539 Ave. Diagonal, Eixample
The bar of this very small ham and cheese shop is a nice place to stop by after work or meetings to have some of their lovely baguettes of jamón de bellota. The mountains of freshly cut Spanish ham are about as close as it gets to heaven for a jamón lover.
Bar El Xampanyet
22 Carrer Montcada, Born
This little tapas place in the Born neighborhood is always crowded, so you have to eat standing up (there’s a little table at the far end, but it’s always taken). To accompany the tapas, they offer a very nice and inexpensive kind of “champagne” (it’s really white wine with sparkling water).
49 Carrer Major de Sarrià, Sarrià
In the quiet, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of Sarrià, this bar is a classic for tapas, especially the patatas bravas—everyone in Barcelona knows the “bravas del Tomás.” It's always full of students, so the atmosphere is crowded, but unlike other tapas places, it has tables with chairs so you can sit down.
Café del Jardin del Museo del Romanticismo
Museo del Romanticismo, Calle San Mateo 13, Centro
While we wouldn't recommend spending a ton of time at the Museum of Romanticism itself, the tea salon and garden are another story altogether. This teensy cafe is something of a local's secret: Set in a lush, and yes, sweetly romantic courtyard behind the museum, it's an idyllic spot for an afternoon break. Make sure to snag a seat outside at one of the tables around the fountain and order a slice of the famous home-baked cake.
20 Carrer del Parlament, Sant Antoni
The first thing you'll notice about El Cometa is the adorable interior—colorful, design-y stools cluster under the bar under oddly shaped Edison bulbs, and the walls are covered in mismatched posters and other artwork. There's also a lovely patio that lights up under twinkle lights in the evening. As for the menu, it's a simple selection of coffee, juice, and a few easy bites. It's equally suitable for a morning coffee run and an early dinner on the porch.
El Huerto De Lucas
Calle San Lucas, 13, Chueca
At this cool new market in Salamanca, you can buy all your unpackaged nuts, grains, and seeds, and get your week's supply of organic, hormone- and toxic chemical-free fruit, veggies, bread, fish and meat from the stalls, and then stop and rest at their all-natural cafe, juice, and sulfate-free wine bar. All of this in a bright, open and airy space, under a canopy of hanging plants. And in case you had any nagging worries left, the space was designed with exclusively sustainable, toxin-free materials. Unsurprisingly this meticulously thought out concept is catching on quickly: They've just opened up a new space in Salamanca with more surely on the horizon.
El Huerto De Lucas
Calle de Hermosilla, 103, Salamanca
At this cool new market in Salamanca, you can buy all your unpackaged nuts, grains, and seeds, and get your week's supply of organic, hormone- and toxic chemical-free fruit, veggies, bread, fish and meat from the stalls, and then stop and rest at their all-natural cafe, juice, and sulfate-free wine bar. All of this in a bright, open and airy space, under a canopy of hanging plants. And in case you had any nagging worries left, the space was designed with exclusively sustainable, toxin-free materials. Check out the original market in Chueca that started it all.
El Quim de la Boqueria
91 Les Rambles, Las Ramblas
In 1987, Quim Márquez set up his tapas shop at La Boqueria, Barcelona's famed food market. His space was a three meter-long counter with five stools. El Quim's following grew exponentially in the next decade—and in 2000, it moved to a 16 meter-long counter with 18 stools. Absolutely stop here for an egg breakfast (with ham or foie gras, mushrooms, prawns, squid, etc.) before perusing La Boqueria. As super foodie Phil Rosenthal, creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, says, it's the kid of meal that will call you back to Barcelona.
Paseo de la Castellana, 12, Salamanca
Opened in 1931 by French émigré Margarita Kearney Taylor, this old-school café brought the concept of British high tea to Madrid. For almost a century, this is where the city's hoi polloi gathered along with diplomats from the nearby embassies the café gets its name from. It was also apparently a meeting place for Allied spies during the war. Though Margarita is long gone, her shop remains as ladylike as ever with velvet cushions and touches of chinoiserie throughout. While there's a restaurant downstairs, the real highlight is the tea salon upstairs where tea, coffee, and Spanish hot chocolate are served with a selection of old-fashioned pastries.
38-40 Carrer del Baluart, La Barceloneta
You might smell Forn Baluard before you see it—the sour smell of the bread (all of which is made from homemade sourdough starters) is known to waft through the neighborhood. The bakery itself is run by Anna Bellsolà, a fourth generation baker who has become famous for her airy, just-chewy-enough baguettes and Italian loaves. One of the best things about the place is its exceptionally local feel; bread is blessedly inexpensive and you're likely to wait in line next to hungry kids and elderly shoppers alike. There's a glass partition separating the customers from the back-of-house, so you can see the bakers working, moving loaves in and out of the wood-fired stone oven.
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