Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spain/Portugal >
Aug 22, 2010 05:24 PM

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.