As you might have noticed from previous blog posts or following our Instagram feed, all the three of us have definitely left Barcelona, the city where we met and found the energy and the sprint to start our incuQIna project. We fell in love with this place and spent long days and nights exploring its hidden corners, eating in different restaurants, drinking in bars, chilling at cafes and shopping in many markets. It will always have a special place in our heart, and we want to share with you some of our favorite insider’s tips for food-related spots around the city, taking you for virtual walks around different neighborhoods.
A square of Gracia, pictured in an artwork by our Francesca
We’ll start with the “barrio” we used to live in: Gracia! Even though we could be talking nonstop about places here, we made a small selection of bars, cafes, restaurants and spots linked to special memories. Please feel free to write to us if you have some other suggestions, comments or any questions!
Start your slow day (Saturday?) with a breakfast in Mama’s Cafè. We had here our first official incuQIna meeting, and it’s indeed a ideal place for a quiet break, a chat with a friend or a nice lunch. Choose between crunchy sandwiches, fresh salads, brunch dishes (served all day!) and home-made cakes and enjoy the open back-yard.
If you are into a quicker coffee break, Bar Pietro down the road is the place for you. Right in front of the local market, this small cafè has the perfect location as its corner windows are kissed by the sun. You’ll get a sweet almond with your coffee, and the bikini (ham and cheese toast) is one of the best of the neighborhood! Enjoy the lively, laid back and local atmosphere.
Head now to the Mercat de l’Abaceria for some grocery shopping. You’ll find fresh fish, local wines, greengrocers and a great cheese corner stall. If you are more into local grown biological products, then you’ll have to go to some small retailers around the barrio such Els bandolers de Gracia, in the lively Carrer Verdi. You can also get a weekly basket of organic products, as our Fra used to do.
One of our fix stops was Gra de Gracia, a “light shop” that sells seeds, cereals, spices, teas, flour, chocolates, dried fruits, pulses, and much more. We had been here uncountable times and Cami and Fra would always loose track of time (and of the shopping list): they would enter with the idea of buying three-four ingredients, and inevitably leave with two bags filled with many more products!
If it is finally Vermut-o’clock (a very important moment of a Catalan weekend) we suggest you to head uphill, getting out of the busiest part of the barrio to honor this tradition. Above the plaza del Norte you’ll find the “Bar Bodega Costa Brava”. This small place with red-painted sign and windows has the perfect laid back atmosphere to enjoy a local vermut and some anchovies-stuffed olives alongside a good chat with some friends.
The Barrio offers a great number of really good restaurants (still not very touristic), some of them a bit more pricey but overall affordable. We already told you about Momos, but a place that shouldn’t be missed for dining is “La Panxa del Bisbe”. A little hidden in a quiet street (but very popular), they serve platillos (mini-dishes) to share from their menu that changes according to seasons. The combinations are innovative and incredibly delicious, twists on traditional Catalan and Spanish dishes, and the wine card is affordable and not a typical “Supermarket-selection” Price range is around 30 Euros pp (wine included). Remember to book as it gets quite busy!
If you are up for after dinner drinks, head to El Ciclista to sip a cocktail or a beer in a bicycle-themed bar, while a dj (in the weekend) or the bar tenders play really good music. This small place gets packed during weekends, but its Gin and Tonics are really good and rather affordable (the “gin tonic’ de la casa for 5 euros is pretty good). On Sunday you can also assist (or participate) to a jam session!
Enjoy the tour, the food and the drinks. And obviously, enjoy strolling around this enchanting barrio!