Only a few years ago, Poble-sec was a mostly residential area known only for its cheap and cheerful bars. Nowadays, you’ll find that Poble-sec is in fact home to some of the most talked about restaurants in the city – and for good reason. Here’s our guide to some of the best.
The beauty of Palo Cortao is the way it seamlessly blends the old and the new, the North and the South. The jamón is hand carved on demand, the escabeche is homemade, the salmorejo tastes of the South – a tribute to the owner’s Andalusian ancestry –, and the pescado frito is freshly fried, using only the best from the fisherman’s net. Palo Cortao, C/ Nou de la Rambla, 146, Barcelona, Spain +34 931 88 90 67
Bar, Asian, Spanish, Fusion, $$$
At Casa Xica the food is influenced by the chefs’ time in Asia but also by the availability of produce at local markets, which is why the menu changes about every three weeks. Aside from the food, the wines make the visit worthwhile; the wine list is composed of natural wines which rotate regularly to match the menu. If you’re not familiar with natural wines, ask the staff, and they’ll gladly help you choose something to your taste.
Xemei is a perfect combination of classic Italian restaurant and your favorite neighborhood haunt: crisp, white tablecloths contrast with the graffiti on the back wall. The food is sublime, using only the finest produce to create simple but expertly executed dishes which really pay tribute to the owners’ Venetian heritage. Think gnocchiwith rabbit ragù, or hand-cut steak tartare. The wine list will delight anyone with a taste for classic Italian wines and natural wines are also a regular feature.
People come from far and wide to try the chuletón atO Meu Lar, which is cooked in traditional Galician fashion over an open, charcoal-fired grill. If you like your meat aged, then you’re in luck, as this is one of the rare places in the city where you can find it. Be sure to ask for the buey; it won’t be anywhere on the menu, but it will be hanging in the window.
Ever heard of nikkei cuisine? One of those great culinary fusions, nikkei is a blend of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, a style which likely emerged as a result of the large Japanese community living in Peru. Expect to be amazed by the flavors and textures at Pakta as Japanese-influenced raw fish meets native South American ingredients. The restaurant only seats 32, so be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
La Platilleria is more of a tapas bar than a restaurant. There is no menu, just a board with a selection of small dishes which change almost daily. Expect to find classic dishes with a bit of a twist, based on what has been locally sourced and is in season. If you’re in on a Sunday and going for vermouth, ask about the specials (although the vermouth de la casa is well worth trying, too).
If there’s one thing that you wouldn’t expect to see on the menu in Barcelona, it’s a Sunday Roast. Well, Box Social has gone and changed that. Frequently selling out of the traditional Sunday staple, expect roast beef with all the trimmings. For those of you looking for something a little sweeter, they also serve a selection of homemade bagels, pastries, and cakes. The restaurant is located inside the Hotel Brummel, a modern and elegant addition to Poble-sec’s popular Calle Nou de la Rambla.
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This tiny venue’s tagline is ‘Fried fish and Rock & Roll,’ and that is exactly what you can expect from La Chana. The kitchen is no more than a corner behind the bar, but it suffices to produce some of the best fried fish in town. The soundtrack is a mix of rockabilly, rhythm & blues, soul making this the perfect place for an upbeat atmosphere on a Sunday afternoon.