RESTAURANTS IN GRACIA FOR EVERY TASTE AND NEED
At the top of the tourist-packed Passeig de Gràcia, right after crossing the classy Diagonal Avenue, starts a hot district that mixes the spirit of the traditional neighborhoods with the energy of the newly arrived young designers, cooks and creators. Less trendy than the Born, but not as wild as the Raval, Gracia attracts people that want to change the world for better: organic products, sustainable projects, but also those who want to enjoy the company of friends and family around a meal of authentic and fun food.
Either if you have just visited the Park Güell and need something to it, or you are trying to get away from the crowds and the noise of the Eixample, exploring this area of the city and its welcoming plazas will certainly surprise you. In today’s post we’ll suggest a few of our favorite Gracia restaurants.
This is our Gracia restaurant selection:
Founded in 1975, this marisquería (Spanish seafood restaurant) has become a classic in Barcelona. Local wealthy families chose it for their celebrations, and Barcelona businessmen take their their important clients. Yes, it’s a huge restaurant with lots of rooms and tables, a real money-making machine, but eating there is worth it: some of the freshest fish and seafood in town, well prepared traditional cooking with no trendy additions, and above all, very generous portions. If you are traveling solo or in couple, get a stool a their counter to see the waiters and cooks coming and going and enjoy their menú del dia (more affordable than eating à la carte). My father and my brother are total fans of their arròs caldós (soupy lobster rice).
For over 15 years this restaurant has been a gourmet reference for locals and well informed travelers. Fresh product is the star of their preparations, that combine tradition and the newest culinary technology to give place to their 2 tasting menus, that unlike what other restaurants do, are both priced the same (instead of having one cheaper than the other) but each one has with its own unique personality: apetizers, starters, fish, meat, pre-desert and desert are included, and there is also the possibility to get paired wines for an extra cost. They are happy to cater special diet needs, and they only open for dinner. Make sure to make your reservation online (their website offers online bookings), as they are often full.
La Panxa del Bisbe
It is said that in the old times monks ate really well at their monasteries… and the higher in the hierarchy, the better. So imagine how well a bishop would eat, and you’ll understand why a name such as “The Bishop’s Belly” is a good name for a restaurant (although in fact it comes from one of the rocky peaks of the Montserrat Mountain, round as a fatty belly). You’ll find here gourmet tapas of the highest quality – you can see that the chef and owner Xavi Codina had worked in Michelin-star restaurants before opening his own venue. Their meats and elaborated seafood dishes never disappoint, and people rave about their tapas (croquettes are a must-try!). And they also have some tables in a backyard, but be warned: they’re mostly used by smokers. ATTENTION: they are not located in Rabasa st. anymore but in Torrent de les Flors.
In most good Spanish food restaurants and tapas bars you are likely to find as many locals as tourists – in the internet era you can’t hide those away! So if you want to mix in like the locals and do what locals do, you’ll probably have to do what you do at home yourself: go Asian! Kibuka is a fun Sushi place with a Californian feel located in the always popular Verdi street (they also have another venue in Goya st), where you are likely to get the feel of the real Barcelona – the one of the people in their 30’s meeting friends and going to the original version movies or meeting for dinner and drinks. If you chose their venue in Goya street, you’ll be around the corner from one of the main squares of the district, Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, where the town hall is: around the plaza there are plenty of cafes with tables outdoors where you can have a coffee after lunch. Their quality-price relation is outstanding. The Verdi venue offers a larger wine list as well as cocktails, while the one in Goya st. has a larger maki selection.
Another emblematic area of Gracia is La Virreina plaza, where starts the lively Torrijos street, home to the popular Verdi Park movie theater. Locals coming to see the European movies programed there will often chose Café Salambó for dinner before or after the movie. Their food is a mix of Catalan and Spanish traditional dishes, with touches of Italian, French and American cooking. Fun but elaborated. You can also have a decent menu del dia for lunch, play pool or attend one of their life music concerts. They also have a few tables outside in the street, from where you’ll be able watch people passing by. A good example of the Gracia district spirit.
AND BONUS! This Gracia restaurant features a very romantic garden:
A bit further away from the oldest heart of Gracia you’ll have this jewel of a restaurant with tables in a garden – perfect for a romantic date. The strenght of this family-owned restaurant run with elegance and savoir-faire is in the use of truffle, as well as other exquisite products, and a menu featuring traditional Catalan and Spanish dishes treated with love and respect. They have a variety of tasting menus and a wine list that is considered one of the best in Catalonia.
So what about you? Head to the comments below and tells us: have you considered trying any Gracia restaurant during your trip and which one?