One Night in Barcelona Where to Eat With Limited Time in the City

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This week, we had one night only in Barcelona. A pitstop on the way to our final destination, Ibiza, the next morning. Ferran Adrià’s Heart Ibiza being the main attraction there. It’s been 11 years since my previous visit to Barcelona. I even surprised myself when I realized it was in 2006. I’ve simply not been able to prioritize this wonderful foodie destination.

Welcome to Barcelona!
Welcome to Barcelona!

Where to Eat With Only One Night in Barcelona?

With six hours to spend in the evening, and four hours the next morning, where do we go to eat? I had to consult friends. My first thought was Helle and Erik Valebrokk. They go to Barcelona several times a year. It’s practically their second home. Helle’s Kitchen is packed with Barcelona recommendations for all you Norwegian readers out there. I searched her site and took notes, which I then plotted into a Google map to be able to judge the proximity to each other and plan a good route. I also researched other bloggers and asked a few select people I trust.

Trawling through the streets of the El Born district
Trawling through the streets of the El Born district

Within an hour, I had about 35-40 tips, ranging from coffee bars, ice cream shops, and the city’s best churros, to restaurants, tapas joints, and speakeasy cocktail bars. Way too many for one night. So, which ones to select? With no time to book any of Albert and Ferran Adrià’s places – like Tickets, Niño Viejo, Enigma, Hoja Santa, Pakta, or Bodega 1900 – we chose to focus on simpler tapas and wine bars in the evening, and a good coffee shop for breakfast the next morning. Speed tourism, go go go!

Bar Brutal Can Cisa
Bar Brutal Can Cisa

Hotel Recommendation – Chich & Basic Born

The Valebrokks also suggested a hotel for us, and when two other friends recommended the same place we didn’t hesitate to book it. Hotel Chic & Basic Born is centrally located in the El Born district, and relatively cheap (we paid NOK 1300 for one night, but it might be cheaper if you book earlier than two days in advance). If you appreciate this guide and would like to support my work, please book your next stay in Barcelona at Hotel Chic & Basic Born through my affiliate link. At no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission which helps me make even better guides to your next travel destination as well. Thank you!

Anchovies in oil at Bar Brutal
Anchovies in oil at Bar Brutal
Bar Brutal is a natural wine bar
Bar Brutal is a natural wine bar

Natural Wine at Bar Brutal

First stop of the night: Bar Brutal. To be precise, the full name is Bar Brutal Can Cisa. Look for the displays of plastic brains with spoons sticking out. Bar Brutal is a tapas bar with a great natural wine selection. They do, in fact, have brains on the menu. Lamb brain! We, however, ordered a platter of ham, cheese, and olives. In addition to red tuna with confit onions and slow-cooked leeks. Highly recommended! Bar Brutal is all about about the ambiance and the naturally fermented grape juice. We drank well-known producers like La Sorga and Partida Creus, plus Les Foulards Rouges which our sommelier suggested.

Lomo Ibérico and olives Brutal
Lomo Ibérico and olives Brutal
Red tuna with leeks & confit lemon
Red tuna with leeks & confit lemon

Seafood at Estimar

Next stop: Estimar, just a short walk from Bar Brutal. The place shares executive chef with Heart Ibiza – Rafael Zafra. This was a long shot, though, as we had no reservation and thus no expectations of getting in. However, it just happened to be that a table of six hadn’t shown up this night. From the seafood-heavy menu, we selected razor clams and grilled red prawns with a side of fries and pimientos de Padrón. Good food, friendly service, and a decent Cava brut nature in our glasses.

Complimentary olives at Estimar (better than at Bar Brutal)
Complimentary olives at Estimar (better than at Bar Brutal)
Razor clams at Estimar
Razor clams at Estimar

Barcelona’s Coolest Speakeasy Cocktail Bar

Our last stop this night was Pastrami bar for a glass of natural wine (they only have one white and one red by the glass). The sandwiches looked amazing, and I just wish we hadn’t eaten that much at the first stops. I guess we need some time to learn the Spanish tapas way. Inside Pastrami Bar, people kept entering and exiting what looked like a fridge door. It is, in fact, the entrance to Barcelona’s coolest speakeasy bar El Paradiso.

If we had more time, we would have made it to some classic tapas bars like Cal Pep, El Xampanyet or La Xampanyeria. Had it not been Monday we would also have checked out the new cocktail bar Dr. Stravinsky by the former Himkok bartender Antonio Naranjo Nevares. By the way, you should also read Hedda’s report from our trip.

Coffee at Satan’s Coffee Corner

In the morning, we headed to one of Barcelona’s best coffee shops – Satan’s Coffee Corner. Lightly roasted beans? Check. Bearded baristas? Check. Interior-wise they are influenced by the Scandinavian hipster scene, while the food lends elements from trendy Japan. Get the butter-fried toast with butter and Japanese anko spread, and the kombucha pie. Nømad was another interesting coffee bar on our list, but we had no time. A quick glance at the Casa Batlló building by Gaudi, and we were off to the airport and Ibiza. Barcelona – we’ll be back!

Casa Batlló by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí
Casa Batlló by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí

Where should we go the next time we visit? Please share your best Barcelona recommendations in a comment.

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8 comments

  • Just spent a month in Barcelona and ate everywhere from Disfrutar to El Xampanyet. My favorite above all was Gresca — beautiful tasting menu, unbelievable value. Bar Mut was also fabulous for high-end tapas. And you did miss an excellent coffee at Nømad — put it on your list for next time!

  • Go to Roca Moo in the Hotel Omm – restaurant overseen by El Celler de Can Roca, and 25th on the Best Restaurant list. Menu is 130EUR

  • Too bad you didn’t manage to have a cocktail at Dr. Stravinsky, they are magical, craft cocktails at it’s best! Make sure that for you next visit in Barcelona you squeeze in an hour or two there.

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