El Raval has a wide and extemely eclectic range of bars and restaurants. Here you'll find the best places to eat in El Raval...
C/ Hospital, 56
El Jardí (meaning ‘the garden’) is handily located in just such a spot; in the gardens of the Antic Hospital de Santa Creu, now housing the National Library of Catalonia. El Raval can be a noisy, crowded sometimes even dirty place but in El Jardí you don’t feel any of that, just a sense of overwhelming calm as you sip your coffee or beer and relax. El Jardí will take care of you, whether you’re in the mood for some delicious cocktails, some pica-pica of bread, olives and cheeses or fancying a healthy salad, all out on their lovely terrace so you can soak up some sun at the same time. The menu changes according to the seasonal produce available from La Boquería market which is just a stone’s throw away. If the pace of life in the centre is a little too fast then head to El Jardí, sit back and relax.
C/ de la Unió, 17
Bar Cañete is a modern bar with old roots. The story goes back to the grandparents of the current owners who came from Seville to Barcelona to find work and ended up opening a bar of their own; Manolo was the waiter and manager and his wife Mari, who at the beginning couldn’t even fry an egg, was the chef and over the years became a master of Spanish cuisine. Their grandchildren have carried on this tradition by opening Bar Cañete in the middle of El Raval. The restaurant has two different areas to eat; a more relaxed affair at the bar or table service for more formal dinners. The chefs have kept to their traditional roots serving classic Catalan and Spanish dishes with the highest quality local produce. Their seafood and fish comes from the Catalan coast, the vegetables are always seasonal and from local farmers, and, importantly they have a very good wine list with Spanish and Catalan wines s the stars of the show. Bar Cañete is at once modern and reassuringly classic, equally a place for a beer and a tapa as for a lavish dinner. If you want to discover modern Catalan cooking, head to Bar Cañete
C/ del Pintor Fortuny, 31
Caravelle is the baby of an Australian couple who, via two acclaimed London gastropubs, landed in Barcelona and opened Caravelle just a stone’s throw from La Rambla. The food is hipster cool; Taco Sundays and craft beer on tap are just two of the delights of this fresh and modern space. Their brunches are also one of the best in Barcelona, offering more than the standard Eggs Benedict, Caravelle plays with new combinations, taking their inspiration from the Middle East, Mexico, Australia the USA and of course, Spain and Catalonia. I personally also have a special weakness for their chai latte and coconut bread, and that is coming from a person with no sweet tooth to speak of. Taking one of the posters on their wall as a motto ‘Work hard and be nice to people’, the service is relaxed and friendly. Once you try you’ll be back again and again.
C/ de Sant Pau, 9-11
La Fonda Espanya reminds me of restaurants that simply don’t exist anymore. Those grand restaurants we see in black and white films or read about in historical novels, the opulent hotel restaurant where mysterious figures from all over the world can meet in beautiful surroundings and enjoy the delicious food. I have a certain weakness for places like La Fonda Espanya, they make me feel like I want to be a turn of the century bon vivant, wearing evening dresses to dinner and meeting glamourous strangers. I feel that on the right night in La Fonda Espanya that may still be possible. The restaurant was first opened in 1850 and the building underwent works carried out by the renowned Modernist architect, Domènech I Muntaner in 1903. The interior of the building is therefore absolutely stunning. Tiled mosaics by Ramon Casas depicting sirens adorn the walls and the grand marble fireplace was sculpted by Eusebio Arnau. The new gastronomic manager of the Fonda Espanya is Martín Berasategui, who aims to maintain the essence of the fonda (inn) and traditional dishes whilst embracing modern touches. This is a restaurant for anyone who has ever wanted to dine in an emblematic place. Let’s see if you meet a mysterious stranger too…
C/ Elisabets, 9
The word fusion can strike a chill into any food lover’s heart. At times it can be wonderfully done, at others it is just a bizarre clash of two extremely different food cultures. Luckily for us and our taste buds, Dos Palillos has done fusion in the right way, serving traditional Asian food in Spanish tapas style portions. Recently awarded a Michelin star, Albert Raurich (former chef de cuisine at El Bullí), has created a sensation in Dos Palillos. The restaurant has two areas; a more relaxed bar area and the restaurant where the table surround the open kitchen so you can see exactly how the chefs create their perfect dishes and the menu offers dishes from all over Asia. If you manage to get a table you can be sure you won’t regret it.
C/ de les Flors, 12
Ca l’Isidre is reputedly former King Juan Carlos’ favourite restaurant in Barcelona, and whatever you think about him or his actions one thing is clear, he certainly has good taste. An elegant, classic restaurant on the edge of El Raval, Ca l’Isidre offers traditional dishes of only the highest quality. Opened in 1970 by Isidre Gironés and his wife Monserrat, the restaurant remains in family hands today, with their daughter Núria taking charge of desserts and Isidre and Monserrat still running the dining room. The dishes are typical Catalan and Mediterranean dishes made from fresh, seasonal ingredients found in the nearby La Boqueria market. Throughout the years Ca l’Isidre have added modern touches to their traditional dishes and now offer an exquisite, classic menu accompanied by a wine cellar with over 400 different wines. For a refined, elegant meal, Ca l’isidre is one of the best restaurants in Barcelona.