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El Born hands down wins the prize for the barrio with the most culture and tradition. Starting as a simple settlement built on top of a medieval area of jousts and celebrations, it has grown into one of the most fashionable places in Barcelona. The ex-medieval street of Calle Montcada is a prime example, as it originated as a medieval street and transferred into the home of the Picasso and Textile museums. The stylish restaurants and cafes in El Born provide a wealth of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you’ll have to fight off a heap of other hangry visitors to get the best pick. Its close proximity to the beach and booming bars and nightclubs are also top reasons to check out this Barrio. This is our Barcelona visitors guide!
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Where to eat in El Born
This quirky little tapas joint is sure to impress with some super cool Asian vibes, dim lighting and alternative décor. All different shapes, sizes and flavours of dumplings, paired with a craft beer – you’re in heaven. Try the Catalan duck with a Belgian cherry beer. Make sure you eat them with some chopsticks for the added challenge. The atmosphere is stellar and the staff are lovely. For ramen or noodles try their Grasshopper and Red Ant restaurants respectively.
PIM PAM BURGER
You’ll probably moan a bit too loudly when this heavenly chow touches your tender lips. Crusty buns, handmade burgers. Watch the staff peel potatoes, chop vegetables, and prepare your meat. They might not speak much English, but what better way to communicate than through the love of food. Barcelona is renowned for it’s burger scene and Pim Pam is the perfect place to start. Grab a beef, pork, chicken or veggie and don’t forget the fries – they are freaking amazing. Lucky for us these babies are pretty affordable as well.
This market is full of different little tapas joints. The hardest thing you do this day will be deciding which tapas to choose. Luckily they are pretty small, spend an hour or so trying as many as you can. Try the traditional Basque tapas from Txapela, the Iberian cured ham from La Xarcu, the homemade croquettes from Croqueta & Co., the list goes on.
Neapolitan pizzas made by real-life Italians and paired with realer-life Italian wines. Often gets crowded, but does do take away. Basic, delicious and with a small terrace.
A five-star meal, this pasta and its sauce is made fresh daily. Federico moved here from Italy to open up his own restaurant. His absolute favourite is the macaroni, with heavy cream and bacon. There’s also a bunch of extras you can throw in, like black olives and spinach. Pretty cool decor, there are chairs and baskets hanging from the roof.
Where to drink in El Born
Believe the hype – you’ll feel like the coolest kid in Barca hanging out at this unpretentious cult favourite. A tiny champagne bar, they have no shortage of the bubbly, and are said to serve some of the best tapas in the city. Best be there before it opens (12pm for lunch, 7pm for dinner) – people line up to be first through the door. Make sure you try some of their housemade sparkling wine, which is the bar’s namesake.
This vermouth bar is a great spot for… vermouth, as well as a great selection of Catalan tapas. There are a few tables outside for when the weather is nice, which it usually is (this is Barcelona after all).
This bar has been a go-to in Born for several decades. Head there for a sundowner on the terrace. If you need to get your life together, it’s also a nice, cosy spot to plough through some late-afternoon work, with good coffee and free wi-fi. Look out for the snug booth underneath the stairs if you’ve got someone to impress.
Time to scrub up and take your flip-flops off. The massive bowls behind the bar contain a number of cocktails, brewed to alcoholic perfection. If the bar area is really full, you can snag a seat at the mezzanine upstairs and feel like royalty as you look down upon the night’s shenanigans. Try their Cocktail de Coca, made from cognac and coconut milk over crushed ice. It’s been run by the same owner for decades, so you know he knows what’s what.
CREPS AL BORN
This crepe house is light on the crepes and heavy on the fun. You’ll find more DJs and cocktails here than savoury pancakes.
PARADISO / PASTRAMI BAR
Don’t feel like a pastrami sandwich? Well just push that little fridge door there and enter into a world of fancy cocktails and smooth decor. This bar is a semi secret, a bit of a speakeasy, and rumours abound of there being another secret bar once you’re inside. Sort of like a bar inception.
COLLAGE COCKTAIL BAR
The last stop on our cocktail tour of El Born. Collage is a place where the barmen take utmost pride in their creations, magical potions that will either end your night wonderfully, or just get it spectacularly started. Whatever your poison is, you can be sure that the crew of Collage can take care of it for you.