The interior of Xiringuito Escribà | Courtesy of Xiringuito Escribà
Once an industrial sprawl on the outskirts of the Old Town, these days Poblenou is one of Barcelona’s hippest neighbourhoods. Among the eclectic mix of artist studios, co-working spaces and old bodegas are some fantastic places to eat. Here are some of the best restaurants for authentic Catalan food in Poblenou.
Market, Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
Truffled rice | Courtesy of La Forquilla
This gourmet restaurant offers fine-dining in a minimalist setting and sets itself apart by the fact that guests are served in person by the chef, Vidal Gravalosa. The extensive wine list boasts over 50 different wines from across Spain, including many Catalan wines. The dishes, while by no means traditional, express the flavours, techniques and ingredients of Catalan cuisine in a stylised, contemporary fashion.
This popular tapas bar has been on the go since the 1960s and many of the dishes are prepared with the same recipe today as they were back then. A casual kind of joint, many of the tapas are laid out in refrigerated cabinets on the counter for dinners to admire. Marinated anchovies, grilled prawns, sea snails, cured ham, Spanish cheeses and a choice of marinated olives are just some of the delicacies you’ll find on the menu.
One of Poblenou’s most famous restaurants, Els Pescadors – ‘The Fishermen’ in Catalan – is a traditional seafood restaurant that has been around since the ’80s. Located on a peaceful square, white tablecloths give a crisp elegance to the terrace, while marble-top tables and dark-wood chairs offer old-fashioned charm inside. The food reflects Barcelona’s tradition of dining on locally caught fish and seafood, featuring rich fish stews, grilled seafood, whole roast fish, and paella made with a selection of seafood.
Another of Poblenou’s most well-known restaurants, Raco de la Vila is a traditional restaurant with rustically decorated dinning rooms. Exposed brick walls, floor-to-ceiling wine racks and colourful traditional tiles add to the authentic atmosphere of this locale, which offers Spanish and Catalan cuisine. The menu is extensive and features everything from Spanish cured meats to fresh grilled seafood, chargrilled steak and roast suckling pig.
This quirky place is simultaneously a charcuterie, a deli and a restaurant, offering dishes prepared with quality local produce. The dining area is cosy, casual and inviting, with bistro-style tables, traditional patterned tiles and an array of contemporary artwork hanging from the red-brick walls. Cheeses and cured meats feature heavily on the menu, but there’s a long list of salads and torrades (open sandwiches) too.
A cosy restaurant with a friendly, informal atmosphere, Restaurant Calamarga offers contemporary Catalan cuisine focused on star ingredients, such as jamón Iberico, foie gras, cured cheeses and fresh, line-caught fish. Dishes are plated with care and stand out against the modern, minimalist décor of the dinning room. Don’t be surprised to find the odd Asian-inspired dish on the menu – this is a lasting trend across much of Barcelona.
Located on the edge of Poblenou, overlooking Bogatell Beach, Xiringuito Escribà is famous for its paella dishes. While your typical xiringuito is little more than a temporary beach bar, Escribà is open all year round and very much a place families like to come for Sunday lunch. Owned by the eponymous Pastisseria Escribà – a famous patisserie in the city centre – Escribà’s desserts are most certainly worth saving room for.