My second favorite area of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter (or in Spanish, El Gòtico)! I would say it shares the very similar charms of Gracia; Small streets, Spanish/Catalan culture, and unique bars and restaurants. One difference from the two cultural wonderlands is, the Gotic Quarter is much busier with bustling tourists – but don’t let that scare you. Here’s a list of the top 5 spots I personally recommend in the Gothic Quarter of lovely Barca:
La Locanda Pizzeria – Carrer Doctor Joaquim Pou, 4, Barcelona, 08002
One of the best Italian restaurants in Barcelona, this spot boasts a relaxing and young environment with some excellent food to go along with it. Barcelona is one of the best cities I have ever had pizza in, and this place, among others, really lives up to that reputation! You will literally find about four pages of different pizzas, varying from the tomato base, white sauce base, to just straight cheese and toppings. They also offer many other great Italian dishes (and wine on course), but I always stick to the pizza!
Bun Bo Vietnam – Carrer Sagristans, 3, Barcelona, 08002
Vietnamese food in Barcelona? Sure, why not? I know everyone that comes to this great city has their mind set on tapas (of course!) but if you are here for a long enough visit, you may want to try some other cuisines. Bun Bo is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, it has a cozy, colorful Asian atmosphere and the food is top-notch. If it’s a nice day out, you can even sit outside and admire some of the old buildings to be seen in the El Gotico. This place is also very reasonably priced, at say €20 a head. I recommend going for the Summer Roll appetizer, and the curry is also a great choice.
Bar 32 – Carrer Ample, 32, Barcelona, 08002
I can’t speak for the food at this bar (although I am sure it’s great!), but the atmosphere and drinks are fantastic. Bar 32 is actually an Irish pub/cafe that sits right in the center of the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter. Being as I am a frequent visitor, I can say you will most likely be welcomed by some very friendly and fun Irish folk, who will gladly serve you up something cold! It is very popular with the many Irish/English/Scottish people who inhabit Barcelona, and there is a blatant vibe of real community here. Take a table for your group, or sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders, give it five minutes and you will truly feel like you’re speaking with your best mate!
Milk Cocktail Bar – Carrer Gignàs, 21, 08002 Barcelona
Milk, also run by an Irish couple, is the definition of ‘swank’ and 50’s retro design (my favorite!). The coziest of environments, you can expect some lounge-worthy couches with eccentric pillows, making you feel right at home. What makes this experience even better? Well, cocktails, of course!
The Spanish favorite (derived from Mexico), La Cucaracha cocktail (Don’t let the name frighten you!) is a real winner and personal favorite; Tequila, passion fruit (both the fruit and liquor :)) with apple and lime juice. YUM. If you don’t want to be knocked on your ass after the first drink, you can always go for a classic, like a Daiquiri, Margarita or Pina Colada (all for very reasonable prices!).
Macarena (dance club) – Carrer Nou de Sant Francesc, 5, 08002, Barcelona
On the edge of the Gothic Quarter, near Las Ramblas, sits a small and mysterious club with party people in its surroundings. This, is Macarena. For both the locals and Barca enthusiasts, this is an all-time favorite spot for dancing to electronic beats, which are often the sounds of local DJ’s. If you are from North America, like myself, when you hear “club” you think of a massive venue. Not here! It has a capacity of 300 persons, which gives people enough room to enjoy the venue.
A great aspect to this club, is the atmosphere. It is not your typical club, where guys are desperately trying to pull a hookup, people standing at the sidelines, irritating loud mouths; You will find none of this here. It is simply people who love music, and love to dance to music. If this sounds like your scene, it is definitely a spot to visit!
While it’s hard to name only five top places in the wonderland that is El Gotico, this article is my greatest attempt. If going to a new country or city, it is always good to have some kind of “plan” detailing the right areas and locally-loved spots. That said, use this article as the basis for your journey. Now that you know these great places, keep in mind, there are so many more! Exploration is key, and the Gothic Quarter is a great place to start off!
Did you take my advice and visit these areas, or have you been to them before? I would love to hear your feedback, good or bad, so please comment! Hats off to your journeys ahead..!