Sunday, April 6, 2014

Open a casual seafood eatery, diners will come: Carmine's Crab Shack in Palm Beach Gardens

Carmine’s Crab Shack
2000 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens
Open daily 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.


By Jane Feehan

Carmine’s Crab Shack was open only two days when we ventured in to try some seafood. Normally I’d wait until a restaurant has its groove on before writing about it but this place is well on its way. Carmine Giardini has already chaulked up a number of dining successes in South Florida and in Palm Beach Gardens.

His newest eatery was filling up a few minutes before noon but we were immediately seated in the rustic sea-themed dining room at a large booth. Its table was covered with brown paper for those who indulge in crabs but for us it was too early to enjoy their headliner. Instead, we ordered a lobster roll, a Maryland crab cake sandwich and Clams Oreganata.

Delivered on a roll with a bulky piece of lettuce to give appearance of meat aplenty, the very fresh lobster sandwich would have been near perfect with a tablespoon more of the sea meat and a pinch of spice. Lots of fries and tiny sides of tasteless coleslaw or equally dull potato salad came with the meals.
(Management is deliberating whether fries will be included for the sake of presentation going forward. I vote YES.) The Maryland crab cake was made with more crab meat than bread, the way they should be. Clams Oreganata—clams in the shell baked with breadcrumbs and olive oil with a sprinkle of cheese—were delicious.

Carmine’s menu is ambitious with seafood galore: crabs, shrimp, lobster, fish, seafood tacos, PEI mussels, Ipswich clams, conch fritters, conch salad and more.  A few pasta entrees, some  meat dishes and a kids menu will quash any reason for not visiting Carmine’s Crab Shack.  It’s casual, reasonably priced and features a large, friendly bar (filled by 1 p.m.) for dining or socializing. Our server did a great job and the manager came by to ask if we had any suggestions as we left. This will be a busy dining spot; they are off to a great start.






Tags: Seafood restaurant Palm Beach Gardens, casual dining Palm Beach Gardens, lobster in Palm Beach Gardens, conch fritters in Palm Beach Gardens.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easter brunch & dining 2014 - Broward and Palm Beach counties





Here are a few ideas for Easter 2014 dining. Some listed serve brunch. More may be added.


Fort Lauderdale

Beauty and the Feast - 954-567-8070
Atlantic Hotel & Spa
601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd
www.society8.com
Breakfast/brunch 7 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Blue Moon Fish Co. 954-267-9888
4405 W. Tradewinds Ave.
Lauderdale by the Sea, 33308
Brunch 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Adults $58.95 (plus tax and tip); children 6-12  $24 (plus tax and tip) ; children under six, free
http://bluemoonfishco.com/

B-Ocean Hotel - 954-564-1000
999 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale
10 a.m. -2 pm. free. Adults-$69- (plus tax and tip); children $31- (plus tax and tip); under five free
www.bhotelsandresorts.com/

Grille 401 - 954-767-0222
401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Open 2-9 - Easter and regular menu
www.grille401.com/

American  Social – 954-764-7005
721 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Lunch menu and buffet – 11a.m. -2:30 p.m.
americansocialbar.com

15th Street Fisheries - 954-763-2777
1900 SE 15th Street, Fort Lauderdale
Easter dinner (check hours) Chef's lobster special
www.15streetfisheries.com

Chart House - 954-561-4800
3000 NE 32 Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Serving 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
chart-house.com

Chima Steakhouse - 954-712-0580
2400 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 
Noon to 3 p.m.; 4 to 9 p.m.
Brunch: $42.50 Adults; $21.50 children
http://chima.cc/site/  

Coconuts 954-525-2421
429 Seabreeze Blvd,,Fort Lauderdale 33316
Brunch 9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.; regular menu rest of day
http://coconutsfortlauderdale.com/

Foxy Brown 754-200-4236
723 E. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Brunch all day - 9:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.
http://myfoxybrown.com/

Johnny V -954-761-7920
625 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Brunch 11:30 a.m.
www.johnnyvlasolas.com/

J Marks - 954-390-0770
1245 N. Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale
Open 11-3

Lauderdale Grill - 954-524-1118
1901 Cordova Rd., Harbor Shops - Fort Lauderdale
Brunch from 10 am
www.lauderdalegrill.com

Lips Fort Lauderdale - The Ultimate in Drag Dining - 954-567-0987
Three-course lunch - $23.50
1421 E. Oakland Park Blvd.
www.floridalips.com/

Lobster Bar & Sea Grill - 954-772-2675
450 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Open noon to 9 p.m. - Dinner menu
www.buckheadrestaurants.com/lobster-bar-sea-grille

Marriott Harbor Beach     Main number 954-525-4000
3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale
Riva Restaurant 954-765-3100  
Brunch – various seatings
www.marriott.com

Pelican Grand Beach Resort    954-568-9431
2000 North Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
North Ocean Grill
Serving  brunch: Seatings at 11:30 to 3:30 p.m.
www.pelicanbeach.com/

Riverside Hotel 954-467-0045
Brunch: 11:00 am – 4 p.m.
620 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
http://www.riversidehotel.com/

Aruba Beach Café   954-776-0001
1 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale by-the-Sea, Florida 33308
Easter breakfast brunch: 9 – 11:30 a.m.
http://arubabeachcafe.com/

Downtowner Saloon 954-463-9800
Special Easter Brunch - 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
10 S. New River Drive East, Fort Lauderdale
http://downtownersaloon.com/

Bimini Boatyard 954-525-7400
Brunch: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
1555 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale
www.biminiboatyard.com/

W Hotel – 954-414-8200
401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Steak 954  - a la carte menu 11 am-3 pm
www.wfortlauderdalehotel.com

Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale 954-465-2300
Via Luna, Noon to 4 p.m.         
1 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
www.ritzcarlton.com/

Shooter's Waterfront - 954-566-2855 (New owner, renovated)
3033 NE 32 Ave, Fort Lauderdale 33308
Open at 11:30 - regular menu
www.shooterswaterfront.com/

Thasos Greek Taverna - 954-200-6006
3330 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
A la carte lunch - open at 2 p.m.
http://thasosgreektaverna.com/

Margate
McDivot's at Carolina Golf Club - 954-753-3500, ext 207
3011 Rock Island Rd.
Grand buffet - call for hours
www.carolinagolfclub.com/

Dania

Tropical Acres 954-989-2500 
Easter menu, check for hours
2500 Griffin Rd., Dania
www.tropicalacres.com/ 

Hollywood

GG's  954-929-7030
606 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood
Brunch 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
www.ggswaterfront.com/

Pompano Beach

Galuppi’s 954-785-0226
1103 North Federal Hwy, Pompano Beach
Brunch: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
http://galuppis.com/

J Marks - 954-782-7000
Copans (NE 23 St), just west of Federal
Open 11-3

Seaside Grill - 954-783-3193
1406 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano
Brunch 10 a.m.
www.seasidegrill.com


Deerfield Beach

Deer Creek Golf Club      954-421-5553
Grille Room
2801 Country Club Blvd., Deerfield Beach
Serving  brunch:  Check for hours
www.deercreekflorida.com/

Embassy Suites
BT’s Oceanfront 954-426-0478
950 SE 20 Ave, Deerfield Beach
Easter dinner:  12:30-6 pm.
http://bit.ly/1pGh346

JB's on the Beach 954-571-5220
300 North Ocean Blvd., Deerfield Beach
Brunch: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
www.jbsonthebeach.com/

Oceans 234                     954-428-2539
234 N. Ocean Blvd., Deerfield Beach 33441
Brunch  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
www.oceans234.com/
  
Osteria Sapori - 754-227-5961 – Lunch-Dinner
1554 SE 3rd Ct, Deerfield
http://osteriasapori.com/index.php

Boynton Beach

Prime Catch  – 561-737-8822
700 East Woolbright Rd. Boynton Beach
Regular menu; call to check about special brunch
www.primecatchboynton.com/

Delray Beach

Atlantic Grille -561-665-4900 at  the Seagate Hotel
1000 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach
Easter Brunch 9 a.m-2:30
www.theatlanticgrille.com

D'Angelo Trattoria - 561-330-1237
9 SE 7th Ave, Delray Beach
Dinner 5-10 p.m.

Deck 84 -561-665-8484
840 East Atlantic Blvd., Delray Beach
Brunch (regular) starting at 11 a.m.  – call for details

Sundy House        561-272-5678
106 S. Swinton Avenue, Delray Beach, Florida  33444
Brunch   Seatings start at 10:30 and end with 7 pm seating

Old Calypso      561-279-2300
900 E. Atlantic Blvd. Delray Beach, Florida 33483
Brunch: 11 a.m. -4 p.m.

Marriott Delray Beach     561-274-3219
10 N. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach, Florida  
Brunch in the Seacrest Ball Room with seatings from 11 a.m.-  2:30 p.m.

Boca Raton

Abe & Louie's - 561-447-0024
2200 W. Glades Rd Boca Raton, FL 
Serving brunch 11:30 am-3 pm
www.abeandlouies.com

Brio Tuscan Grille 561-392-3777
Brunch 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
5050 Town Center Circle,Boca Raton 
www.brioitalian.com

Josephine's 561-988-0688
5751 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton
Easter Dinner 5-10 pm

Renaissance Hotel (Marriott) 561-368-5252
2000 N.W. 19th St., Boca Raton
Brunch 
www.marriott.com

Jupiter

The Bistro 561-744-5054
2133 South U.S. Highway 1, Jupiter
Easter menu 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Sugar Cane Island Bistro - 561-743-4177
353 South US Hwy 1, Jupiter, FL
Brunch 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa   561-746-2511
Sinclair’s - Buffet: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
5 North A1A Jupiter, Florida 33477
www.jupiterbeachresort.com/

Schooners 561-746-7558
1001 N. Hwy A1A, Jupiter
Brunch: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Palm Beach Gardens

Cafe Chardonnay - 561-627-2662
4533 PGA Blvd.
Palm Beach Gardens
Brunch menu 11 a.m. 2:30 p.m.; dinner at 4 p.m.

Paddy Mac's 561-691-4366
10971 N. Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens
Usually open at noon pm. Call to check for Easter hours. Brunch and lunch, dinner

Waterway Café 561-694-1700
2300 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens
Serving brunch 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
www.waterwaycafe.com

Grandes Bella Cucina - 561-932-0840
4580 Donald Ross Rd.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Brunch 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
www.grandesflorida.com

Palm Beach

The Breakers Palm Beach     561-659-8488
One South County Road Palm Beach
Several venues for brunch. Call or visit website for details 
www.thebreakers.com

Ta-boo 561-835-3500
221 Worth Avenue, Palm Beach
Serving brunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Charley’s Crab Palm Beach 561-659-1500
456 South Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach
Brunch: 10 a.m – 2:30 p.m.

Chesterfield Palm Beach (hotel) 561-659-5800
Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach
Leopard Restaurant
Brunch served 11 a.m -2:30 p.m.

Eau Palm Beach (formerly the Ritz) 561-533-6000
100 S Ocean Blvd, Manalapan
Call for seatings
www.eaupalmbeach.com

Four Seasons Hotel -561-582-2800
2800 South Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach
The Restaurant
Brunch : 12-6 p.m

Michael R. McCarty's 
561-659-1899 
50 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach
Regular brunch 11 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
www.michaelrmccartyspalmbeach.com

Palm Beach Grill
340 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach
Open normal hours (no brunch) 5-10 p.m.
www.hillstone.com/  

Dune Deck Cafe        561-582-0472 - very casual
100 N. Ocean Blvd. 7 am - 4:30
Lantana, FL (across from the Eau de Palm Beach) 33462
www.dunedeckcafe.com/

Testa’s -561-832-0992
221 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach
Brunch (regular brunch):  7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
www.testasrestaurants.com/

Omphoy Ocean Resort -561-540-6440
2842 South Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach
The Terrace  - (regular Sunday Brunch) – 11:30-3 p.m.
omphoy.com

West Palm Beach

Elks Club
Buffet  10 a.m-2 p.m.
Adults $21.95; children under 12: $15.95
Easter egg hunt 2-3 p.m.
Call X-Cel catering at 814-270-3120

E.R. Bradleys – 561-833-3520
104 Clematis St., West Palm Beach
Brunch: 8 a.m-2 p.m.
www.erbradleys.com

Hilton Palm Beach Airport -561-684-9400
150 Australian Ave., West Palm Beach
Brunch served in ballroom - call for details

Wellington
International Polo Club 561-204-5687
3667 120th Ave., Wellington
Easter Brunch 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (open to public)


Tags: Easter brunch 2014 Fort Lauderdale. Easter brunch Broward County, Easter brunch Palm Beach, 
Easter dining in Broward County, Easter dining Palm Beach, Easter brunch Hollywood, Easter 2014, 
Easter brunch in Boynton





Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kitchenetta - modern Italian family style. Sort of.

Kitchenetta
2850 N. Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306
954-567-3333
Tues-Thurs: 5:30-10 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 5:30-11 p.m.
Sun: 5:30-9 p.m.
kitchenetta.com


By Jane Feehan

A stark modern setting with bare floors and high ceilings and an equally austere patio facing Federal Highway belies Kitchenetta’s concept of traditional Italian family-style presentation. Its ascetic décor seems to beckon the trendy set rather than families with children on an outing.

But family style entrées created in a busy open air kitchen dominate a board of daily specials brought to each diner. They really push these daily offerings, which include quality seafood. Mussels and clams served in a flavorful, full-bodied red sauce was enough for three as an appetizer. They were delicious as was the main course of fresh cod loaded with cherry tomatoes and cured olives—again for about three mouths. A side order of Italian broccoli in oil and hot pepper flakes could be shared by at least four. They make bread to “order,” which is really (they say) pizza dough with nothing atop. It’s great to sop up sauce with but not impressive on its own. Ask for two forks when ordering their ricotta cheesecake, which is not too sweet—the Italian way—and with lots of texture.

No half or side orders of pasta here, but they do serve both single and family-sized portions from the regular menu. On Sundays, Kitchenetta cooks up the time-honored weekend meal of macaroni and gravy (pasta served with slow-cooked red sauce and various meats). It’s the dish that would keep Nona, grandmother, in the kitchen at home for hours.

If one can get the hang of how and what to order, a delicious meal awaits, but family-style here seems more a profitable revenue model than homage to Italian culture.  I’ll return for the pizza. They do try hard to please and service is excellent. Just don’t expect an old-style neighborhood Italian eatery with candles, cozy corners—or pasta side dishes. Reservations recommended. Beer and wine. Free valet parking.








Tags: Italian restaurants Fort Lauderdale, east Fort Lauderdale restaurants, Fort Lauderdale pizza

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fresh First, where gluten-free and flavor team up in Fort Lauderdale

Fresh First
1637 SE 17th Street (next to Bimini Boatyard)
Fort Lauderdale, 33316
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Delivery available

By Jane Feehan

A gluten-free diet may be the latest food fad to some; for others it’s required eating to stay out of a doctor’s office or hospital. For both groups it’s often equated with deprivation of tasty foods. Not so at Fresh First, a small café off the 17th Street Causeway, which touts itself as “South Florida’s first 100 percent gluten-free organic eatery and juicery.”

It’s healthy at this casual restaurant, but most important, the food is good. Lots of salad choices grace the menu but there is a terrific selection of sandwiches—turkey or veggie burgers, grilled chicken, tuna melts, vegetable Paninis, grilled cheese—and quinoa dishes, raw foods, and house-made soups. Their version of gluten-free bread is a perfect envelope for any sandwich. I sampled a mushroom turkey burger with a side of organic slaw for about $14 and ended the meal with a marvelous cranberry cookie of the day (about $4). It’s somewhat pricey, but Fresh First has gluten-free and organic down to an art form; there are no flavor deficits here. They offer a children's menu, a few desserts, including cupcakes, and breakfast. They also sell organic wines.

The big test was to indulge in one of their Belgian waffles with bananas and walnuts for breakfast. The waffle, fluffy and ample, will appeal to all who like to start the day off with a little healthy decadence. (Yes, at Fresh First these two words do go together.) Their breakfast menu includes egg sandwiches, Eggs Benedict, omelets, turkey bacon, chicken apple sausage, oatmeal and yogurt.

My only complaint is that Fresh First is not open for dinner or at all on Sundays. Logistics: The valet from Bimini Boatyard (close to the Renaissance Hotel) parks cars for Fresh First. Parking is also available in the adjacent garage; with a receipt from Fresh First, the charge will be waived. This cafe is tucked away, out of sight from 17th Street, but look for Bimini Boatyard.




Tags: Gluten-free restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, organic restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, restaurants on 17th Street Causeway, raw foods in Fort Lauderdale

Saturday, February 1, 2014

No pizza but it's FAST Italian food??? ... it's italio!

italio 
Modern Italian Kitchen
2151 N. Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale 33305
Lunch, dinner. Catering available


By Jane Feehan 

It’s fast Italian food they say. The words fast and Italian are seldom found in the same sentence unless pizza is involved so I entered recent newcomer to Fort Lauderdale’s fast food scene, italio, a skeptic.

I left the place sold on its concept.

OK, so one won’t find Nana’s Sunday gravy here or classics such as lasagna, ravioli or gnocchi, but if you’re in the mood for something tasty, Italian, inexpensive and totally casual, it’s here. They also serve wine and beer.

There's spaghetti—whole wheat or white flour—with a choice of seven hot (alfredo, pomodoro, spicy prima rosa) or cold sauces (fresh basil, sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper, arrabbiata). Spicy prima rosa was flavorful and light on the oil.  italio also offers toppings that morph the pasta bowls into complete entrées with a choice of vegetables, meatballs, sausage, steak, shrimp or chicken.

They’ll put together a salad with a variety of veggies and toss it on the spot with a dressing. Very fresh.  Italio
One of the dining areas;
another sits out of sight of counter
also makes an Italian wrap (piadina) with the same mix and match of toppings they serve with the pasta. Dessert is limited to cannoli chips but it’s enough.

Fill out the meal with a breadstick, soup or calamari and it’s starting to taste like an Italian Sunday meal at someone’s house, if not Nana’s.

The same menu is available lunch and dinner; italio is doing a brisk business during both meal times. A children's menu offers the same choices but at reduced prices. With a dining room set apart from the serving counter, italio may not feel like a fast food joint. 

Currently, there are three italio restaurants in Florida—Winter Park, Fort Lauderdale, Boca—and one in Orland Park, IL; others are planned for Coconut Creek,  Orlando, and Tampa. The Fort Lauderdale store sits across Federal Highway from Whole Foods Market with easy parking in the rear and an outdoor patio in front. 

Thumbs up for italio. Buon appetito! 

Tags: Fast Italian food in Fort Lauderdale, fast Italian food in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale restaurants, party catering

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf: a three-in-one venue in Jupiter

Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf
   The Burger Shack
   3Scoops
617 N. A1A Jupiter 33477
561-203-7965
Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days


Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf officially opens this week in Jupiter. It’s a three-in-one enterprise that combines miniature golf in a fishing village-themed setting, a casual eatery with flat screen TVs to watch sports events and an ice cream store that also serves wine and beer.


This welcome addition to Jupiter, one block from the beach, close to Dubois Park, promises to be a popular place; the golf course was busy a week before the official opening Jan. 8—and before the adjacent  Burger Shack started serving.

The 36-hole course features sea life-sized figures of sharks and other fish, boats, caves, waterfalls and more. It’s the perfect setting for group events, children’s parties, a date or family outing. For rates, see: www.LighthouseCoveJupiter.com.

Tags: Things to do in Jupiter, miniature golf, burgers, casual dining in Jupiter












Friday, December 27, 2013

New Year's Eve parties in Fort Lauderdale and ...


Below are some notable events that will usher in the New Year in Fort Lauderdale and one in Delray.  All casinos in South Florida feature special events (see http://bit.ly/1fGTPuX for a list) and nearly every restaurant will be open. Happy New Year!

Orange Bowl Downtown Countdown – Free. Southwest Second Street and Southwest 5th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Two stages for music, 4:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. Call 954-828-5363 or see FortLauderdale.gov

Old Hollywood party at Stache at 109 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets start at $62 and include an open bar from 10 p.m. to midnight, hors d'oeuvres, burlesque dancers, music by Bobby Lee Rodgers and the Bourbon Boys, a champagne toast at midnight and a balloon drop. Go to Ticketmaster.com or see http://barstache.com/

Masquerade Ball -W Hotel at Whiskey Blue and Living Room Tickets are $150 and VIP table service will be available at both Living Room and Whiskey Blue, with offers for a group of six for $400 at Whiskey Blue. 401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. 954-414-8200. See http://www.wfortlauderdalehotel.com

Black and White dress affair at Vibe, 301 Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale – 954-713-7313.

Masquerade Ball at Lips (“Ultimate in Drag Dining”). 1421 E. Oakland Park Blvd. Fort Lauderdale. 954-567-0987 or visit: www.lipsusa.com. $35 to $75.

Blue Martini – 2432 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale. $40 per person – open bar and music, watch Times Square ball drop. 954-653-2583 or visit www.BlueMartiniLounge.com

Resorts World Bimini Cruise 9 p.m. – 6 a.m. from $149 per person. Call 888-930-8688 or visit  www.rwbimini.com. Ship leaves from Miami.

First Night 2014 - Downtown Delray - 4 p.m. to midnight. $15 unless purchased before the event.
Music, food, art and more. 561-279-1380 x 108
See http://www.visitdelraybeach.org/first-night-2014

Tags: New Year's Eve Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas New Year's Eve

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Marriott's Renaissance Barcelona ... a great way to begin or end a trip to Spain or Mediterranean cruise




Renaissance Barcelona
Pau Claris
122 Barcelona, Barcelona 08009
+34 932 723810

By Jane Feehan

Marriott’s Renaissance Barcelona lies within walking distance of touristy Las Ramblas but far enough away from its nightly noisy revelry.  It was recently renovated and exudes an understated contemporary ambiance. We asked for an upgrade because many hotel rooms in Europe are small and do not have twin or queen beds.

It was worth the 120 Euros extra we paid. The beds were large and comfortable, the bathroom spacious
and modern. If you don’t travel with a power converter, they do have a few available. This will make those happy who depend on a hair dryer every day but travel with the 110 volt model.

Their dining room serves a beautiful breakfast buffet with an array of breads, sweet rolls, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and typical American fare of eggs and bacon. This restaurant does not serve dinner but they do offer room service and will deliver a meal to the bar, which is what we did. Many guests are Americans awaiting cruise ship departures, so the atmosphere is quite festive. The bar staffers knocked themselves out on
Halloween to provide a good time for all.

A number of inexpensive cafés for breakfast and restaurants serving dinner line nearby streets. Most establishments close down in the late afternoon to reopen at 7 or 8 p.m. El Corte Ingles, a large department store similar to Macy's but more expansive (there’s even a hardware section), sits a few blocks away along Paseo de Gracia, a main thoroughfare leading to Las Ramblas. It does not close mid day.

If heading to Las Ramblas be careful with wallets and purses; it hosts the largest number of pick pockets of any city in Europe. Be sure to stop at the open air market, the large supermercado off Las Ramblas. Fantastic seafood restaurants lie along its perimeter and throughout.

The only complaint I have about the Renaissance Barcelona is the checkout process. A large crowd descended upon the lobby desk at the same time and only one bellman was there to help with luggage. We took our own luggage down after we located a cart.  This was very inconvenient as we were carrying four large suitcases. Barcelona is a cruise city; this hotel serves many cruise passengers. By now the checkout process should be down to a science. Last impressions can be as important as first ones … That said, I was happy to see my Marriott Rewards account credited with the stay and points soon after. Their staff is excellent.

A taxi ride from the airport to the hotel runs about 25 Euros; it's about the same fare from the hotel to the port.

Tags: Barcelona hotels, Marriott hotels, cruise hotels, Celebrity cruises, Carnival European cruises