Culture

The Real Barcelona

10.03.11 Balcony with ancient church and houses in the background against clear blue sky

With its architectural masterpieces, world renowned artists, and top notch culinary reputation, Barcelona Spain is a red hot tourist destination that never goes out of style.  Make no mistake, traveling aficionados, you are not just in Spain; you are in Catalonia.  Bustling fashionistas. A timeless warmth.  Countless cups of café con leche.  It’s as if the seaside locale’s Roman beginnings and years of harsh dictatorship were meant to push a culture to thrive in a city more vibrant than ever.  Its heartbeat pulses, it is a place unlike any other; a place to fall in love – with the people, food, fashion, and art; the kind of place people dream about. Cotton Candy contributor Melissa Kim shows us the real Barcelona – away from the tourist trails.

No. 1 Sagardi
Location: Carrer de L’Argenteria, 62

Eat delicious pintxos (tapas) standing up at this Basque tavern.  Perfectly complements the house cider.  Ready for the bill? Let the bartender add up your empty toothpicks and send you on your way.

No. 2 Mosquito
Location: Carders, 46

Grab a steamy bowl of pho noodles – quite possibly the most satisfying dish on a cold day.  In a city not known for its Asian dining establishments, this cozy establishment – open since 2004 – is sure to be around for years to come.

No. 3 Bar Tomás
Location: Major de Sarriá, 49

Here at Bar Tomás well-known gather where the patatas bravas are argued to be the city’s best.  Cheap eats and great tapas.  Don’t forget to bring your Spanish – not much English is heard here.

No. 4 Cosmo Café
Location: Enric Granados, 3

A hip art gallery and cafe on the quaint street of Enric Granados, Cosmo Café is the place to spot intellectuals and artists – and often a couple of elderly ladies gossiping.

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No. 5. Lletraferit
Location:  Joaquim Costa, 43

It’s not difficult to get comfortable at this bar-slash-library for some post-work beers or an intercambio session.

No. 6 Petra
Location: Sombrerers, 13

Petra provides 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.

No 7. Habalúc
Location: Enric Granados, 30

Dessert is the name of the game here – quality cakes and brownies – particularly enticing is the pear cake.  Comfy café on a posh, low key street.  A sweet spot for catching up with good friends on a Sunday evening.

No 8. La Bella Napoli
Location: Carrer de Margarit, 14

Reservations are recommended at this popular pizzeria frequented by Barça’s soccer players in an unassuming enclave of Poble Sec.

No. 9 Bar Velódromo
Location: Muntaner, 213

Escape to an old world romance oozing from charmingly high ceilings and grandiose windows of this restored art deco restaurant helmed by Carlos Abellán – a famed Spanish chef in Barcelona.  You can practically smell the enchantment wafting in from the coffee bar.  Enjoy traditional Catalan cuisine with the option of shooting pool in between dishes.

No. 10 Dolso
Location: Valéncia 227

Modest-sized confectioner with tea party apropos wallpaper that serves lunch and dinner.  This spot is perfect for waxing poetic about love and life over coffee and dessert.

No.11 Wok Dao
Location: Villaroel, 1

This spot is quite possibly the best quality buffet of Asian cuisine in the city.  The restaurant has an enormous array of salad, seafood, sushi, meats, and desserts – and we must mention the customized stir fry station.

No. 12 La Luna
Location: Abaixadors, 10

Trusty neighborhood bar for a drink, whether you’ve got something to celebrate or not.  Arched high ceilings and brick tavern walls filled with friendly faces.

Written by: Melissa Kim

Cotton Candy Magazine®