Staying at the Silken Gran Havana: 23/05/16- 26/05/16
Barcelona is truly a city that never sleeps. The city is alive during the day, but at night the buzz in the air, the life after the sun goes down, the way the shops are open till after dark & the streets boom with the people that enjoy the excitement of the endless restaurants and the laid back lifestyle, is incredible to be a part of.
Tapa Tapa: During our 4 days in Barcelona. we intended to try as much authentic Spanish tapas as humanly possible & if we are being honest early on…. we definitely succeeded. ‘Tapa Tapa’ is on the main street Passeig de Gràcia & is a relaxed cafe Tapas bar. With a choice of eating outside or in, we decided to perch ourselves on the stools at the end of the bar and be in full view of the fresh, cold tapas choices that adorn the front of the bar.
The waiter was extremely helpful and fun, from the get go I think he could sense we would be eating a lot of food, & even with limited English, he was able to make jokes & mix up an awesome jug of Sangria whilst taking our numerous orders. Luckily there is a menu which translates all the dishes into English, and trust us, there are definitely a few to choose from.
For anyone that hasn’t tried or had tapas before, it’s an ingenious way to try half a dozen dishes at one time. We know we’ve both had that moment in a restaurant when there’s been more than one thing you’ve wanted to try, but you can’t because you know it’ll be an entire meal & it would be a waste to order more than one dish. Tapas combats this with each dish being a taster so that can tickle your taste buds and excite your dining experience over and over again. Acorn-fed Ibérico ham croquettes, Three cheese risotto, Montaditos Assortment, Spanish omelette, Assorted grilled vegetables with aromatic oil, Soft boiled eggs, with fried potatoes & Ibérico ham were just a few of the delicious Spanish treats we tried.
We soon started to realise that Iberico ham is very popular in Barcelona, & is on almost every menu we came across. Iberico Ham is native to Spain, it is an acorn fed pig that is salty, smokey and delicious when thinly sliced atop of bread, or within a dish. Keep it simple with some manchego cheese, tomato bread all topped with the ham. No need to thank us. We know it’s delicious.
-Top Tapas Tip: Order up to 3 dishes a time, anymore and you find there’s a lot to try at once, order less & you are continuously ordering. Aswell between two of you, you get to see how full you are after each ’round’ of food & of course always, always order sangria.
The Hotel Experience: This was our first holiday together, and whilst we were in Barcelona it was Michael’s birthday. From having our first Spanish tapas experience the night before & absolutely loving it, we decided that whilst we were lounging around the hotel in the sun, catching rays on the terrace adjoining our room, that we were going to order some tapas to the room. ‘The Silken Gran Havana Hotel’ is a pretty awesome hotel. From the pool on the roof, to the spacious rooms, modern bathrooms, excellent service, and the generosity of staff ensures that you have a great experience. Also we can’t forget to mention the ginormous bed! Up until this point we hadn’t tried any food from the hotel, apart from the breakfast, & we wanted something quick fresh and fairly light because we knew we’d be out for dinner later. So our tray consisted of, mini Iberico Ham croquettes, Spanish green olives, Iberico Ham, tomato bread & chips with a paprika dip.
The Iberico ham croquettes were nothing compared to the night before, the hotels attempt at them were not as good, these was slightly more greasy, & were more cheese balls than ham. Now don’t get us wrong, they were still tasty & if we hadn’t of had the ones from ‘Tapa Tapa’ the night before we would’ve enjoyed them, but we couldn’t help but compare.
The highlight of our lunch were the olives. We have honestly never had anything like them. They were 3x the size of ones we get here in England, & they looked really dry when you picked them up, but then you bite into them and it’s a complete salty, olive explosion in your mouth. The flavour is intense and the olives are ridiculously moist. We have been trying since we’ve been back to find olives like these, but we’ve come up short, we’ll be hunting for these in some deli’s & will keep you updated if we hit a find!
Divinus: Divinus was only a couple of doors down from Tapa Tapa, but this had more of a sit down restaurant feel. We were seated towards the back of the restaurant & after the waitress reeled off a sentence in Spanish, assuming we were Spanish ourselves, quickly realised from our baffled expressions, that we didn’t comprehend a word she was saying, she kindly helped us out by using some English. Now being tapas connoisseurs (After 2 days…) we were straight in with the first 3 dishes. Whilst Michael munched on a bowl of mussels in garlic butter the ‘mmm’s’ and ‘ahhh’s’ were about the most coherent sentence I was getting off of him in the near future. Now I need to say, Divinus had the best Iberico Ham croquettes we’d had. There was one per person & at around 2.50 Euros each, they weren’t cheap, but damn they were good. Packed full of ham, cheese, garlic and potato, they were delicious. Crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle, we could honestly eat them everyday for the rest of our lives and still feel like we’ve not had enough.
Divinus was an amazing way to celebrate Michael’s birthday, which also happened to be our last night in Barcelona too. We tried as much as we could, got quite tipsy on some very strong Sangria, laughed as we tried to coherently communicated with the waiting staff, and just had an amazing time. This of course is the reason for no pictures of this one, we were too busy enjoying everything that we completely forgot to take pictures.
Sad To Say Goodbye: It’s our last day & we have aching feet from walking around the shops all morning, exploring the city centre and packing. So we take up stop in the hotel rooftop bar, & of course treat ourselves to one last Spanish nibble. Michael ordered the prawn carpaccio, with prawn mousse & olives, which he says was fantastically scrumptious (Now he’s a Geordie, so like hell he said that, it was more like ‘This is bloody lush Sam’) & I ordered Buffalo Mozzarella & tomato dish, which when you are sat in 25 degree heat is amazingly refreshing, & of course you can’t forget the carbs, so the mushroom croquettes were an amazing addition. Levels above the hotels ham version the day before, the mushroom croquettes were literal bursts of crispy mushroom goodness. So we were sat there in the sun, looking out over the hustle & bustle of the Barcelona city below us & thought ‘could it get any better than this?’ We had the best last day, it was the hottest of our days there, & a day of memories. We were sad to say goodbye. But Barcelona, here’s some news for ya…
We’ll be back!
We give this our Gold seal of approval!