Travel

Ciutat Vella

Establishment neighborhood
La Manual Aspargatera
7 Carrer d'Avinyó, Ciutat Vella
Like Antigua Casa Crespo in Madrid, La Manual is where you want to go for authentic Spanish espadrilles. With roots that go back to the Spanish Civil War, it’s really no wonder the handmade slip-ons, slides, lace-ups, and wedges have amassed a cult-like following among locals. Tourists tend to get a little overwhelmed at the sight of floor-to-ceiling cubbies packed with shoes, but at under $50 a pop, leaving with multiple pairs is totally justifiable.
Pinotxo Bar
466- 470 Mercat de la Boqueria, 89 Carrer la Rambla, Ciutat Vella
Pinotxo Bar is one of a few eateries in the always-busy boquería, and depending on who you speak to, it's considered to be one of, if not the, best tapas spots in the city. The place is run by local celebrity Juanito Bayen, a charismatic guy who's never seen without a service-like vest and bowtie. There's no formal menu, so you'll order via a back-and-forth with Juanito to arrive on a few dishes—it can be a little confusing, but trust us, whatever arrives is guaranteed to be delicious. Wash it all down with fresh cava, which is always on ice and within arm's reach. Unfortunately, word's out about this place—it's best to arrive early and expect a wait if you want a seat at the small, 14-seat bar.
La Taverna del Suculent
39 Rambla del Raval, Ciutat Vella
Taverna—you'll know it from its flashy red-painted exterior—is actually the little sister of nearby Suculent, an upscale tasting menu type of place from Carles Abellan. Like so many of the best chefs in the city, Abellan is a former protege of Ferran Adrià—his first solo venture was another favorite of ours, Comerç, 24. Unlike its sit-down neighbor, La Taverna del Suculent is more casual; guests order tapas and finger food directly from the bar and can eat them standing, and wine flows freely. Order the crispy tortillitas, or anything that involves ham.
Passadís del Pep
2 Pla de Palau, Ciutat Vella
It's easy to miss Passadís del Pep if you don't know what you're looking for—the more than 30-year-old spot is located down a long hallway in a nondescript apartment building, and there's no sign, so follow the address exactly. Once you arrive, you'll be greeted by a traditional-looking dining room, with stone walls, white tablecloths, impeccable service, and no menu in sight, as owner Joan Manubens Figueras prefers to serve whatever looks freshest at the market. When he first started the restaurant, the kitchen was run by his mother, and he continues to cook in her traditional style—fresh food founded in great ingredients and simple preparation, with a heavy emphasis on gorgeous local seafood (there are always a lot of crustaceans on offer). The no-menu situation also means no prices until you get the check, so expect to pay around 120 euros per person (including wine).
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