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Food and drink

Historic bars and restaurants

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Inheritance with taste

Barcelona is a city with a great culinary tradition. There are lots of old, historic restaurants, places where, without intending to, the walls can tell you something about the city's history.The first cases de menjars, literally "eating houses", were opened in the city in the 18th century, by Italian chefs who brought some products and dishes with them that they soon combined with Catalan ones to develop a purely local cuisine. But by the 19th century, French chefs were all the rage, and they imposed a cookery book in their restaurants that was unknown to Barcelona's bourgeoisie until then.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest restaurant in Barcelona and the second oldest in Spain can be found in the Barri Gòtic, next to the Rambla, near Plaça Reial and Plaça de Sant Jaume. It is the Fonda Can Culleretes, which was founded in 1796. Another historic place is Els 4 Gats, founded in 1897 on Carrer de Montsió, also in the Barri Gòtic. This legendary restaurant, frequented by Dalí, Picasso and Hemingway at the beginning of the 20th century, is a classic, with history and tradition. Yet another with lots of tradition and many years behind it is 7 Portes. Founded in 1836, this is another city classic. Its walls conceal a long architectural history and the charm of the past. Many famous people have tasted its dishes: writers such as Camilo José Cela and Federico García Lorca, and artists like Dalí, Picasso and Miró. Even the legendary revolutionary Che Guevara dined here.

To get to know the idiosyncrasies of the Barcelona that does not sleep, you need to discover its historic bars as well. There are lots of them in the city but maybe the pick are the Marsella, the London Bar and the CasaAlmirall. The most popular drink at the Marsella is the locally made absinth. And with its century-old décor, it has a Parisian air. The London Bar opened in 1910. It has a Modernista décor and still offers live music. The Almirall is another century-old bar that has improved with age. Like all the bars of that period, it has a Modernista look and absinth is the star drink.

Traditional tables...

  • Fondes


    These inns traditionally offered food and lodging to travellers. You can find them spread around various city neighbourhoods.

  • Granges

    Many of these cafes, which traditionally served breakfasts, have also joined the restaurant trade and offer lunchtime menus.


  • Cases de menjar

    Apart from its older, more renowned establishments, Catalonia's capital has an extraordinary number of restaurants and cheaper cases de menjar, each rooted in its neighbourhood.


  • Tasques

    These are traditional bars that serve tapas along with the drinks and often do meals. Every neighbourhood has them and they cater for all tastes.