314–316 Carrer Consell de Cent
Tel: 34 93 215 5288
Only Agatha Ruíz de la Prada could get away with wearing mismatched tights to a Spanish royal wedding. But then, such is her status in Spanish society, as a bourgeois eccentric who has built a considerable empire with her wacky clothing and bright graphics. Nearly everything the designer puts her signature to looks like a paper cutout that has been colored in with a child's paint box, albeit in an artsy-chic (and overridingly joyful) way. Unsurprisingly, her style translates well to children's wear—clownish raincoats, spotted pinafores, and the like—which you'll find along with womenswear at her Barcelona boutique. Awash in de la Prada's signature magenta, lit by fluorescent strips, and with wooden packing cases as display units, the decor befits her offbeat aesthetic.—Suzanne Wales
Open Mondays through Saturdays 10:30 am to 8:30 pm.
11 Passeig de Gràcia
Tel: 34 93 302 64 41
Established in Madrid in 1885, this exclusive jewelry and watch store has been enthusiastically adopted by fashionistas across the globe from Spanish supermodel Inés Sastre, to Gisele Bündchen and Scarlett Johansson. Each piece in this Passeig de Gràcia shop has an engraved identification number. Over-the-top styles incorporate white gold, diamonds, orange sapphires, and flame feathersmaking these watches more like jewelry than timepieces. There are also classically designed wristwatches for daily use.
109 Las Ramblas
Tel: 34 93 481 3930
When Custo Dalmau's brightly printed, neo-hippy T-shirts burst onto the scene in Barcelona in the mid-1990s, they became an instant hit with trend-conscious locals as well as L.A. starlets and Euro rock chicks. His collections are now launched during New York's fashion week and sold all over the world, but why not buy a few Custo pieces in the city where it all started? His line has expanded to dresses, coats, and menswear, but the Pucci-esque vibe remains.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm, Sundays 11 am to 6 pm.
304 Carrer Provença
Tel: 34 93 487 2110
Catalonia-born Josep Font is probably the closest thing Barcelona has to a haute couture designer (he also has a shop in Paris). He produces exquisitely crafted, highly feminine women's clothing in the finest fabrics, and each collection references a fashionable era in history—for example, the yacht parties of the Côte d'Azur circa 1975. Font's jewel of a shop in the Eixample has a patchwork floor of original Art Nouveau tiles, and large Murano glass chandeliers light up the fuchsia and purple walls. For those in the market, there is a gorgeous selection of bridal gowns rendered in antique lace, each bearing Font's trademark detailing: a pert, brightly colored sash here, a shoulder bow there.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 8:30 pm.
89 Las Ramblas
Tel: 34 93 318 25 84
Unlike its modern counterpart Santa Caterina, Raval's La Boqueria is loud, crowded, and boisterous. It's built on the site of an old convent, and the wrought-iron roof, stained-glass stalls, and stone columns make it a spectacular venue for some of the world's most photographed food stalls selling everything from eggs and potatoes to percebes (goose barnacles) and insects. Be sure to stop by at Lorenç Petràs's mushroom mecca and save time for lunch—either at Bar Pinotxo, Universal Kiosk, or El Quim. Each serves superlative fresh fish and seafood tapas, made all the better by a glass of local bubbly.
Tel: 34 93 412 6548
Once a butter-making factory, dating back to 1917, this facility returned to its dairy roots in 2000 when Scottish cheese expert Katherine McLoughlin opened La Seu. (The name is derived from the Catalan nickname for a cathedral, or general headquarters.) Katherine sells only Spanish artisanal cheesesnearly all from small producersthat range from nutty, deeply flavored sheep's-milk El Cascarral to creamy cow's-milk Arzúa-Ulloa from Galicia. None is held in stock, which means they're perfectly ripe when they reach the consumer. Tastings with a small pour of wine are available for under $5.
605 Avinguda Diagonal
Tel: 34 93 363 4445
The mother of all wine shops in Spainif not all of Europestocks a heady 4,000 or so labels in its 8,600-square-foot Eixample Esquerra shop. The decor is on a par with any of the flagship emporiums on the Passeig de Gràcia, and it's staffed by expert oenologists and sommeliers. Professional buyers come here to explore and learn, and there are formal courses and tastings for more casual enthusiasts. Lavinia can also help make arrangements to ship your haul home.
35 Passeig de Gràcia
Tel: 34 93 216 0400
Behind the gilded doors of Domènech i Montaner's Modernist Casa Lleó Morera in Eixample Esquerra, you'll find leather luggage, vanity cases, belts, and wallets that are highly coveted by the rich and famous and drooled over by aficionados. These investment pieces, glammed up with snakeskin, crocodile skin, and baby-soft nubuck, are likely to be passed along from generation to generation.
16 Avinguda de Francesc Cambó
Tel: 34 93 319 5740
Barcelona's most famous market, the Boqueria, now has some competition from the Mercat de Santa Caterina in El Born. Enric Miralles' multicolored, wave-roofed creation opened for business in 2005. Lit by shafts of light that flood through the pine rafters, it seems uncommonly spacious for a market, with tapas bars arranged around the outside. Be sure to stop by the city's first specialty oil shop, Olisoliva, which offers more than 100 different types of Spanish extra-virgin olive oils along with gourmet vinegars and salts (34-93-268-14-72; www.olisoliva.com). Visitors are encouraged to try before they buy.
2 Plaça Sant Gregori Taumaturg
Tel: 34 93 201 1846
Barcelona is awash in specialist chocolate shops, bijou establishments where presentation and unexpected flavors are as important as the purity of the cacao. But for something unique in the world of haute chocolate, make your way to Oriol Balaguer in a well-heeled barri above the Avinguda Diagonal. Balaguer is the son of a pastry maker and worked for seven years in the kitchen of Ferran Adrià, infusing flavors such as star anise and saffron into labored, multilayered bonbons wrapped in stylish, minimalist packaging. Like his mentor, Balaguer has elevated his culinary craft to an art form. His tiny matte-black-and-white corner establishment has the feel of a fine jewelry shop, with cakes and sweets displayed in linear glass cabinets that are backlit in dramatic violet and surrounded by a cloud of dry ice. Be sure to ask about Balaguer's "Concept Cake"—he creates a different one every month.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 2:30 pm and 5 to 9 pm, Sundays 10 am to 2:30 pm.
91 Passeig de Gràcia
Tel: 34 93 215 0674
The name Santa Eulalia has been synonymous with high fashion in Spain since 1843. The emblematic store on the upmarket Passeig de Gràcia reopened in March 2011 after a sophisticated two-year overhaul by New York interior architect William Sofield. Santa Eulalia will continue to stock collections from Balenciaga, Lanvin, and Stella McCartney but now also offers a chic café and pop-up store to showcase the latest tendencias. A separate menswear store is situated at 8 Carrer Pau Casals.—Suzanne Wales
Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 8:30 pm.
222 Carrer de Rosellón
Tel: 34 93 215 6005
When Catalan designer Toton Comella set up shop in 1987 (primarily as a luxury swimwear and lingerie collection), she attracted the attention of a number of Hollywood A-listers and the Spanish glitterati. Since then, she's launched a children's and baby line, and invented DOW XLA, a new soft and elastic textile that doesn't lose its shape. Comella's dreamy 2007 collection is unapologetically feminine: Swimwear updates retro checks and lamé with crystal details, plunging necklines, and below-the-hip belts; discreet tailoring on skinny jeans highlights the female form; and fall 2007 brings a focus on luxurious velvet, silk, and satin fabrics.
3 Plaça Sant Oriol
Tel: 34 93 302 6657
Forget china bulls and an FC Barça t-shirt: For a truly hip souvenir, check out the Vaho Gallery. Vaho, located in central Barri Gòtic, makes bags, belts, cases, and wallets out of used banderas, the huge PVC advertising banners that you see hanging from public buildings in the city. Only a snippet is used for each item, and for copyright reasons, logos and other iconography has to be discarded. But if you search you will find one with Barcelona-related imagery, generally taken from banners used for advertising publicly funded art and cultural events. Vaho's recycled "trashion" doesn't come cheap (a medium-size bag hovers around the $140 mark), but since the company employs marginalized groups to help manufacture them, in terms of political correctness, it's priceless. There is another shop at 13 Carrer Bonsuccés.
Open daily from 10 am to 8:30 pm.
96 Passeig de Gràcia
Tel: 34 93 215 6050
Selling all that's cool, classic, or just plain worthwhile in the world of designer housewares, this two-story establishment, owned by Ferran Amat (interior designer of the Casa Camper hotel) is often cited as the catalyst for the city's vibrant design culture. The focus at Vinçon is less on what's hot in the design world as on what is simply good design (Amat personally chooses each item that he stocks), from a can opener made by a small Italian manufacturer to a chaise longue from a top outdoor furniture manufacturer like Dedon. Be sure to explore the outdoor furniture section on the terrace; there's a brilliant side view of the private balconies of Gaudí's La Pedrera next door.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 8:30 pm.