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Unlike Herrera, Adolfo Dominguez, whose big, busy boutique is a full-service depot for upper-middle-class Barcelonese, is an authentic native son, having grown up in Galicia.

Conservative styles (office-ready trousers, dinner-worthy pleated skirts) are enlivened with slight twists and bursts of color, and the tony patrons are lapping it up.

To accomplish this, we have only to stick our heads outside of our hotel's revolving doors.

A mammoth curved wooden staircase leads to international high-end labels—Lanvin, Marc Jacobs—along with a cache of those coveted fringed Balenciaga bags.

Though the place reopened a mere 10 minutes before we got there, it's already so crowded we have to take a number.

La Manual Alpargatera is the quintessential Barcelona outpost: it's steeped in history (there's a photo on the wall of faithful customer Salvador Dalí, who wore his espadrilles with his summer suits) but boasts unimpeachable street cred (Jean Paul Gaultier is currently a client).

The Plaça Reial, with its fading Neoclassical façades and Antoni Gaudí lampposts, is a lovely oasis, just a few steps from bustling La Rambla.

But quite frankly, we've been nursing dessert for more than an hour and enough is enough.

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