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Gràcia | EatCatalunya: All about Catalan Cuisine

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By Hablando del asunto on Flickr

Grácia started out as a faraway outlying town back when Barcelona was much smaller. Now it’s considered quite central, as the city has expanded over the past few hundred years. Once a working-class neighborhood, it’s now considered Barcelona’s most bohemian section, with decadent bars and restaurants filled with history. It’s also the place to go if you ever tire of Catalan cuisine, as international dining options abound. In its narrow streets, one can easily find countless Lebanese, Turkish and Greek restaurants, and there are also quite a few Japanese restaurants in the neighborhood as well. Cultural activities are plentiful here, and along Carrer Verdi, the most important street in Grácia, you’ll find theatres, movies (Cine Verdi is where you’ll want to go if you are looking to see a movie in its “versió original” — in its original language with subtitles, without dubbing) shops and casual dining. Grácia takes pride in its lively plazas, of which it has several (since this once was a town, after all) and which are flanked by restaurants with terrazas, stores and bars. In the summer is when these plazas come alive, and you’ll see locals out on the terrazas eating and drinking the night away until the wee hours of the morning. La Plaça del Sol (map, and pictured above) is Grácia’s largest plaza, and is considered by many to be the heart of the neighborhood. We prefer the nearby Plaça de la Vila de Grácia (also known Plaça de as Rius i Taulet, map), which is a bit smaller and more tranquil. While it’s not Catalan, Grácia’s most reknowned restaurant has to be El Botafumeiro, located on another of Grácia’s main streets, Gran de Grácia. Surprisingly, this is considered one of the best Galician restaurants in Spain, even though it’s clear on the other side of the country from Galicia. The speciality here is mariscada, but we can also recommend the cured hams and the artichoke. El Botafumeiro isn’t cheap (expect to pay about $70 per person), but the quality of the food (and the experience of meeting its eccentric owner, Moncho Neira) is worth it. For a more economical — and more Catalan — meal, try Restaurante Teatreneu (Terol 28), which specializes in cuina de mercat (old classic meals). In fact, there are quite a few affordable options for Catalan cuisine in the neighborhood. For strictly Catalan fare, check out La Llavor dels Orígens on Ramón i Cajal street (map). The menu is huge and very, very traditional — and cheap!  La Llavor makes an effort to source all its food from inside Catalunya, and also has other locations around the city if you get hooked. They also have an excellent selection of Catalan wines, and provide food to go if you are looking to eat outdoors in one the neighborhood’s many plazas. For modern yet traditional Catalan cuisine at an affordable price, our absolute favorite is La Singular at Francisco Giner 50 (reviewmap). The small restaurant is cozy and inviting, and is staffed by some of the friendliest ladies you’ll ever meet. Highly recommended. Or, if you are feeling a little homesick and want something ethnic, you’ll definitely want to check out our Gracia ethnic eateries walking tour.

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