Yesterday I wrote my tops tips for what to do in Barcelona, one of my favourite cities in the world. Here’s the second part. covering one of the best aspects of the city – where to eat, drink and go out in Barcelona
Where to eat in Barcelona
There are so, so many awesome places to eat in Barcelona. I’ll limit it to our top five. None are exclusively vegetarian but have brilliant veggie options.
1. La Cereria
Baixada de Sant Miquel 5 Barri Gòtic
This characterful, cosy restaurant, full of unusual instruments and bright colours, looks deceptively small from the outside, but spreads downstairs too. It’s run as part of a co-operative, which also owns a second vegetarian restaurant, Bascula, in Born. Unfortunately Bascula is currently victim to some unfortunate town planning rules, which have forced it to run as a take-away joint only. Luckily La Cereria still remains, serving some deliciously eclectic pizzas, salads and crepes. There’s also an impressive tea menu, huge cocktails and wonderful homemade cakes.
2. El Salon
L’Hostal d’en Sol 6-8, Barcelona
This small, elegantly hodgepodge restaurant isn’t an obvious choice for vegetarians, but one of the three daily mains is always veggie, and unfailingly divine. It’s tucked away on a side street in Barrio Gotico, and is a good romantic choice. That said, I also held my birthday meal there one year. The square around the corner is a good spot for some al fresco pre or post-dinner drinks.
3. Cuines Santa Caterina
Avinguda de Francesc Cambó, 20
While the Boqueria market is a must-see in terms of atmosphere and scope, Santa Caterina market is a stylish alternative, designed by the same architect as the Scottish Parliament. It’s worth seeing for the architecture, but an even bigger draw is the restaurant inside. All the food comes fresh from the market, the ceilings are high, there are plenty of trees, and it manages to pull off a rare and wonderful combination of calm and bustle. The menu features food from around the world including Catalan specials and plenty of vegetarian options. The tofu curry is divine. I would recommend making a reservation in advance.
4. Vaso de Oro
Balboa, 6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
For tapas, I always recommend Vaso de Oro. It’s a guidebook favourite, but also very popular with locals as the quality is top-notch. The narrow, rowdy bar is a great place to try some of the classics in an authentically Spanish atmosphere. Steve and I are in love with the pimientos de Padron, often called Russian roulette peppers as one in ten is very spicy. I’m also a fan of Claras – a refreshing beer mixed with fanta limon. If Vaso de Oro is full, there is another good, and cheaper, option around the corner called Jai-ca (Calle Ginebra 13).
5. Passieg del Borne
This is cheating as I’m naming a whole street of bars, but I really like sitting outside at pretty much any of them. There are two great take-away pizza places serving slices – one specialises in thick crust and the other in thin. A special mention also needs to be given to Sandwich and Friends (Passeign del Borne 27), home to one of my favourite sandwiches – the Bernie – toasted with avocado, cheese, sprouts and salad. It may sound simple but it’s divine.
Where to drink in Barcelona
I barely know where to start with Barcelona’s cafes and bars – there are so, so many options. Like with restaurants, I’ll limit my list to five.
Carrer del Pou de la Cadena, 8
Barcelona is full of cute cafes and Lilipep in Borne is one of my favourites. It has tall imposing wooden doors that peel back to reveal a small artsy haven with sofas and colourful artwork. It’s just down from the Picasso museum.
Baixada de Viladecols, 2
Clandestina is another of Barcelona’s independent cafes, artfully decorated with colourful umbrellas. The tea menu is delightful and there’s good wi-fi inside.
3. Pipa Club
Plaza Reial, 3, Gotico
Although Pipa Club is perhaps Barcelona’s best-known secret, it still feels delightfully special to press the doorbell with a nondescript ‘P’ and be buzzed inside to the rambling, hidden bar. The atmosphere varies depending on the night, but ranges from being a low-key bar to a pumping live music venue. It’s tucked into the corner of Plaze Reial in Barrio Gotico.
Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7, 08003
I was reading a guidebook to Barcelona while on a train in London when an elderly man opposite struck up conversation and started to wax lyrical about his youth in Barcelona. He raved about a place called the Champagneria, and drew me a little map of how to get there. I followed up and it became one of my favourite places in the city. It’s a tiny, hectic little bar that serves five types of cava, ranging from 60 cents to one euro, as well as a plethora of ham and cheese. If you want to buy more than one drink, you have to buy a tapa too. It’s an excellent thing to see, but if the crowd is too much for you, buy a bottle and drink it on the beach.
5. Bar Marsella
C/Sant Pau, 65
This atmospherically run-down bar in Ravel specialises in absinthe, the famously strong liqueur that originated in France but is banned there today. I wouldn’t try more than one!
Where to go out at night in Barcelona
1. Robadors 23
Robadors, 23, Ravel
Robadores is a fun bar any night of the week, but on Sunday it shines when hosting it’s weekly flamenco jam session of local musicians. Get there early to beat the crowds.
Carrer dels Almogàvers, 122
Razzmatazz is the queen of Barcelona’s club and music scene. I’m not into super clubs but this one has many rooms with something for every taste. It also attracts lots of big name djs and bands so be sure to check the listings.
3. The streets
Barcelona in the summer is full of people drinking beers outside on the streets. From the beach to the plazas to hubs like Rambla de Raval, you’ll find people enjoying the balmy nights. It’s a great way to meet people.
Like I said yesterday, I could go on and on with these lists so just let me know if you need any more specific recommendations. Enjoy Barcelona!