Saint-Germain des Prés Abbey, L’Été de Saint-Germain is a perfect place to rest after a visit to the historical location. The bar is located in the Palais Abbatial, built in 1586 for the Cardinal de Bourbon. The terrace and its majestic trees offer a peaceful location to enjoy an afternoon tea or an evening cocktail. With concerts of a wide variety – ranging from French pop to rock and jazz –, this historical hangout will be filled with both locals and well-informed tourists for the whole summer.
Summer House at the Mona Bismarck American Center
Head up the Seine from the Champs Élysées to reach the Mona Bismarck American Center. This cultural centre has everything planned for the season with its bustling summerhouse! Concerts and open-air cinema sessions will be hosted there (Singin’ in the Rain ison the calendar!), with delicious food offered by different guest chefs. If you want a calm evening, visit the summerhouse during the week when chill music with food and wine tasting are offered. The location itself is very unique – a 400 square metre beautiful terrace in the dreamy scenery of a 19th hotêl particulier, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. You can enjoy this terrace until 30th September.
Les Nocturnes du Café Renoir at the Musée Montmartre
In the bustling quartier of Montmartre, a bucolic and peaceful café opens its doors to visitors everyday, and exceptionally this summer on Thursday nights. Situated inside the Musée Montmartre, discover the romantic scenery where the illustrious painter Renoir lived for a while. A much-needed secret haven to relax from Montmartre’s busy streets, the garden is best enjoyed with a cup of tea and a cake, or indeed on Thursday nights for the Nocturnes, where cocktails and wines are served under the stars.
Le Bar à Ciel Ouvert by Krug
In terms of luxurious summer Parisian experiences, nothing can beat a glass of champagne with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. This is what Le Bar à Ciel Ouvert by Krug offers until August 26th. The bar is the result of a collaboration between the Hotel Shangri-La and Krug, the world’s best-rated House of Champagne. The hotel itself was built in the 19th century, and is part of the Historical Monuments of Paris since 2009. One of the most beautiful rooms of the hotel has been remodelled for the occasion, and the magic happens on the terrace. Open from 6 pm to 11 pm, at Le Bar à Ciel Ouvert, you can enjoy the sun setting behind the Eiffel tower while tasting prestigious champagnes of the illustrious house.
Vegetarian? Planning on going to Paris soon ? Oh, là, là ! Be prepared, vegetarians are not that common in France. As a matter of fact, only about 3 percent of the population of France is vegetarian, and vegans are even rarer. This may sound barbaric to some but, in France, only a few restaurants announce that they offer a vegetarian menu. And beware, there are horror stories about vegetarian menus being a mix of vegetables fresh out of a tin with a few leaves of lettuce!
However, you don’t have to starve in Paris . You can still go to most restaurants. Here are a few suggestions:
If you are brave enough to try your French over the phone, why not call the restaurants you are interested in and ask what they suggest for vegetarians? For example, at the trendy trattoria ‘Daroco’ (6 Rue Vivienne), only a few minutes away from the Louvre museum, you could have fresh pasta with gorgonzola cheese or linguini with truffle.
For those who don’t dare try the phone-calling experience, be aware that many restaurants have a website, and you can often examine their menu before even stepping outside. Let’s try the very French ‘Bistrot des Vosges’ (31 Boulevard Beaumarchais), close to the beautiful Place des Vosges. One of the first items on their menu (‘la carte’) is a vegetarian or vegan salad. You could also try their Galette au Chèvre, a buckwheat pancake with goat cheese, or their Omelette des Burons, an omelette with Buron cheese and potatoes. But sorry, they do use beef broth to make their tempting Soupe à l’Oignon.
Speaking of buckwheat pancakes, galettes de sarrasin are the main courses of Crêperie restaurants, where you can also have all sort of crêpes for dessert. You must take a look at the amazing décor of ‘Crêperie Josselin‘ (67 Rue du Montparnasse), near the Gare Montparnasse. Some of their buckwheat pancakes are served with vegetables only. Should you want to try any other pancake on the menu, just ask the waiter to make a meatless version of it – that will not be a problem.
But you may be craving a more wholesome vegetarian or vegan meal. In this case, here are some places you should try:
You might want to know what ‘shrimp kebab (soy protein) with pineapple & lemon grass’ or ‘mushroom loaf with a blackberry-ginger sauce’ tastes like. If so, try ‘VegetHalles‘ (41 Rue des Bourdonnais), a restaurant dedicated to vegetarians and vegans. You can start by exploring their surprising menu online. It is advised to make a reservation as the restaurant is quite popular as well as being situated in the busy area of Les Halles.
‘Tien Hiang‘(14 Rue Bichat) is a fairly original restaurant close to Canal Saint Martin. It specialises in Asian food that is also vegetarian and vegan. Whenever a dish traditionally requires meat, the meat is replaced with soya protein. Look at the pictures on their online menu, the result is truly amazing. Vegans, the only dish that is not for you is Marmite Tien Hiang, which uses cheese.
‘Le Grenier de Notre Dame‘(18 Rue de la Bûcherie), as you may have guessed, is only a few minutes away from Notre Dame Cathedral. It was the first vegetarian restaurant to open in Paris, in 1978. For decades, it has successfully persuaded Parisians to try vegetarian food. Unfortunately, they are currently closed for renovation. Good news is they are expected to re-open anytime around mid-March.
Escargots, steak tartare, soupe à l’oignon, choucroute, coq au vin, pâté en croûte, cassoulet, boeuf bourguignon … Have I got your attention? These mouth-watering dishes are on the menus of many Parisian brasseries and bistrots and might be the reason why visitors fall in love with the French capital at first bite.
Most of our apartments are located in Paris’s most prestigious and beautiful areas: the Marais, the 2nd Arrondissement, and the Latin Quarter. Paris is not only a perfect destination to discover the most skilled fashion designers, is also one of the culinary meccas in the world. Let me tell you a bit about the history of these neighborhoods and the types of food you can find there.
Close-up on: Le Marais
It is home to the oldest covered market in the city, the Marché des Enfants Rouges,where fresh produce and different national cuisines abound.Interestingly, the French word ‘marais’ means swamp, and this is exactly what the area was well before it became one of Paris’s most beautiful neighbourhoods.
The first inhabitants were Templars and they arrived at this former pasture land in the 9th century. A Templar’s tomb was even found during engineering works for the Parisian metro at the beginning of the 20th century! Fleeing high taxes, others came to join the Templars in the 14th century, giving the neighbourhood an economic boost. By 1605, the Marais became a Royal Quarter, when Henry IV constructed the Place des Vosges (formerly called the Royal Square). From then on, and until the end of the 17th century, rich families built ‘hôtels particuliers’, mansions, and even churches.
The Jewish community appeared as soon as the 13th century. Today, many people come to the famous Rue des Rosiers, the emblematic street of the Jewish Quarter, to taste the best falafels in Paris.
Last time I was in the Marais, I fell upon a true gem called Miznon, in a street parallel to the Rue des Rosiers. Their traditional pita bread is imported from Jerusalem and re-heated on site. They also offer wonderfully steamed, then baked, vegetables that will make you reconsider your view on cauliflower. I ended up asking for the recipe! The Marais is one of the only neighbourhoods where the shops are open on Sundays (the French take this resting day very seriously), so it can get crowded on the weekends.
Walking along the Rue des Rosiers, pay attention to the shop signs and names: you will often see “Boulangerie” written on top of a clothes shop, in an effort to preserve the history of the place. Quite a surprising contrast!
Close-up on: The 2nd Arrondissement
The 2nd Arrondissement is organised around the old Parisian stock exchange (the Bourse) and is home to La Place des Victoires, one of the five royal squares of the city. It was once surrounded by three medieval walls. Due to the limited space available, there was no more room for new constructions by the end of the 18th century. Since then, if you are looking to construct a new building, you need to knock one down first.
This arrondissement is also where you can find most of the Parisian “galleries marchandes”, the impressive 19th century commercial arcades. Back in the day, entrepreneurs built the first of these paved pedestrian passageways as Paris lacked decent streets and sidewalks, a hindrance for to their business.
The area is full of theatres and close to the Opera Garnier, which famously inspired Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. What’s more, you can find the shortest inhabited street of Paris in the 2nd arrondissement: it is only 5.75m long. Technically a couple of steps, the Rue des Degrés links the Rue de Cléry and the Rue Beauregard.
The area also features 12 Rue Chabanais which, until 1946, stood as the most famous brothel of Paris. Many politicians and royals from all over Europe would often visit… The place was extremely luxurious and even had Toulouse-Lautrec paintings on its walls!
The Montorgueil Market, located at the centre of the quarter, is full of traditional products. Its village atmosphere makes you travel back in time and space. You can find local butchers, fishmongers, breadmakers, and all kinds of other foods here.
It is also the home of the ‘Baba au Rhum’, the rum baba, first sold in the oldest patisserie of Paris, founded in 1725. Go visit La Patisserie Stohrer in the Montorgueil Market to get a taste of this delicious cake. The shop is actually classified as a historical, grade I listed building.
You can also book a table at Gérard Depardieu’s restaurant, La Fontaine Gaillon, one of many good eateries of the area. Why not taste his wine and tell us what you think?
Close-up on: The Latin Quarter
Until 1789, Latin was the language of teaching in this quarter, hence its name. The neighbourhood is still the home of many universities today, including France’s prestigious La Sorbonne (founded in 1253). The Sorbonne still has many beautiful, specialised libraries. Due to its high number of students, the quarter was also the hub of the events of May 1968.
In 52 BC, the Romans settled in the area, and certain vestiges of their time can be visited today, such as the roman baths. You can also see go visit the Pantheon, the Arabic World Museum and many more places of high culture.
La Tour d’Argent, founded in 1582, is one of Paris’ historical restaurants. Head to this institution and taste their specialty: a pressed duck made from the same recipe the chefs used back in 1890. The restaurant raise the ducks on their own farm. Those who order the duck receive a postcard with the bird’s serial number. President Franklin D. Roosevelt received #112 and 151, and Charlie Chaplin #253 and 652! They have now served over a million.
The Tour d’Argent’s well-guarded wine cellar contains more than 450,000 bottles, evaluated at 25 million euros in 2009. The wine list contains 15,000 of them, and is 400 pages long.
The restaurant is also mentioned in many works of art. In A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway explains that you could rent a room at La Tour d’Argent, and lodgers received a discount on the meals. Marcel Proust also mentions the restaurant in his famous work À la recherche du temps perdu. And, last but not least, La Tour d’Argent also inspired scenes in Ratatouille, the 2007 Pixar movie.
Barcelona is a varied city that you should experience on all levels; from the busy streets, to the markets and beaches, to right up in the air. Let me tell you about some high-flying places that allow you to enjoy a great meal or drinks with a view.
Situated in the very core of the city, this bar/restaurant on the top of the shopping mall offers a spectacular view of the centre of Barcelona. Ideal for a break during a shopping trip, the place offers a variety of foods from around the world, as well as local pastry and coffee. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it is a worthy stop if you are around Plaça Catalunya.
Located in Las Ramblas, the bar has a stunning 360-degree view of Barcelona. It is a perfect place to spend an evening and enjoy the beautiful skylines of the city. Isabela also offers a great variety of local tapas (the most popular are the crunchy prawns, stuffed mushrooms with lobster and stuffed potatoes) and cocktails. You don’t have to book in advance, but it is recommended due to its popularity amongst tourists and locals alike.
The bar is located right on the beach, where the view of the Barcelona sea front is overwhelming. Although most of the tables are on the terrace, they are reserved for the hotel guests, so try to arrive early to get one that isn’t booked. Get there just before sunset.
Also located in the ever-popular Plaça Catalunya, this bar is the go-to in the evening if you fancy vermouth, the new local trendy drink. It is even open before lunch! The terrace is decorated in a style reminiscent of a tropical paradise, enough to make you forget you are in a busy European city. Their menu offers a huge variety of Catalan and Spanish cuisine. Don’t leave without trying the kitchen’s crunchy chicken. The Pulitzer Terrace also stands out thanks to its carefully chosen selection of gins(like Williams Chase), as well as a wide choice of cocktails – from the classics to their own creations prepared by skilful bartenders (a must try).
Located in Passeig de Gràcia (the equivalent of New York’s 5th Avenue), it offers a great view of central Barcelona. From Thursday to Saturday, there is a DJ on hand to set the mood and accompany you whilst you sip one of the bar’s wide range of cocktails made with premium ingredients. If you want a different type of music scene, you can just head downstairs to the Jazz Lounge to see some great live music.
Situated not far from the beach, this famous Barcelona restaurant offers a 360-degree view of the city. You can find the restaurant at the top of a 75-metre high tower called the Torre Sant Sebastià. To get there, you can use an elevator or a cable car that goes from Mountjuïc Mountain to the beach. You can enjoy the view whilst eating some of the best dishes of local cuisine and the best seafood of the area. A must try is the daily menu (from Tuesday to Friday) with its lobster and red prawns, stuffed rigatoni seafood and cheese. A glass of wine is also included.
In spite of the incredible variety of Italian cuisine, breakfast tends to be quite minimalist in most parts of the country. Nowhere is this more evident than in the hectic city of Milan.
A pastry delicacy combined with an energy-boosting hot drink, usually coffee or cappuccino, and that’s usually it. No feasts of sliced ham and cheese, no omelettes, meat, or smoked herring. Italians will keep it simple: first and foremost, they will have their breakfasts sweet. Though relatively easy to satisfy different tastes due to the cosmopolitan soul of the city, most locals regard savoury breakfasts as an odd, exotic habit.
Brioches or ‘cornetti’ – a local variation of French croissants – are the preferred breakfast treat in Northern Italian bars. They can be plain or filled with ‘crema pasticcera’ (a dense custard), ‘marmellata’ (jam – usually apricot), or even chocolate. Sold at bars and bakeries, they are cheap, filling and easy to carry around when you’re in a rush (or busy taking in the sights!). You cannot really ask for better.
For a richer breakfast, you might opt for a Sicilian treat: the southernmost region of Italy is well-known for its opulent, visually stunning delicacies, such as ‘cannoli’, ‘cassata’ or fruit-shaped marzipan. If you are interested in the latter, the Delizia(via Solari 41, M2 Porta Genova) is currently the top-rated spot to enjoy Sicilian pastries in Milan.
Along with brioche, Italians will most likely ask for coffee. In fact, coffee is taken quite seriously, and there is a whole system of rules surrounding it. Infringing on this will either amuse or irritate the locals; they will then make it their goal to enthusiastically teach foreign visitors everything they need to know about the country’s most beloved fuel.
The somewhat haughty atmosphere of Milan is well reflected in its many long-standing cafés, hinting at the city’s historic French and Austrian heritage. Enter any of them in the city centre and you will feel like time stopped still a hundred years ago.
The settings include elegant furniture, mirrors, and shelves filled with old bottles, as well all sorts of sweets, pastries and cakes. Just before Christmas, I referred to ‘panettone’ as the most famous treat in Milan, as it does not have many other sweets to call its own (even though ‘colomba’, a typical Easter cake, has a very similar texture and taste). However, this is not entirely true. The geographical proximity to famous places of confectionery like the Piedmont region, Vienna and France, provides Milan with a wealth of tasty delicacies. A small selection of ‘pasticcini’ is always a wise choice, as you will be able to try out different tastes. To compliment your tea or coffee, there are ‘tartellette’ with fresh fruit, cream-filled ‘cannoncini’, chocolate beignets, rum-drenched ‘babà’ (a typical Neapolitan treat) and ‘baci di dama’ (doughy, thick biscuits with a hazelnut cream filling). ‘Marron glacés’, candied chestnuts, are another wonderful feature of Italian confectioneries.
You can find confectioneries scattered around Milan. Some of them pride themselves on very long traditions, like Marchesi, established in 1824 and soon opening its third shop in the galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Another famous ‘pasticceria’ right in the centre of Milan is Cova which, due to renovation, will be re-opened in April 2017. Cova excels in fine chocolates and nougat. A bit further out, but just as well-rated, are Castelnuovo, offering an incredible range of delicious cakes, and Martesana, whose namesake cake ‘Torta Martesana’ has been defined as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ treat. A further address to take note of is Pavè. Compared to other offerings, this confectionery has a more modern, hip look and offers specific menus at breakfast, lunch, dinner and aperitivo. It is even possible to buy a variety of products and merchandise there. However, its main feature is its exposed laboratory, allowing customers to look in on the preparation of all of Pavè’s products.
On the subject of historical local traditions, the Carnival will soon take place in Milan. This year, Saturday 4th March will be the peak day for Carnival in Milan.
Compared to the Roman-Catholic ritual, the Ambrosian Carnival (specifically related to Milan and a few surrounding cities) is strangely celebrated after Lent has begun. As a result, ‘Fat Saturday’ replaces the traditional ‘Mardi Gras’. This is due to the bishop Ambrosius, now Milan’s patron saint, demanding that the celebration of Carnival be postponed to his return from a pilgrimage.
For the Carnival celebrations, a parade worms its way through the streets of Milan. Each year, it follows a specific theme recalling the heritage of the city. You can often spot the character of Meneghino, a servant originally from the Commedia Dell Arte. ‘Meneghino’ is also a loose term to describe a Milanese person.
Just like in the rest of Italy, it is customary in Milan to eat fried sweets for Carnival. The most famous are undoubtedly ‘tortelli’ (fried bits of soft sweet dough) and ‘chiacchiere’, crunchy strips covered in sugar, which are named in no less than thirty different ways all across Italy.