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Jan 3, 2011 11:53 AM

Dining with Children in Barcelona

We are lucky enough to be visiting Barcelona this summer with our 9, 7 and 2 yo. We will be staying at the Meridian for 3 days prior to leaving on a cruise. Our children are well behaved and have dined at fine restaurants. I am looking for restaurant reccomendations where children would be welcomed and not frowned upon. We would love to do tapas but I am wondering about the logistics of getting my family of 5 in a small place like El Quim.... I do want to try the chipirones though.... Any insight would be much appreciated... Also is Fishhh child friendly? Thank you....

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  1. There have been quite a few earlier posts on eating with children in Barcelona. I would search this board. A few general comments:
    No restaurant will frown upon children, in fact, they will invariable made like honor guests. What is more appropriate to ask is how you children will fit into particular restaurants. In high end places such as Cinc Sentits, La Dama, Sauc, etc, will they be able to sit through a tasting menu of 3 hours? How will their behavior affect other guests which the ambience is some what formal. You stated that your children have dined in fine restaurants, therefore, they would have no problem in Barcelona, though I have rarely encountered very young ones there. More likely they will be at informal places places such as Senyor Parallada, Pla, places in Barcelonetta where local families congregate for their Sat/Sun midday meals. As for El Quim and other places in the Boqueria, these are very small food stalls with stools (not more than a dozen or so) and counter. Children are welcome but getting a party of 5 seated will be quite a feat. During the packed lunch hour, many eat while standing up. And these are not the most comfortable places.
    Tapas/pintxos eating: many tapas places have table service and they will be appropriate for families. Others are mostly standup and stools and can be packed, therefore, will your children be able to deal with this type of ambience.
    Also keep in mind that the evening meal in any sit down restaurant, regardless how informal, rarely starts before 9pm. Tapas and pintxos are exceptions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PBSF

      I'd also suggest Barceloneta - my favourite part of the city to visit and eat.

      We certainly never miss eating there at least once on any long weekend visit to Barca. I've never really noted restaurant names, except for the 7 Portes, as we just tend to pick somewhere that looks "right" on the night. Never had a bad meal.

      No doubt others will disagree but I've never had better than indifferent tapas in years of visiting Catalonia.

    2. El Quim is really a cafe with bar stools in the middle of a market, so you need to grab the stools as they become vacant. Let people behind the counter know there are 4 (5) of you and they may organise the space - I say 4 because a 2 yo won't use a bar stool. Remember the market isn't open in the evenings - that means El Quim is closed.

      Spain is pretty child friendly but remember lots of food places (esp in Barcelona) don't get going to later in the evening

      1. I like Trobador for families. Good food, child friendly and they even have a space for kids to play/hang. Anyway, as previously posted most restos in Spain are kid friendly. I have taken my child to 3 star michelin restaurants and she loves to taste the different foods. Some will even offer something else that your child might enjoy instead of say, the "tasting menu" pasta or croquettas. Also, the places around the Barceloneta are pretty geared for families with big, long tables.

        1 Reply
        1. re: trvlcrzy

          Is there a particular Trobador that you recommend? It appears to be a restaurant group? Thanks!

        2. Thank you all for the insight. I now know enough to fine tune my dining research. Much appreciated!

          18 Replies
          1. re: shoprdoc

            In the Boqueria, there are a few famous names and these will invariably be crowded. In the back, there's Bar Central. Anna is a lovely lady and you may have better luck seating your party.

            Fonda Gaig is a good place to go for lunch with the kids. I saw several parties of grandparents and cute little children. The waiters were kind enough to give them big cushions to elevate them at the table.

            Since dinner is so late and long by North American standards, lunch is definitely a better option. The Cinc Sentits website used to read, "We welcome children for lunch." I don't know if they've changed it but you get their drift?

            1. re: Aleta

              Thank you Aleta! We will definately plan on lunch as our main.

              Fonda Gaig sounds wonderful. Will we need reservations for lunch? We would go either a Sunday or Tuesday...

              Thanks again to all for the help.

              1. re: shoprdoc

                Hi Shoprdoc! Sorry for the tardy response. If you go for Sunday lunch, it's best to reserve since Sunday lunch is family time for locals. You'll see the cute little kids, their well-dressed grandparents and maybe the in-between generation as well. Heartwarming and delicious. And don't feel pressured to order specific dishes for the kids. Even though the place looks fancy with the white table clothes, sharing is ok.

                You'll probably plan a day at the beach. A casual and fun place to eat there is KAIKU, down at Barceloneta beach. If you reserve ahead and ask for a table outdoors, you can enjoy their delicious arroz de chef -- smoked rice with squid ink and seafood -- while you sit on the terrace just steps from the sand. Sea urchin fritters with seaweed, salad, lemon tart etc. All very reasonably priced, unlike the tacky tourist joints lining the road from the Barceloneta metro station down to the beach. Don't play it by ear though - definitely reserve. I saw them turn away several groups of walk-ins.


                1. re: Aleta

                  Hi, i am going with my family in a couple of days and we only have 4 days there. Should we make time for Barceloneta or is it off season?

                  1. re: beeenie

                    You should always make time for Barceloneta.

                    1. re: Harters

                      Thanks, we are arriving this Sunday and only staying till Thurs with 2 kids age 14 and 10 . Do you think Sunday afternoon would be the best time to hit Barceloneta for a few hours? Thanks again, Leaving tomorrow feeling woefully unprepared but trying to catch up so any info is greatly appreciated.

                      1. re: beeenie

                        "Do you think Sunday afternoon would be the best time to hit Barceloneta for a few hours?"

                        Yes. A few hours may be long. This is not summer, you know.

                        1. re: beeenie

                          The weather report forecasts temperatures between 42 and 57 degrees. That's like a summer day in San Francisco. :-) I don't think I would spend much time on the beach. Much better to huddle around the grill at El Vaso de Oro, eating foie, solomillo or pimientos. Or try traditional Catalan food. This is "stew" weather!

                          1. re: beeenie

                            Sunday afternoon will be perfect - it's when many local families visit so you should be seeing it at its most natural. Sunday weather forecast is 14, so a bit chilly

                            1. re: Harters

                              Thanks so much....please tell me if this is a good plan...Think we will hit the steets around 2 pm , was planning on going to Cathedral area because I read on Sundays there is dancing and music...then Barceloneta, then a walk on the Ramblas. Our apt is by the Palace de la Musica so could probably use a good lunch recommendation in that area if you know of someplace casual open on a Sunday
                              Also any opinions about taking the Tourismo bus on Monday. Unfortunately I have had a lot of stuff going on and havent prepared that well for the trip or I wouldn't consider it. I have read lots of mixed reviews so any input is really appreciated.
                              Also any ipod apps that you think would be useful?
                              Thanks again.

                              1. re: beeenie

                                Bilbao Berria is a very good tapas place right in front of the cathedral, which is very near the Palau de la Musica. It is open on Sunday. Since it serves tapas, you can have a lot or little. Can't be more casual.
                                The walk that you describe - Cathedral, then Barceloneta, then a walk on the Ramblas, - is nice but may be too ambitious for little children.
                                A nice place to stop along your planned itinerary may be the Maritime Museum café.

                                I have never taken the hop-on-hop-off bus. My friends who have mobility issue or are in town for a short time enjoy it. Otherwise the very user-friendly metro has much better coverage and frequency. Also, the HOHO bus does not cover most of the old town because most of the streets there are too narrow and are pedestrian streets.

                                Lastly, could you indicate which restos you are interested in which get mixed reviews, so that we can share our experience and opinions more relevantly?

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  Sorry if I wasnt clear...the mixed reviews were for the bus. Also do you reccomend EL Glop Taverna for our lunch?

                                  1. re: beeenie

                                    "EL Glop Taverna"

                                    I don't know it except for its vacation which is sort of far from your itinerary. I was replying to your "planning on going to Cathedral area because I read on Sundays there is dancing and music...then Barceloneta, then a walk on the Ramblas. Our apt is by the Palace de la Musica so could probably use a good lunch recommendation in that area"?

                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      I think El Glop is near our apt so was thinking about going before we head out but it looks a little formal so i think we will go with Bilbao Bernia...looks right up our alley

                                      1. re: beeenie

                                        "Bilbao Bernia"

                                        It's Bilbao Berria.
                                        Yes, when you are lunching with children, a tapas place is especially user-friendly.

                                        "I think El Glop is near our apt "

                                        Taverna El Glop? From the Palau de la musica, it's about a 40 minute walk.
                                        Are you sure about where you are staying? :-)

                                        1. re: Parigi

                                          There's another El Glop near Plaça Catalunya and one on Rambla de Catalunya.


                                          1. re: SnackHappy

                                            Beenie asked for Taverna El Glop. Ther eis only one Taverna EG, on San Lluis.

                                        2. re: beeenie

                                          Beenie, you can go to the Braseria El Glop. It opens daily (even Sunday) and it is open all-day for traditional Catalan fare. From the Palau de la Musica Catalana, it's only 600 metres.

                                          Braseria El Glop, Carrer de Casp 21