The Guardian newspaper asked its readers to write in with tips on what to do in Barcelona. These tips were printed in the newspaper.
Posted by edux127 on October 19, 2006
Boadas Cocktail Bar in Barcelona is easy to miss, but open the door of C/Tallers1 and you’re in a tiny, triangular, wood-panelled room lined with cartoons. Great cocktails – try the daily special, mixed with verve by the diminutive manageress while she keeps up a flow of gossip and debate with her regulars. Mary McMurray
Riera Baixa is full of funky shops specialising in club wear, retro-originals, accessories and shoes. Also record shops, comic shops, tattoo and piercing parlours. A good place to pick up flyers and free listings mags. Every Saturday, from May to September, the Mercat Alteriu (Alternative Market) is held. The nearest Metro stop is Liceu. Opening times: 11am-2pm; 5pm-9pm.
La Balagne Restaurant (Calle Casp 17, tel: 0034 93 4120335, La Balagne Restaurant) is just a minute from the Plaza Catalunya and just off the Passeig de Gracia – a very classy looking restaurant, great ambience and attentive staff at affordable prices. You can have a four-course meal, including a serving of smoked Catalan pork, with aperitifs, a white rioja and a brandy for about £30 a head including the cost of drinks.
A modernista (art nouveau) gastronomic tour of Barcelona should include the following:
* Fonda Espanya in Hotel Espanya (Domenech i Montaner, 1902-1903), Carrer Sant Pau, 9-11, Metro Liceu (tel: +93 3181758). Designed by the same architect that built the sumptuous Palau de la Musica Catalana and Hospital de la Santa Creu i St Pau (near Gaudi’s Sagrada Famillia). The restaurant has three rooms, the first decorated in floral mosaics, while the second has a highly sculpted fireplace (Eusebi Arnau). However, the main attraction is the rear room decorated by the artist Ramon Casas. The walls are covered in scriffito pictures of sealife, including mermaids. The lunchtime menu del dia is €10-€12. From the à la carte evening menu, I can recommend the prawns in cream and whiskey (€10.60). Expect to pay €20-€30 per head in the evening for three courses inclusive of wine and water.
* Casa Martí, Els Quatre Gats (Puig i Cadafach, 1895-1896). Montsió, 3 bis Passatge del Patriarca, 1 (Metro Pl Catalunya). It was the meeting place for the Bohemian circles of Barcelona at the turn of the century, such as Pablo Picasso, Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiñol and Utrillo. The bar/restaurant is a recent reconstruction as the original establishment lasted only six years at the end of the 19th century. Inside are copies of its original paintings, including the portrait of the then owner Pere Romenu on a tandem (now in Barcelona’s Modern Art Museum) by Ramon Casa, and a copy of a sculpture by J Limona. The restaurant has a bar area at the front with a good choice of Spanish, Belgian, Scandinavian and Canadian beers (€2.50-€4 per bottle). You can also buy moderately-priced tapas here, or go to the restaurant behind for the full menu. Mainly caters for tourists.
* Casa Almirall, C/Joaquín Costa 33 (no phone). Metro Universitat, bus all routes to Plaça Universitat. Open 7pm-2.30am Mon-Thur; 7pm-3am Fri, Sat. Opened in 1860, the Almirall is the oldest continuously functioning bar in the city. It still has its elegant, early modernista woodwork that is charmingly unkempt. Iron beams supporting the original wooden crossbeams are the result of city-enforced renovations, but the big soft sofas have been allowed to remain.
* Casa Mila/La Pedrera (Gaudi, 1906-1912) Passeig de Gracia 92 Metro: Diagonal. Information: + 93 4845995 (reservations: + 93 4845530). Great for drinks on the roof terrace on Friday and Saturday nights.
* Casa Calvet (Gaudi, 1898-1899) Carrer de Gasp, 48 Metro: Urquinaona. A meal from the set menu averages about €50. For reservations, call +93 4124012. Tours with Ruta Gaudi ticket on Wednesdays only.
* Restaurant La Dama, Casa Sayrach, (Manuel Sayrach, 1918) Metro Diagonal (+ 93 2020686). Outside, it appears to be an art deco-influenced Casa Mila – plainer and slightly more angular than the Gaudi original. In the entrance hall, Gaudi meets HR Giger, or alternatively how the inside of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus would look. The restaurant is much more restrained, having been originally someone’s lounge. The restaurant has a Michelin star, but the reviews I have read do not indicate that it is worth the €50-70 per head.
Neil R Thomas