HOME > Chowhound > Spain/Portugal >


Coffee in Barcelona?

I know the generic cafe or place to get coffee is also a bar/restaurant at night, but shouldn't there be a place that does mostly coffee?
I'm in the barri gotic but would go pretty far for a cool place.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: domestiquel

      The type of coffee culture we have in North America hasn't yet made its way to Spain.. You'll find decent coffee in most bars and some restaurants, but never great coffee. If you're looking for something like we have here, your best bet, unfortunately, is Starbucks.

      1. re: SnackHappy

        Why should your culture "make its way" to Spain? They got their own coffee culture. And I´m afraid it sucks.

        Instead of coffee bars, they go to the typical tapas bars or ice cream cafés. Or their own churrerias. Special bakeries who make this cake that the spaniards love so much.

        These are the places where you will want to drink coffee. But the spanish boil the milk in the cappucino, roast their coffee beans to ashes, and then they add some thick whipped cream on top, that ruins the whole drink, and increases its unhealthiness three times.

        A spanish cappucino will be so hot you can´t drink it for 10 minutes. But thats okay, because you will be eating one of their great cakes they also make themselves while you wait, and understand why the spanish culture is more relaxed and carefree.

    2. Barcelona does have a good coffee culture. It is a bit different in that many places morph into serving light food and then a bar at night. Cafe Zurich is probably as close to an European coffee house as there is in Barcelona. Same with the tire Cafe de L'Opera. In the Barri Gotic, there are good cafes on c/Llibretera including Meson de Cafe; and on c/Petritxol, there are many granja that specialize in hot chocolate but also good coffee. These have a real feel/ambience of a cafe. Schilling on c/Ferran is good late morning and afternoon until it turn into a bar in the evening. The beautiful cafe in the Palau de la Musica is worth a visit. Of course there are many forno and pastry shops that have good coffees and pastries, especially popular in the mornings: Escriba on Las Ramblas, Forno de Jaume on the beginning of Rambla de Catalunya. El Raval and Born have loads of terrace places that basically serve as a coffee house during the day. If one is looking for cafes in the mode of Starbuck and Peet's or Blue Bottle, they don't exist. Coffee is an ingrain beverage in Spain; they just drink it (much of it standing up) without lots of frou frou. They would just laugh at us with all the lightly roasted single origin stuff currently the rage in the U.S. From my experience, next to Italy, Spain has some of the best coffee.

      1. In the Born on Argenteria, there is a coffee roasting place across the street from the fashion store Desigual. I never remember the street nubmer. Just smell and you will find it.

        I agree with the others that Barcelona has very good coffee but does not make an ideology out of it. A café is a hangout, not a bean worship altar.
        My fave cafés are on the Passeig del Born, plus the Museu Maritim Cafe and also in Plaça de Vicenç Martorell under the arches

        1. I have rarely had bad coffee anywhere in Spain, in the best part of 30 years visiting once or twice a year (and, indeed, it is my favourite country for coffee). I make an exception for the Canaries which, for some reason, has vile thin tasting stuff.

          Mercifully, the likes of Starbucks have made almost no headway in Spain.

          1. I had a superb cup of coffee - a cappuccino, I think - at this little cafe just outside the Santa Caterina Market. I wish I knew the name of the place but it has a length of mirror opposite the coffee bar, beside the wooden tables, and paintings of birds above the mirror on the wall. I mention this because it was the kind of coffee that makes you sit up and take notice.

            4 Replies
              1. re: Parigi

                Any suggestions on Passeig de Gracia?

                1. re: magiesmom

                  Because of the very expensive real estate of the Pg de Gracia, I cannot think of too many places that has good coffee combined with great atmosphere. There is a branch of Bracafe on c/Casp (another one a few doors down on the same street that I frequent in the morning) off the Passage that is pretty good. There are a lots of barn-like pintxos/tapas places on the beginning of the Passage that serve coffee in the morning but they are to be avoid unless it is out of desperation. If you go over one block to Rambla de Catalunya, Mauri on 102 is good. On the first block of Rambla de Catalunya is the Forn de Sant Jaume with great pastries and a small counter with very good coffee but not really much for atmosphere or to linger.

                2. re: Parigi

                  Absolutely no idea. It's a small place and I didn't look at the sign. Along that small chunk of street, there are several small shops (bakery, etc.). Ok - I've just looked at a map. If you're walking toward Mercat de Santa Caterina from Carrer dels Carders along Giralt el Pelisser, it will be on your right a little before the market. As I said - there's a mirror that runs along the left wall, the coffee bar is on the right (as you walk in) and there are paintings of birds above the mirror. Best I can do. Good luck.

              2. Since we're on the subject of coffee places. Here's a place I frequented almost daily during my stay in Barcelona.

                It's called Liadísimo and it's located on C/ Guillem Tell in Gracia (or is it Sant Gervasi). Between Plaça Molina and Fontana metro stations. It's the closest thing to a North-American style café I found there, with the exception of Starbuck's. The coffee is just okay, but the staff is super nice and the setting is extremely pleasant. That is if you don't mind all the smoke.


                1. For anyone reading this, I really can't believe all of the answers missed out on one of the best places to get a coffee in Barcelona; Café el Magnífico!

                  There are loads of other places too like Satan's Coffee Corner, and Mesón del Café. You can read about them in more detail here: http://www.things-to-do-barcelona.com...

                  1. They don't have artisan coffee in Spain like we do in the US but they have places with remarkable ambience. For example, try the 125 year old Granja M Viader in the evening.

                    If you really need a strong, decent coffee, it's not hard to find a Starbucks in Barcelona.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: rochowzki

                      I suspect there is a correlation between Barcelona being probably the city most visited by Americans and Starbucks probably making the most headway in that city.

                      That said, coffee seems to have rapidly changed in the country in a few short years. Almosty invariably now, if you order a "cafe con leche", you will get a ready poured cappuccino. The onward march of American culture, eh?

                      1. re: Harters

                        Interesting theory about Starbucks but I notice a lot more non-Americans in there than otherwise, at the two or three I've been to at least. Also, there are twice as many Starbucks in Madrid as in Barcelona, and there they are spread throughout the city.

                        Not sure what you mean by "ready poured cappuccino" but I haven't noticed too much difference in the cafe con leche between now and when I lived in Spain in the early 90's. It's basically a short latte. Are you maybe noticing that barkeeps in Spain are using the milk foamers that come with their espresso machines to prepare the ones you order?

                        1. re: rochowzki

                          With a "con leche" I'm used to the hot milk being added as its served to me, rather than it already added to the cup.

                          1. re: Harters

                            That's how most but not all of my cafe con leches have been served in Barcelona. I have a smaller sample, than you, of course.

                      2. re: rochowzki

                        rochowski, I don't how long it's been since you've been to Spain, but, as posted above by hrtfreeman, there is indeed artisan coffee, and now even third wave coffee, in Spain. It might not yet be as widespread as it is in North-America but it does exist. One way or another, I would rather have a cortado from the corner bar than anything from Starbucks.



                        1. re: SnackHappy

                          I am actually here in Spain now -- in Barcelona. Thanks for the recommendations, I'll try them. I am skeptical that I'm going to have a "Stumptown Coffee" experience in Spain, as the supply chain is so important to artisanal coffee, but that's OK -- I still look forward to trying out those first two places you list.

                          I'm not sure if you're saying you'd rather have a cortado from the corner bar over Starbucks because it tastes better, because you prefer the ambience, or some other reason. Personally, I am not a Starbucks ambassador and I rarely drink it in the US (unless I'm not on the West Coast). I like it here in Spain because it is comfortable, has good espresso, and has (micro-foamed) soy milk. In my experience, those are rarities here in Spain. I think the scalded, rich milk is really what makes the cafe con leche style coffee here palatable to most people.

                          1. re: rochowzki

                            I would think that you travelled to Spain to experience Spanish culture and Spainish cuisine, not " Slumptown Coffee " which is I take it an American varietal.

                            Espana has very excellent food and coffee, and Starbucks, although popular, is hardly the world's benchmark.

                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                Unfortunatly, standard Spanish coffee is not much better than Starbucks.

                                But Spain did surprise me very positively last time, by serving coffee drinks with alcohol in them in local coffee bars. This was normal, and a refreshing sight to be honest.

                                I found lots of specialised coffee drinks like cappucino varieties with whiskey or cream liquor in them. If you ask me, that is a unique part of the spanish coffee culture. Drink that, instead of complaining about the bad quality of the roast.

                                They just have a complete different angle on things there.

                                1. re: Ramius

                                  That's good information, Ramius.

                                  I'm not complaining about anything, just sharing my observations about the reality of Spanish food and drink. I'm not travelling here; I live here (for the 2nd time).