Eat & Drink Like a Local: Barcelona—Away from Tourist Trails

Food & Wine, Spain — By on November 7, 2011 at 6:00 am

By Melissa Kim
Special to The Lost Girls

With its architectural masterpieces, world-renowned artists, and top-notch culinary reputation, Barcelona is a red-hot tourist destination. But ask just about any traveler: experiencing a culture, and the true heart of a foreign country, involves immersing oneself in doing what the locals do—and that, most likely, does not include sticking to the beaten tourist trails. These 12 establishments, located far from Barcelona’s well-known sightseeing attractions, are solid Catalan fare but are also culinary delights not usually associated with the city—top-notch Asian food, a hip cafe-slash-art gallery, and a popular pizzeria with affordable price points and celebrity clientele.

Sagardi. Carrer de L’Argenteria, 62.  Eat delicious pintxos (tapas) standing up at this Basque tavern. Best enjoyed with the house cider. Ready for the bill? Let the bartender add up your empty toothpicks, and send you on your way.

Mosquito. Carders, 46. Grab a hot bowl of pho—quite possibly the most satisfying dish of noodle soup in the city on a cold day.  In a city not known for its Asian dining establishments, this cozy friend (since 2004) is hopefully staying around for many years to come.

Bar Tomás. Major de Sarriá, 49. Well-known locals only joint where the patatas bravas are largely argued among the city’s best, if not the titleholder. Cheap eats and great tapas. Not much English heard in this eatery, however.

Cosmo Café. Enric Granados, 3. Hip art gallery and cafe on the quaint street of Enric Granados. Spot the intellectuals and artists, or even a couple of old ladies gossiping over café con leche.

Lletraferit. Joaquim Costa, 43. It’s not difficult to get comfortable at this bar/library for some post-work beers or an intercambio session.

Petra. Sombrerers,13. Simple, yet flavorful and refreshing Catalan food near the Santa María del Mar. Great menú del día for about 8 €uros, enjoyed under rustic chandeliers made of silverware.

Habalúc. Enric Granados, 30. Dessert is the name of the game here—we’re talking quality cakes and brownies—and particularly enticing is the pear cake. Cozy café on the posh street of Enric Granados. One of my favorites for catching up with friends on a Sunday evening.

La Bella Napoli. Carrer de Margarit, 14. Reservations are recommended at this popular pizzeria which is affordable and frequented by barca’s soccer players in an enclave of Poble Sec.

Bar Velódromo. Muntaner, 213. Escape to an old world romance oozing from charmingly high ceilings and grandiose windows of this historic, restored art deco restaurant helmed by Carlos Abellán. You can practically smell the enchantment wafting in from the coffee bar. Traditional Catalan cuisine—with the option of shooting pool in between dishes.

Dolso. Valéncia, 227. Modestly-sized confectioner with cozy antique print wallpaper that also serves lunch and dinner. Perfect for waxing poetic about love and life over coffee and dessert.

Wok Dao. Villaroel, 1. Quite possibly the best quality buffet-style Asian food in the city. The restaurant has an enormous array of salad, seafood, sushi, meats, and desserts, as well as a customized stir fry station. Watch out for lines out the door on Sunday afternoons at this San Antoni neighborhood spot.

La Luna. Abaixadors, 10. Trusty neighborhood bar to go to for a drink, whether you’ve got something to celebrate or not. Arched high ceilings and brick tavern walls.

    1 Comment

  • Michele says:

    It may be touristy, but I liked Quatro Gatos (Four Cats) just for the atmosphere. Picasso hung out here.