Located the other side of Plaça Espanya, Sants is one of those great Barcelona neighbourhoods where the sense of local community is still very much alive. Today, the restaurant scene combines traditional Catalan fare with more modern and cosmopolitan eateries. Here are the best restaurants to be found in Sants.
For anyone who’s a fan of fresh fish and seafood, La Paradeta is sure to be a treat. The restaurant is fashioned around a fish stall in a food market, with customer’s ordering their fish and seafood by weight at the counter before deciding how it will be cooked. When the dishes are ready, the kitchen calls out your number and you collect from a side-door. Simple, tasty and entertaining all at the same time.
Part of a new wave of restaurant openings in the neighbourhood, La Molla is a contemporary Spanish eatery which offers a blend of traditional and modern dishes. On the one hand the menu includes a choice of ‘Nostalgics’ such as the Catalan cap-i-pota – a meaty stew – or macaroni, while on the other there’s a quinoa salad with tzatziki or rabbit cooked in chocolate and red fruits. Simple, fresh décor with friendly, efficient service.
A family run business open since the year 2000, Zarautz is a Basque restaurant with the difference that it also serves Catalan-inspired dishes. The bar counter is laden with a selection of freshly made pintxos – the Basque culinary speciality of small tapas on a stick – while the menu includes heartier meat and fish dishes, such as cod cheek pil-pil or pig’s trotters stuffed with botifarra sausage meat.
La Mundana opened in 2016 and helped firmly establish this as an up-and-coming foodie destination. A trendy tapas bar inspired by flavours and dishes from around the world, La Mundana also takes seriously the concept of vermuteo – a snack meal around a glass of traditional vermouth. In the kitchen ingredients are roast, pickled, smoked or simply grilled to offer creative dishes that look as nice as they taste.
Although Sants is generally considered one of the more traditional neighbourhoods of Barcelona, it is home to one of the city’s finest foreign-cuisine restaurants. Addis Abeba specialise in authentic Ethiopian cuisine served in large earthen-ware dishes or atop a flat bread. In Ethiopia, food is traditionally eaten with the hands and at Addis Abeba guests are encouraged to follow this custom for a more genuine experience.
This is an unpretentious modern restaurant serving a selection of crowd-pleasing dishes which don’t belong to any one particular style of cuisine, but rather together form an altogether comforting offering. There’s a juicy home-made burger made with Black Angus beef and topped with Cheddar cheese, there are Venezuelan style arepas but also BBQ ribs, fresh salads and a fragrant fish ceviche.
The Petit Pau is everything you could want from a neighbourhood restaurant: friendly service, welcoming surroundings and a choice of honest, flavoursome home-cooked dishes. The restaurant opened back in 2015 and fast became a local’s favourite thanks to its warm hospitality and the enthusiasm of the young head chef who’s a fan of the French bistro culture. Interestingly the Petit Pau only serves two wines at any given time: one red and one white.
Located just opposite Sants fresh food market, Lute Bar & Bowls is a casual tapas bar run by three friends who fell in love with Barcelona. The food is all home-made using seasonal ingredients from across the road and while the menu isn’t particularly extensive, the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. At lunch times during the week be sure to check out the daily set menu.
The Bodega Montferry is a fine example of the type of authentic, characterful eatery which gives Sants much of its charm – and is increasingly something of a rarity in modern, cosmopolitan Barcelona. Not so much a restaurant as a snack bar, the bodega is best loved by locals for its generously filled warm sandwiches which are prepared to order and include fillings such as omelet and sausage, meatballs, chorizo or sardines. The tortilla is always fresh from that day and the Russian salad goes down a treat with a glass of the house vermouth.
A classic Basque style tavern, Txalaparta serves hearty, traditional fare at affordable prices. They’re especially popular at lunch times when they serve a menu del día at just €12 for three courses and a drink. The large dinning room is filled with sturdy wooden tables and chairs which complete the rather rustic appeal of the place.