Neighbourhood guides: Live like a local in Gràcia, Barcelona
16 Mar 2022
Gràcia may just be one stop up from Passeig de Gràcia, but it feels like a completely different city. An independent town until the late 19th century – and technically both a district, and a ‘hood in Barca – Vila de Gràcia is considered one of the coolest around. It has retained its independent spirit, and is renowned for its vibrant artist community and alternative scene. Those with a certain design sensibility will revel in the barrio’s architecture and boutique options.
Fun fact: it has the highest concentration of international cuisine in all of Barcelona, making its dining destinations difficult to choose from. The Plaça de Sol is the most famous of all spots – it’s here that you’ll find picturesque streets lined with terrace cafes and bars, where locals congregate with friends – perfect for people-watching, if you like that kind of thing.
Here are our favourite spots:
Hidden away behind a faded-pink door by the Mercat de la Llibertat, La Pubilla specialises in esmorzars de forquilla – that’s fork breakfast in Catalan – which are loved by locals and tourists alike. The daily three-course menú features seasonal produce and Catalan dishes such as baked cod, or roast pork cheek with chickpeas.
Chef Alexis Peñalver and his team also run the teeny tiny Extra Bar, where you’ll find Spanish wines and local platillos.
Coffee lovers flock to Syra to get their fix when in the neighbourhood. They brew a fabulous matcha and chai latte, as well as arrange workshops for those who want to know more about the art of coffee making.
As the name implies – meaning great-granddaughter in Catalan – La Besnéta bakes effortlessly modern vegan cakes, while staying true to the family traditions of the past. Owners Daniela and Albert are also well known for their plant-based workshops throughout the world of gastronomy.
Staying on theme, Vegere Spa is the first vegan beauty destination in Barcelona. They strive for a unique beauty concept, which uses only high-end culturally conscious. If your feet end up hurting after all the exploring, this is where to book in for a pedi.
Who doesn’t love a churro? Well this little spot is the best in the whole of Barca. The tiny nature means that most people grab and go, so we recommend a walk-by when you need an afternoon pick me up.
An artisan bakery that specialises in regionally-grown ancient grains, without the use of pesticides or fertilisers – sounds good, no? The owner left their corporate job and worked for free at the legendary bakery Tartine in San Francisco, crafting their artform before going on to bake bread that’s both good for the people and the planet.
For a laid-back but elevated vibe for dinner, head to Gut. It’s here you’ll find health-conscious Mediterranean and international eats in a serene space – the clean-lined aesthetic is complemented by its clean-living menu.
This bookish destination is perfect for sitting with a good book for a while. They stock an excellent selection of fiction, critical theory, philosophy and art books – there’s also a decent offering of contemporary and classic books in the English language. Once you’ve sufficiently browsed the curation below, head upstairs to the cafe. It’s a haven from the hustle and bustle of nearby Passeig de Gracia, and serves delectable treats and nibbles.