The winter months in Barcelona are fast approaching, and with them will come humid cold and a touch of rain. While the typical tiled-floor, big-windowed, wooden-chaired restaurant or bar is the norm in Barcelona, you can also find plenty of places to pass a cozy afternoon or evening with a plate of great food and a tea, coffee, wine, beer or cocktail in hand. Below are five great choices for those looking for a bit of comfort in Barcelona this winter.
Just because you’re in Barcelona doesn’t mean you have to eat classic Catalan or Spanish food at every meal. Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city that owes its identity to the last 2000 years of people coming and going; passing through this land and leaving their tastes and traditions behind. If you’re looking for a romantic (or just comfortable and inviting) place for a casual dinner, then Ziryab is it.
Self-dubbed as “Arabian Fusion”, Ziryab has two intimate location in the Barcelona neighborhood of El Born. The original location (Carrer de Grunyi, 4), once a full restaurant, is now a lavish hookah lounge with hanging chairs, big pillows, dim lights, tapestries, and great cocktails (try the Zibaretto Sour, a classic Amaretto sour with an Arabian twist, thanks to the addition of Jordanian Date syrup). Bars for smoking shisha in Barcelona aren’t that common, so this is a great find for those who are looking for a flavorful puff.
More recent is Ziryab’s second location (Carrer dels Ases, 16), which is where you can try their full restaurant offering of “tapas and mezze”, including the Pumpkin Ginger Fig soup (my personal favorite), assortments of delicious Lebanese dips, grilled turkey shish kebabs, Christmas Spiced Lamb, and much more. Ziryab prides themselves on their interesting and accessible list of both Catalan and Middle Eastern wines, and the friendly staff can definitely point you in the right direction in finding a great wine to pair perfectly with your meal.
Carrer dels Ases 16. 08003 Barcelona.
(+34) 932 681 774
It doesn’t take long to realize that the Raval neighborhood is one of the hippest and fastest-evolving pockets of Barcelona. What was once a far-from-desirable area code has now become entirely cool, with dive bars, speakeasies, art galleries, international restaurants, trendy shops, and young businesses popping up all across this the most ethnically diverse area of the city. The main artery of the Raval, pumping energetic blood through the barri, is the Carrer de Joaquin Costa. Connecting the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona) and the wide and leisurely Rambla del Raval, this street never sleeps. There is a variety of affordable drinking options along Joaquin Costa, but my favorite (and hands-down the coziest) is called 33|45.
While the front section of this bar looks like any other, with high, communal tables and vintage vibes, the back area is packed with a mish-mash of couches and arm chairs, grouped around low coffee tables with soft lighting overhead and work by local artists gracing the walls. The whole place looks a bit like a garage sale, but it is the perfect, cheap spot to get a drink in the afternoon or evening while out in the Raval. They also serve breakfast and lunch, but the food isn’t what you come to this bar for. Packed on the weekend with a mix of locals and internationals, Bar 33|45 sees themselves as a community space where drinks, events, and art all come to hangout.
Joaquin Costa, 4. 08001 Barcelona
+34 931 87 41 38
Walk into Bar Andorra on any given night and it feels a bit like stepping back in time. Sure, there are modern amenities throughout this little-known restaurant at the fringe of Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella, but a lot hasn’t changed here since the 1950s when the business was first launched on Sant Pere Més Alt. Retro booths that barely fit four people line the narrow entryway of this beloved local restaurant where everything is made from scratch, right down to the sausages and boquerones en vinagre. Even the typography on the bar’s outdoor sign brings to mind decades past. The back of the restaurant is a separate, larger dining room, though it is well worth the wait to be seated in the front where the charm of this classic spot is on full display.
Bar Andorra is by no means “fancy” in their culinary offerings, but they do pride themselves on always serving excellent food—and they don’t disappoint. From the whole, grilled, Mediterranean seabass with potatoes to the roasted vegetable flatbread (coca de escalivada) with anchovies and blood sausage (My favorite. I order it every time), it’s hard to go wrong when there is a kitchen team so dedicated to pleasing regular customers day in and day out. Bar Andorra is also a great place to partake in a classic “vermut”—red vermouth on the rocks with an orange slice, an olive, and a bit of soda water to top it off. Paired with their excellent assortment of marinated olives, canned clams or other conservas, and a bit of hard goat cheese, there’s no better way to pass a chilly Saturday afternoon in Barcelona.
Sant Pere Més Alt, 74, 08003 Barcelona
+34 931 77 35 09
Bar Andorra on TripAdvisor
Barcelona is not a tea city, nor is Spain a tea country. Coffee reigns supreme. That being said, the long legacy of North Africans in the Iberian peninsula has lead to little pockets of culinary influence that often come in the form of sweet almond pastries and mint teas.
Tetería Salterio offers one the splendid opportunity to pick from an unrivaled (in Barcelona) list of teas and infusions, as well as juices and smoothies, beer, and wine. This warm little tea house is literally a “hole in the wall”; a narrow door on a narrow street in the dark and often dank center of Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic—the Medieval Jewish Quarter of El Call. Grab a spot on one of the long, cushioned, wooden benches that line the ancient stone walls of this tranquil gem and share a tiny table with a close friend, for this is the perfect spot for an intimate conversation; possibly “third date” material. Sit back and enjoy your steaming tea, bathed in the glowing lights that reflect off of polished metal teapots and sheltered from the cold.
The tea is the star at Salterio, but whatever you choose will surely be served with care and a smile by the friendly staff. The food offering is by no means extensive, with just a few snacks available (the best of which being the “Four Seasons” Sardo, a thin, crispy flatbread with mushrooms and spinach, other veggies, melted cheese and a tangy sesame sauce). Salterio isn’t a place to go when you’re in a rush, one because the service is relaxed and without haste, and two, because you’ll surely want to prolong your stay, allowing your teapot to be refreshed with hot water again and again as you sit back and appreciate this little den of calm in the heart of the hectic city center.
Carrer de Sant Domènec del Call, 4, 08002 Barcelona
+34 933 02 50 28
Tetería Salterio on Facebook
When it’s winter in Barcelona, heading to the beach may not be at the top of your to-do list. However, though the wind may be strong and the air chilled, there is plenty of warmth and merriment to be had down by the Port. While numerous restaurants, bars, and hotels stay busy all year in the area surrounding the “Port Olímpic”, none is quite as emblematic and desirable as the Hotel Arts and its lobby bar.
The level of luxury at the surprisingly mundane sounding “Frank’s Bar” is well up to the standard you would expect from the Hotel Arts Barcelona, a Five-Star jewel in the Ritz-Carlton crown. This place is anything but cheap, but with plenty of plush chairs, sofas, and banquets, this top-notch bar and lounge is the perfect winter hideout. With a beautiful, inviting fireplace and views of the famous “Golden Fish” of the Barceloneta beach (designed by Frank Gehry, the namesake of the bar itself), there is really no other place in Barcelona quite like it.
Frank’s is known as a meeting point where one can indulge in flute after flute of the finest French bubbly, but if you’re wanting something harder, go for one of their signature “Gin Tonics”, or a whiskey from their extensive list. With luxurious decor, five-star service, loads of natural light, swanky cocktails, and numerous in-hotel dining options (including the 2-Michelin-starred Enoteca restaurant with their celebrity chef Paco Perez and a list of some 700 wines by the bottle), Frank’s Bar is a must-visit for anyone looking to get cozy while classing up their stay in Barcelona.
Frank’s Bar (Hotel Arts Barcelona)
Carrer de Marina 19–21. 08005 Barcelona
+34 932 21 10 00
That said, if you’re keen for someone to expertly guide you along the way, providing the tastiest, warmest morsels on this side of the Atlantic, then don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love nothing more than to make you feel at home and your stomach at ease on a customized foodie tour of Barcelona!
(Feature photo by Matthias Ripp)