Carrer Parlament, which runs along the lower part of Barcelona in the residential Sant Antoni quarter of the Eixample district, has recently received some much needed rejuvenation and is now awash with great places to eat out and buy fresh, well sourced, local produce. This up and coming part of Barcelona is just a stone’s throw away from the famous Mercat Sant Antoni, which is currently being renovated.
Located at number 27 is Vinito, the wine shop and one of the longest running establishments on Carrer Parlament. They’ve recently extended their services into a bar as well. It’s a great place to duck in to and have a glass or two whilst browsing the barrels or alternatively there's a terrace outside to relax on with a drink.
Next door at number 25 is the popular and fun Bar Calders, which is a great spot to head to for all occasions, including morning coffee, delicious tapas dinner or an evening drink. Whatever your tipple Bar Calders is sure to satisfy with its endless drinks menu. Its renowned for it’s vermouth especially the Falset, which can be nursed on the sprawling terrace down the side street of the bar. Other specialties include the limited addition of Sant Antoni red wine, which is made sparingly each year. The inside design of the bar is decorated with paintings by Ramón Lamarca who’s one of the founders.
Next down the street at number 39 is the Federal Café, the trendy brunch go-to that offers affordable and appetising food. Federal Café was born out of the owners recognising a niche for a breakfast and brunch spot in Barcelona. The owners are Australians and the down-under easygoingness is evident in the uber relaxed atmosphere of the joint. The café's laid back vibe has been extremely popular with both locals and those visiting the city. With its leafy garden roof terrace the café the ideal spot to hang out and enjoy Barcelona’s never ending sunshine whilst drinking a delicious fresh coffee. The light, casual décor that flows through both floors reflects Federal Café's tranquil. The menu has an emphasis on eco friendly, freshly and locally grown produce. Although brunch is Federal Café’s specialty, lunch and dinner are also available and very recommendable.
At number 19 is Tarannà Bar & Café, which only recently opened it doors. Josechu, the owner, has created a communal, homely environment with an airy, light feel and vintage wooden furniture. Keeping with the communal theme the tables are shared or alternatively its possible to sit on the window stills that look out onto the street.
The menu is varied with offerings including traditional French delicacies and a variety of tasty tapas' and sandwiches. For dessert be tempted by the mouth watering homemade cakes. In terms of beverages the drinks list doesn’t disappoint with an array of teas, coffee, juices, wines, beers and spirits all available.
Nextdoor at number 17 is another recent addition to Carrer Parlament Zucker Haus, a boutique bakery owned by German Italian Manuela. Manuela’s culture is reflected in the selection of cakes on offer, such as black forest gateaux and plum frangipane tart. Swing by Zucker Haus and enjoy the delicious delights while making use of the indoor seating available. Also if you need a caffeine boost tea and coffee are amongst the treats. This is the perfect place to pop into to refuel whilst browsing all Carrer Parlament has to offer.
Address: Carrer del Parlament, 08015 Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
Google map: bit.ly/14JDbTY
* Hatty is our Been there local for Barcelona. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/barcelona-local-hatty-copeman.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/barcahiddencorners.jsp
I would really like to recommend a new restaurant in Barcelona called Llamber. It's situated in the new hip area of Born. It's one of the few places in Barcelona, where you get a free pitxo (mini tapas) with your glass of wine. For the wine lover they have 150 different wines, 30 by glass and they start from only 2,5€. Also they have a really good a la carte menu with different kinds of tapas, tables of cheeses and Spanish ham, dessert etc., all served in a creative and beautiful way.
I love to go there because the food is delicious and it's a really friendly and informal place with beautiful decoration.
Just a stone throw away from La Rambla - Barcelona's busiest street - Boadas is a hidden cocktail bar. The oldest cocktail bar in town, is snug and authentic. The cocktails are fantastic, the waiters dressed in tails and the crowd engaging.
Carrer dels Tallers, 1, 08002, Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 18 95 92
Google map: bit.ly/11LIijI
I found this little cocktail bar just off the Ramblas during my last summer in Barcelona. My best friend Lucy and I loved it here. There are no drinks menus, you just tell the suit-clad barmen what you like and they'll invent it for you. It's the perfect place to escape the soaring heat and rat-race of central Barcelona, without walking too far. There is no strict dress code, but it's probably best if you don't wear trainers here. The low jazz music keeps a comfortable mellow vibe running through this small bar and has kept my interest for years.
Carrer dels Tallers, 1, 08002, Barcelona Spain
+34 933 18 95 92
Google map: bit.ly/S9QZ3g
Bar Avesta is one of the few Zoroastrian themed bars you'll find the world. It's got a great medieval, cozy type feel to it, with its low wooden beamed ceiling and rustic wooden benches. It is located in a converted wine cellar and as well as serving some of the most delicious tapas in Barcelona, it also serves some of the cheapest shots. The bar also serves the famous drink, leche de pantera, a kind of pink alcoholic milk that is pretty delicious.
My best friend and I found this place by chance. It's so easy to walk past and looks like nothing from outside but when you walk through the door you're welcomed into a cool, refreshing cocktail bar where there's no drinks list - just ask and they'll make it! It's a quirky escape from the rush of city life. It's also very reasonably priced, but there is an unspoken dress code of smart-casual.
C/Tallers 1, El Raval
Google map: bit.ly/L5YemV
There are a few other nice bars and restaurants nearby but CDLC is by far the best choice. This place serves as a cool, swanky and fashionable eaterie by day and a trendy bar/club by night. Decked out in a fusion of Oriental and Mediterranean decor and ornaments, it's hard not to be drawn in. It's a great place to go for lunch after a stroll/swim at the beach. During the day we took in the glorious sunshine and relaxed on the huge outdoor loungers - the size of a double bed - at the front of the restaurant. It's very much a casual yet chic dining experience. The food was great and elegantly presented. I'd recommend the rice dishes or club sandwiches if it's a light bite you're after. It's a bit pricey but you're paying not only for the food but also the ambience and experience. We came back here later on at night. The atmosphere was completely different, but in a good way. By night CDLC is transformed into a slick, sophisticated and enchanting club where you can reserve individual indoor lounges which are partitioned by long white drapes - it has an almost mystic Middle Eastern feel. Opposite the lounge area is the bar which served a wide range of cocktails. Further back is the dance floor - music policy ranged from chart/dance/electronica/hiphop, so something for all preferences.
This cosy little place next to the Sagrada Familia is the only place I found in the tourist heart of the city that does not try to ruin your wallet. It has an eclectic decor with Banksy prints and about 100 pairs of sunglasses. All the tables are home made, and the food is extraordinary. It ranges from salads and soups, to burritos and nachos and covers tapas in between. The quality is very good and its not expensive at all. They have a terrace overlooking the Sagrada Familia, and if you stay there till night falls like we did it all goes a little bit crazy. How they fit that many people in the place escapes me, but the owners introduced us to about 20 new friends from all over the world. Great food, great company, good times, highly recommended
Take the lift to the roof-top terrace for smashing views over the harbour. Open from 11.00 till 01.30 at the weekends and till midnight during the week you can book a meal or just enjoy a drink and the view. There’s live music and cocktails too. It’s a great place to cool off and chill out.
On the other side of the Cathedral, down Carrer de Montjuïc del Bisbe, which is to the right of the small square by the cloisters, you’ll find the Plaça Sant Felip Neri, a most beautiful square with trees and a fountain. The pock marks you can see in the stonework of the church were caused by a bomb dropped by the Italian Air force during the Civil War. All the people, mostly children, sheltering in the church crypt were killed by the concussion. The square is mostly made from buildings moved stone by stone when the Vía Laietana was opened. Across the square you’ll see the terrace of the Beautiful Hotel Neri where you can get a bite to eat and a drink from 10.00 till 23.00 and until midnight at weekends. If the square is not too busy, it’s a fine place to sit. Pop inside the hotel and wonder at the proportions of the stonework.
Café Flanders is on the corner of a pleasant square at the farther end of Gràcia, a square retaining much more local flavour than the other, more central ones. An ideal spot for relaxation and a quiet drink to regroup after shopping in Gràcia or visiting the nearby Park Güell. A fine selection of beers and wines. You can find them on Facebook.
As a curiosity, there’s a bronze statue of Rovira i Trias, one of Cerdà’s competitors in the tender for designing Barcelona’s Eixample; his plans, based on concentric developments around the old town, lie discarded at his feet.
Plaça Rovira i Trias, 1 Barcelona, 08024
+34 93 284 3070
Google map: bit.ly/pbXL76
The undisputed classic of the Plaça del Sol, the Café del Sol is a must if you’re in the area. The whole square gets jam-packed with tables and chairs to the point of making hard to tell to which bar is which. It would be a shame to miss it outside peak hours though.
Plaça del Sol 16, 08012 Barcelona
+34 934 155 663
Google map: bit.ly/mXmLRo
Located on the corner of the Plaça de la Virreina, the Bar Virreina has a great terrace with views of a modernist building by Gaudí’s assistant Francesc Berenguer and the church of Sant Joan, burned down during Barcelona’s Tragic Week in 1909. Berenguer who had built it, restored it; it was burned down again in 1936 and restored once more after the Civil War.
Back to business. The Bar Virreina has a good selection of imported beers and does a tasty sandwich.
Exhausted and thirsty after negotiating the crowded Rambles? Tired after traipsing around the shops on Portal del Àngel? Pop into this four-star hotel on the Plaça de Catalunya itself and relax in the shade of the apsis of Romanic Santa Ana Church. (That’s two secrets in one.) Incredible as it may seem, 30 seconds from Plaça de Catalunya is a Romanic church complete with beautiful cloisters; this hotel backs onto it and you can see parts of it from the terrace. Open all day so you can have breakfast, a set lunch and a la carte dinner, as well as drinks. Don’t miss it.
Plaça Catalunya 19, 08002 Barcelona
+34 93 316 87 00
A member of the same group as the Granados 83, the Claris offers cocktails and drinks on their rooftop terrace between 18.00 and 01.00. Lunch and dinner are also available. The Hotel Claris is located on the very busy Carrer Pau Claris and is a very handy refuge if you’re nearby and feeling the heat. Along with classic cocktails, El Terrat del Claris makes fine non-alcoholic cocktails for those who prefer them.
The Hotel Condes de Barcelona occupies two buildings, on both side of Carrer Mallorca on the corner of Passeig de Gràcia. The building on the lower side is home to Alaire, a rooftop terrace serving cocktails, drinks and snacks and open to the public. You get great views over Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Milà (La Pedrera) included, and a glimpse of the Sagrada Familia in the background.
It’s a very pleasant place for a snack during the day, though not cheap, and there is live music on Wednesdays and Sundays in summer.
This roof-top retreat is a personal favourite. Relax by the small pool and enjoy a quiet restorative or snack. The bar opens from 18.00 till 01.00 during the week and till 02.00 at the weekends.
This is a modern hotel on Carrer Roselló between Aribau and Enric Granados. To the side of the hotel are gates leading to one of L’Eixample’s interior patios. This little area is known as the Jardins Joan Brossa after the contemporary poet.
Part of the gardens is given over to the hotel restaurant and bar terrace. You can enjoy a meal or drink here in peace and quiet surrounded by greenery and the curious interior architecture of L’Eixample.
If the gates to the jardins happen to be closed –after about eight in the evening– just walk through the hotel and out the back doors onto the terrace.
However, avoid this place at all costs around five in the afternoon in term time. It quickly becomes a hell-hole of screaming brats who, freed from the tyranny of their teachers, burn off their accumulated frustrations and blast your tranquility to jagged bits.
Now, Casa Jaime is not the sort of place visitors normally go: it’s a workingman’s bar and lunch restaurant serving simple fare. However, Jaime, the owner, is from Soria and among the tapas you can try are his Iberian cured sausages and – my special recommendation – his homemade croquetas. Now a good croqueta is never born; it’s always made from scraps of meat and vegetables from other dishes, notably stews. At Casa Jaime, the croquetas are made from the meat and veg left over from the thick chicken and meat stew known in Catalonia as escudella.
Massive and misshapen, these authentic croquetas bear little resemblance to those industrial cylinders facetiously served as the real thing in unsavoury bars devoted to tricks on travellers.
Jaime’s octogenarian mom spends a couple of hours separating and shredding the ingredients, mixing them with a thick béchamel and coating them in crumbs.
Anyone wishing to experience the genuine traditional croqueta should drop in, order a couple and wash them down with a bottle of Moritz, Barcelona’s original beer.
Moritz appeared in 1856, disappeared in the late nineteen seventies and has now made a triumphant reappearance. Its distinctive yellow and blue label, fine graphic design and superb marketing knock the hell out of Estrella Damm’s pretentious efforts to be trendy. The beer’s great, too; Moritz brings spring water from the Montseny massif and uses only the finest hop flowers in its fermentation. The beer tastes fresh, clean and delicate.
Enric Granados 107, 08008 Barcelona
+34 93 218 10 55
Google map: bit.ly/jKeLAA
After spending two weeks in arty, alternative Gràcia it’s now my favourite Barcelona barrio. Predominantly a working class area, its residents are largely university students, artists, musicians, and designers, which explains the abundance of art galleries, boutiques, ateliers, and music stores that line the narrow lanes. It’s a living breathing neighbourhood with plenty to do if you like eating, drinking, shopping, and hanging out in cafés, bars, and sunny squares. It’s a good fifteen-minute walk to Plaça de Catalunya, although you can catch the underground train and it’s faster, but this means you’ll rarely see a tourist in Gràcia, which is what I like most about it. It’s not far from posh L’Eixample, where there are chic shops and some of Barcelona’s best restaurants, and it’s close to Park Güell, which is a short hike (or bus ride) up the hill.
Google map: bit.ly/jjAPGY
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