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.
Cal Boter is the right place to try traditional Catalan restaurant food in Barcelona. They cook the kind of food you might find in a restaurant in the country, but they are in one of the most traditional, full of local flavor, barrios of Barcelona.
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
The first stop for vegetarians and others overwhelmed by an excess of Iberian ham, fuet –cured Catalan sausage– and all the other delicious local food that can be a little resource-intensive is Juicy Jones: great for Vegan salads and a variety of juices. Service is good, prices are too, and most people I know who’ve been there are keen to go back. The guacamole is very popular and the noodles and veg done in the wok are a great favourite. Try calling before going if you want a sit-down lunch, the place is quite small.
Cardenal Cassanyes 7, 08002 Barcelona
+39 93 302 43 30
Google map: bit.ly/jXp88r
A classic, timeless favourite, Ponsa has been serving home cooking since 1940. Nacho Salanova, the chef, still uses the original wood stove, one of the few remaining in Barcelona. (If you arrive late you might be squeezed in nearby.)
Following a fast disappearing tradition, Ponsa offers certain dishes on certain days:
stew on Mondays, a warming escudella on winter Tuesdays, paella on Thursdays…
You’ll also find the entire range of classic Catalan staples on the menu, fricandó braised steak with wild mushrooms, squid in batter, pigs trotters, kidneys, canalons, white beans and sausage, steak, fresh fish, crema catalana, curds and pastries.
It’s not at all unusual to see the heart-warming sight of three generations sitting down to Sunday lunch together, sharing food lovingly cooked in the traditional way.
As an additional bonus, Ponsa has kept its original decoration: simple, elegant and
Dolors presides over the dining room with a fine and friendly style.
Don’t miss it.
Enric Granados 89, 08008 Barcelona
+ 34 93 453 10 37
Google map: bit.ly/kY54fD
El Filete Ruso’s mission is to return quality and dignity to the much-maligned hamburger.
The veal used is produced bio-dynamically, that is slowly and naturally in the rich, green pastures of L’Espunyola in the Pyrenees foothills. The animals are fed organically and given none of the hormone and antibiotic treatments common in industrial stock raising. The chicken is also free-range and fed naturally. Both are bought direct from the suppliers.
El Filete Ruso also tries to ensure all food and other supplies have the minimum carbon footprint by sourcing as much as they can from as near as possible.
There are thirteen kinds of hamburger: the more common variations of veal and bacon, cheese and so on, and some very unusual ones such as veal, wild mushrooms, wild asparagus and brie, or the vegetarian white beans, rice, mushrooms, tomato and lettuce. There is a wide selection of garnishes including caramelised onion or tomato, onion rings, roast potatoes with allioli.
Owners Alex and Claudio will be happy to suggest interesting combinations.
The low wooden tables are pleasantly comfortable, but most people prefer to eat
outside, if they can. Heaters will keep you warm if it’s unseasonably chilly. Well worth a visit.
Casa Julia is highly recommendable and just the kind of place the visitor would overlook. Small and discreet in appearance, Casa Julia is one of Barcelona’s hidden treasures.
For an authentic rice dish, Casa Julia is difficult to beat. Co-owner Luis is from the Alicante region of Spain and has brought with him the skill and flair for cooking the region’s dry rice dishes. Forget the heavy yellow-dyed stodge dumped on your plate like ready-mix; at Casa Julia the rice is cooked to perfection, each grain separate and with a crisp bottom layer known as socarrat. Luis offers several kinds of rice dishes
always, he insists, using the very best ingredients in just the right proportions and
cooked for just the right length of time. Saffron threads and nyora (chorizo) peppers provide flavour and colour to the meat and fish rice dishes. Specialities are arroz a banda, which is simply rice cooked in a very thick fish broth, arroz negro cooked with squid ink, arròs senyoret served with peeled shellfish, bacalao, cod and vegetable rice and two or three variations of meat and vegetable rice dishes. Plenty to keep you going…
Casa Julia’s other co-owner is Julia herself, from Extremadura. This region is famous for its potages and meats and Julia provides excellent examples: chickpeas with mussels, lentils with baby octopi, beans and chorizo and, in winter, escudella. Meats include roast kid, sirloin and steaks.
So, there’s something for everyone, even a small terrace out on the quiet street where smokers can dine in peace.
Its a great Japanese restaurant close to the Santa Katarina food market. They have a child space called Kodomoo (child in Japanese) which offers babysitting after 1pm on Saturdays while the parents are eating. I found it unique and a great way to have a quiet lunch with our friends - meanwhile my son was playing and having a great time instead of suffering in a babychair by the table.
A lot of people prefer Sucoa to the nearby, well known and consequently more popular – alright then, overcrowded – Cerveseria Catalana. Me too. I think Sucoa is a much more pleasant and relaxing option and the food is just as good, if not better. Sucoa is on the corner of Enric Granados and Valencia.
Tapas tend to be quite simple, cheeses, cured Iberian meats and ham and high quality tinned stuffs (tuna, sardines, shellfish).
And of course top ranking croquetas with extraordinarily crisp coatings surrounding smooth, flavourful yet subtle fillings.
The cod variety is a smooth mousse of cod and creamy béchamel – a delight. The Gruyere and Parmesan cheese ones defy description.
Delicious with a glass of Barcelona’s traditional beer, Moritz, and especially Epidor, the dark double-malt ale also made with water brought from Montseny mountain.
The restaurant is rightly popular and serves fine food; the lamb is highly recommendable and so is the fresh seafood. There’s a good selection of mid-priced range wines. Service is friendly and efficient.
Enric Granados, 24, 08007, Barcelona
Tel: + 34 93 451 38 44
Google map: bit.ly/lJ1YFP
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
The long, skinny street of Calle Verdi in Gràcia is dotted with cheap eateries and interesting bars. The restaurants are mainly Arabic (Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese) although there’s also a smattering of Japanese and the odd other ethnic eatery, from Mexican to Chinese. There are a handful of squares and each one seems to be lined with small bars that hum with the chatter of friends late at night. Locals head here around 9pm to eat although the bars don’t start happening until after midnight.
Calle Verdi, Gràcia
Google map: bit.ly/lTCrbU
The creative Catalan cuisine that you find in Barcelona makes the city one of the world’s best dining destinations. Not only is the food inventive, it’s also terrific value for the fine quality. You just don’t find food this innovative and affordable in New York, Paris or London. The most experimental and most affordable food can be found in the tiny ‘bistronomic’ restaurants where you can get superb tasting menus that you’ll want to savour. The most representative of this genre and my favourite is Cinc Sentits by talented chef Jordi Artal; his sommelier and maître d' sister Amelia is also a star. The dishes and menu change constantly so I can't recommend specific dishes, but if you’re only going to have one meal in Barcelona, have it here.
Chanced upon this gem of place while headed to the bustling Rambla del Poblenou. Doesn't look much from the outside, but inside it's spacious and modern. Staff are friendly and more importantly it's a vegetarian place in Spain! Popped here twice during my stay and the food was superb. Had some scrumptious nachos, artichoke dip and hummus to name a few. The bread (free with dip before drinks even arrived) was outstanding. Understand from the menu that it comes from the organic Reykjavik bakery. Two main meals with beers and coffee came to less than 25€. Would definitely recommend this place to all followed by a stroll down the Rambla del Poblenou to the beach.
In the heart of the trendy neighbourhood of El Born just minutes away from the chaos of Las Ramblas you will find this gem of a pizzeria run by a group of young friendly Argentinians.
The offering consists of a wide variety of delicious crusty deep base pizza by the slice made with quality ingredients. I recommend the pineapple and bacon and anchovy and tomato. They also have savoury tarts and empanadas. Each item costs a very reasonable €1.80.
If you feel like something sweet they have a range of typical Argentinian desserts that are worth a try.
The place is quite small, catering mainly to the locals and is usually always packed- a good thing since pizza is always fresh.
If the weather is obliging you can get take away and have it on one of stone benches outside.
One of the few remaining traditional family restaurants where you can see three generations sitting down to Sunday lunch.
Traditional Catalan food, reasonable prices, classic decor.
Expect to pay about 35 per head.
Enric Granados, 89, 08008 Barcelona
+34 93 453 10 37
Google map: bit.ly/cTOErW
September 2009 I stumbled across this Japanese/Catalan fusion restaurant just by the Santa Caterina market in Barcelona. Tasty and exotic for a decent price!
C/ Jaume Giralt, 53 08003 Barcelona
Google map: tinyurl.com/3az62mt
La Boqueria is the famous market of the city located on La Rambla. You can find a huge amount of fresh food, including fresh fruit juice, you can buy small container of fruit pieces to eat while walking, or eat in one of the bars inside the market. The food is great.
A small, stylish restaurant near the Sagrada Familia serving excellent, imaginative modern Catalan cuisine. Great value menu at lunchtimes. The staff are fantastic, friendly and welcoming, fabulous wine list too at reasonable prices.
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