My perfect day in Barcelona, assuming it’s a weekend, as I am lucky in that I love my job, inevitably begins with an early morning wake-up call from my apricot Shar Pei, Coco, whose mission in life is to make sure that I never sleep in. She is efficient in achieving her goal, due mainly to an irresistible combination of a very sweet, yet persuasive personality and an adorable, smushy little face.
After a pleasant amble in the sunshine whilst gently guiding Coco around the streets and out of the path of oncoming traffic, and a quick ‘cortado’ on the terrace at the friendly local corner caff, exchanging pleasantries with our neighbours whilst Coco embarrasses me by refusing to let them pet her despite them plying her with ham and cheese, Coco will shortly breakfast on salmon and more salmon before resuming her favourite position on the sofa, and my better half and I will load the car up with our clubs and head off to play golf. He’s been teaching me since December and six months down the line I am just about able to hit the ball. As instructor, driver and sole investor in my new hobby, he gets to decide the location every time, whilst I sit beside him in silent excitement wondering if we will return to one of the beautiful courses up in the mountains or on the Costa Brava, but when we stay close to the city I can never complain as we are blessed to have so many fabulous courses nearby.
I love the PGA, TorreMirona, Golf D’Aro, La Roca – I could go on – but I think my favourite golf course within a reasonable distance of Barcelona is Sant Vicenç de Montalt, not just because of the stunning views across the fairways and out to a glittering sea, but also because of the fantastic restaurant, where we partake in a ‘bocadillo de tortilla francesa’ to fuel our game, and a ‘caña’ followed by a delicious slap-up lunch straight afterwards. I even love the grumpy, squinty old waiter there who may or may not serve you depending on his mood. I think the reason I’ve developed such a strong passion for golf is because of the lovely memories I am creating from it. It’s definitely not because I have a natural talent!
If it’s not a day for golf then I might pop to the gym for a brief run on the treadmill and a few lengths of breaststroke if it’s busy, or backstroke if there’s enough room in the pool for me not to take someone’s eye out, followed by a leisurely laze in the jacuzzi – the main motivator for my trip – and then to the gym cafe for a juice or a smoothie; my current favourite is avocado and soy milk, which probably isn’t hugely nutritious but it tastes blimmin’ lovely. Of course I will work hard at undoing any good work later, probably with a spot of “Extreme Lunching”. This is a phrase coined by my dear friend and fellow gastronomy enthusiast Oli Maxwell, as you might imagine this is basically a way to indulge in those excesses that are socially permitted during a dinner after the watershed but at a time which suits those who, like me, love an early night and a clear head the next day.
I’m not usually a fan of superlatives, but I would go as far as to say that the best lunch I have ever had in Barcelona has to be that which I enjoyed at Tickets (Av. del Paraŀlel, 164), on my 30-somethingth birthday. A four-hour extravaganza packed with delectable surprises such as dried blackcurrant churros with cauliflower and wasabi mayonnaise, oysters complete with pearls made from olive oil, and jaw-dropping puddings taken downstairs in an Alice in Wonderland-style basement room with a ceiling made from giant berries and fruits. Tickets restaurant is my Disney World.
Should dinner be in the diary, then on the perfect day it would be essential that it begins with an aperitivo at Dry Martini (c/ Aribau, 162), and this would, of course, specifically be their Coconut Martini, a cocktail which puts me in danger of using two superlatives and an exclamation mark in one short article. Dry Martini was founded in 1978 and this Barcelona institution served its one-millionth martini in 2010. You can understand why.
At the risk of sounding more like an Homage to Adriá than an Homage to Barcelona, dinner on my perfect day would be at the incredible Hoja Santa (Av. de Mistral, 54). We were lucky enough to be there on the night in 2015 when they were awarded their Michelin star, and sipping champagne with Albert Adriá at the staff party is an experience that I will not forget. This is Hoja Santa’s ‘Margarita con nube de coco’ – I mean, really – have you ever seen a prettier pudding? The best bit is, it’s my favourite, yet more coconut. So I suppose now you can begin to see where my favourite little sleep deprivation expert got her name.
Hailing from Yorkshire, Charlotte is an experienced, UK-qualified British lawyer and a partner at international law firm INTLAW here in Barcelona. In conjunction with the local lawyers in her team she takes care of all of the usual needs of expat clients with interests in Spain such as real estate sales and purchases, company formations, family matters and wills, as well as looking after media & entertainment clients and managing IP/IT contracts as a result of her specialism in the UK. Get in touch with her via email at [email protected] or on LinkedIn or Facebook.
If you’d like to write your ‘Perfect Day in Barcelona’ then please get in touch via the email address at the bottom of this website. I’d love to hear from you. The more we have the better!