Xurrería J. Argiles
Spaniards have a reputation for eating overly sweet breakfasts. Think croissants and jam, toast and Nutella, and even cookies. If you’re looking for chocolate to start your day, seek out one of these famous food trucks for churros con chocolate. Dip your fresh-fried churro into a to-go foam cup of melted dark chocolate, or try a xuxo, doughnut-like pastries covered in sugar and filled with custard.
BTW: Take your bag of hot churros and cup of chocolate to the Parc de la Ciutadella, a short walk away, for good people watching.
Xurrería J. Argiles, Carrer de la Marina, 107
Centuries ago, before Barcelona’s scattered neighborhoods joined to form the city we know today, this building on Passeig de Sant Joan was a farmhouse that held livestock. In homage to the building’s past, this brunch spot has high, factory-like ceilings and a long wood table perfect for group brunches. When it’s nice out, start your day with a cafe con leche and a tostada or croissant on the terrace to enjoy one of Barcelona’s loveliest boulevards.
BTW: If you come on a weekend, prepare for a wait. The best time to visit is a weekday morning.
Granja Petitbo, Passeig de Sant Joan, 82
Menús del mediodía, which offer three courses and a drink, are a dream in Spain. At Zero Patatero, you can get a gourmet starter, main course, wine or beer, and coffee or dessert for about 15 euros, taxes included. Chef Luca Marongiu searches for small, local producers to source Zero Patatero’s plates, which range from cauliflower gnocchi to lamb terrine — depending, of course, on the season you visit. The restaurant’s walls are decorated with graffiti encouraging healthy dining and reminding customers that “you are what you eat.”
BTW: Ask your waiter where today’s ingredients come from. You’ll learn a bit about Catalan geography and ecologically friendly farming practices in the region.
Zero Patatero, Passatge Mercantil, 1
If you need a break from jamón and queso, this tiny ramen bar in the middle of El Born is a great spot to dine midday with a friend or partner. There are no tables, just a long bar with stools along the narrow space. While you’re waiting for your ramen, with broths that have been cooked for 18 hours, order from Grasshopper’s wide selection of local craft beers. They also offer a variety of sakes to go with your ramen or dumplings.
BTW: Make sure to try a green tea truffle. They’re light and sweet.
Grasshopper, Plaça de la Llana, 9
This wine bar is on Carrer de Verdi, one of Gràcia’s most iconic streets. Drink a glass of natural wine on tap, made with an indigenous variety like Sumoll or Xarello, one of the three grapes used in cava. The bar also serves Catalan meat and cheese plates, a rich pan con tomaquet a la Catalana, fresh cod salad (esqueixada), and olive-oil-drizzled chocolate truffles, among other small plates.
BTW: Be on the lookout for meet-the-winemaker events, announced on the bar’s Instagram page.
Bar Salvatge, Carrer de Verdi, 50
Rafa and Mireia Peña are the visionaries behind this Michelin-rated, slow-food-inspired restaurant. Using only seasonal ingredients, the couple serve simple Catalan plates paired with natural wine from around the world. Gresca’s open kitchen lets you watch Rafa at work. Introduce yourself if you get the opportunity; he loves meeting folks from all over. (Gresca, by the way, means “party” in Catalan.)
BTW: Before dinner, order a glass of wine at Gresca Bar. The environment here is more laid back than the restaurant, and it’s the perfect place to wait if you don’t have a reservation.
Gresca, Carrer de Provença, 230
La Bodega d’en Rafel
Croquetas, pimientos de padrón, legs of ham, barrels of wine — what more can you ask of a Spanish bar? Bodega d’en Rafel is the closest you can get to a Spanish grandmother’s cooking while on vacation in Barcelona. Cheap eats and drinks make this spot a great late-night dive to tomar y picar algo — drink and snack. Try octopus croquettes, a plate of Manchego cheese, or if you’re brave, fried pig snout.
BTW: Make this bar the start to your night. The Sant Antoni neighborhood, known for its chilled-out nightlife, is full of vermuterias y cervecerías (vermouth and beer bars).
La Bodega d’en Rafel, Carrer de Manso, 52
Head sommelier Núria Renom defines her wine philosophy as follows: “Finish the bottle.” The wines at Bar Brutal are, as its name suggests, brutal — Spanish slang for rad or awesome — but what really makes the place special is its talkative staff. Sommeliers want you to try something new and funky, like orange wine or wine fermented from whole grapes (carbonic maceration). Bar Brutal is connected to the Italian restaurant Can Cisa, which serves small plates to go along with your wine.
BTW: Check the bar’s Facebook page for events. They often hold wine tastings, talks and parties with other natural wine organizations around Barcelona.
Bar Brutal, Carrer de la Princesa, 14