After last week’s horrific terror attack, Barcelona’s Las Ramblas are back to life: candles, flowers and messages written on any available surface share the place with a dense river of humanity walking along the boulevard or having a coffee in one of its terraces. Instead of giving in to fear or hate, Barcelonans have made a defiant show of sticking to their summer routine of going out and taking advantage of their city’s abundant outdoor spaces, turning them into places of healing.
With this response in mind, we dedicate our guide to outdoor dining in Barcelona to the victims of last week’s attack and to the multitudes of people that, in all their cultural diversity, always were and will be the peaceful essence of Las Ramblas de Barcelona.
The serene terrace of Els Pescadors sits among the unusual ombú trees of Prim Square. In the 19th century, fishermen and workers from the numerous textile factories in the area would flock to the tavern for a home-style meal. The restaurant as it currently stands has a much more refined air.
Run by Josep María Maulini and his wife Toia Durán, Els Pescadors specializes in high-quality seafood. Almost everything is made from scratch, and the locally sourced fish and seafood is prepared in an unembellished style according to traditional Spanish recipes. Some of our favorites are suquet, a Catalan fish soup made with escórpora (scorpion fish), and grilled local langoustines. Not everything is fish, though: They also whip up some excellent rice and vegetable dishes.
El Racó del Mariner
Follow the coastline toward the northeast corner of the city until you reach Port Fórum, almost at the end of Barcelona port area, and you’ll find a survivor from a bygone era: El Racó del Mariner (The Sailor’s Corner). For 40 years the restaurant occupied a spot on the old fishermen’s dock in La Barceloneta, when it was still a functioning port. But it was eventually forced to move when the area was turned into a marina for luxury yachts.
The new restaurant contains a big main room, and a grand drawing of the old port and its lighthouse covers one of the walls. But in the summer you’ll find us on their wonderful terrace, where we can lazily watch sailboats in the Port Fórum marina and even peek into the kitchen, which is visible from the terrace, to check on our food. Like the fishermen of yore, we opt for traditional seafood and fish tapas, rice dishes, soups and baked fish, many of which are freshly caught.
Hidden away in the charming square of Narcís Oller, located on the border between Gràcia and Diagonal, you’ll find the tiny restaurant Santa Gula, a tribute to “Saint Gluttony.” Arrive early enough and you can snag one of two outside tables with umbrellas.
The menu is based on the concept of casa de comidas (loosely translated as “the house of comfort food”), which draws in foodies and local office workers alike. Inspired by old Catalan and Spanish recipes, the owners, Xavi, Nacho and Martin, concoct inventive sharing dishes using local ingredients (artichokes from El Prat, peas from El Maresme, eggs from Calaf and more). As a result, the menu changes every two weeks to account for seasonal produce, while the wine list is adjusted every three months. The offerings may change, but we can always count on fresh fruit in the summer, which is best enjoyed on the heavenly terrace.
Can Travi Nou
Flowers during the day and stars at night are the natural décor of Can Travi Nou’s beautiful outdoor area. The restaurant is housed in a masía (farmhouse) – although these farmhouses are more commonly found in the countryside, the city grew enough to arrive at the door of this 18th-century house in Horta owned by the Soler Ribatallada family.
The menu consists of Catalan and Spanish traditional dishes with an occasional contemporary twist, like the sautéed lobster with chickpeas or the steak tartar with mustard ice cream. We’re partial to the confited cochinillo (suckling pig) and the popular Catalan codfish dish Bacallà a la Llauna served with Sant Pau beans. If you can’t go to the countryside, sometimes the countryside comes to you.
A delicious neighborhood bar close to Park Güell, Las Delicias is famous for many reasons. Its origin story is something for the ages: In the 1920s, the bar was built in a natural cave that later became a bomb shelter during the Spanish Civil War due to its proximity to the Republican air defenses. The bar also has a claim to literary fame, having been memorialized in Juan Marsé’s 1965 novel, Last Evenings with Teresa. But in our minds, the bar is most famous for its street terrace, which is incredibly popular with Carmel locals.
The bar serves generous portions of classic regional dishes made with high-quality ingredients, all at a friendly price. We recommend the Andalusian calamares a la andaluza (deep-fried squid), the Galician pulpo a la gallega (boiled octopus), the Aragonese longaniza (pork sausage) and the Castilian callos (beef tripe stew).
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