Barcelona is over hyped and mega busy these days, and I don't find it as enjoyable as I used to find it 10 years ago. That said I still have a few favourite places in mind:
- El Meson del Cafe (Llibreteria, 16, 08002) - really small old shop with plenty of memorabilia, ask for a "cafe Bombon" which is a espresso with a shot of condensed milk, Valencian style (or if feeling brave, a "Picardia" which is the same but with a shot of whisky as well)
- Federal Cafe (C. Parlament, 39 (C. del Comte Borrell), 08015) - for when you need a flat white and no one else knows what it is. Nice "australian style" cafe food. Quiet vibe during weekdays, probably very busy during the weekend.
- Escribà (Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 546 (C. Villaroel), 08011) - it's a dessert/cake shop with seating. The coffee is not the best but the cakes are great 8-) Also has wifi
- Granja Viader (Xuclà, 4-6, 08001) - old dairy shop with really old decor and traditional vibe. The hot chocolate is REALLY thick, I find the Melindros sweets are not sweet enough though. Churros might be sweeter but I just had the melindros following the waiter recommendation.
- Babelia Books & Coffee (Villarroel 27, 08011) - quite busy on the afternoon I went to, but nice bookworm vibe. Coffee is "ok".
- Daniela Bakery (Consell de Cent, 378 (Girona), 08009) - coffee acceptable but the cakes are very nice. The owner is very easy going and you can see him baking at the end of the shop
- Bar Tomas (C. Major de Sarrià, 49, 08017) - has some weird opening times, but then it also has THE Patatas bravas. Traditional vibe.
- Bar Seco (Pg. de Montjuïc, 74 (C. Nou de la Rambla), 08004) - fancy burgers! cool potatoes!
- Can culleretes (C. d'en Quintana, 5, 08002) - traditional catalan food, a bit overhyped though. Reservation advised as it gets pretty busy and even then they 'lose' your reservation sometimes (eeeghs)
- Caravelle (C. Pintor Fortuny, 31 (C. Doctor Dou), 08001) - OK place, open until late, quite chill, has acceptable wines, the food is good
- Bacaro (C. Jerusalem, 6, 08001) - Venetian/Italian restaurant behind the market, it's slightly expensive but food was OK and the service was attentive. Reservations or calling advised to make sure you know their opening hours
Things to look at
- Gothic district - lots of very interesting old houses and corners to look at, but be careful not to be robbed
- La Central del Raval (C. d'Elisabets, 6, 08001 Barcelona) - book store set in an old church building (?), lots of new books, good selection, and often has cultural events happening
- Mercat de San Antoni (C. Comte d'Urgell (C. Tamarit), 08011) - Sunday mornings, flea market for old books, comics, videogames, magazines, etc
- Refugi 307 (Nou de la Rambla 169) - underground Spanish civil war shelter, not sure if there are guided tours in English
- Jardins de Joan Brossa (Av. Miramar, 32-54, 08038) - open air park with plenty of attraction-instruments you can play/interact with