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Montjuïc & Poble-sec

Spend the day on the cool hill above Barcelona before enjoying the culturally thriving Poble-sec – a great destination for an evening's entertainment

It's often left off visitors' itineraries, but the hill of Montjuïc merits a wander. In summer, the hill is a few degrees cooler than the city below, and its many parks and gardens are excellent places for a shady picnic. There are also plenty of museums: the Fundació Joan Miró is as impressive for its Corbusier-influenced building as its collection.

A neighbourhood in the Sants district, Poble-sec runs from Av. Paral·lel to Montjuïc and was the first expansion of the city. Paral·lel is known for its theatres, music bars and cabaret clubs, including the inimitable El Molino.

Restaurants in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

Escairón

Critics' choice

Escairón is particularly remarkable for its Galician entrecot (sirloin steak) and caldo gallego (Galician broth). Jorge and Pilar make you feel at home, while the clientele are mostly regulars. Aside from the entrecot, main dishes include barbecue, stews, and especially the eponymous dessert, Escairón (crème caramel with a kind of nougat ice cream). Unforgettable fried potatoes accompany the meat dishes. This is the perfect place to delight your palate with the very best of Galician cuisine and fresh, quality market fare at reasonable prices and with excellent service.

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El Poble-sec

Xemei

Critics' choice

The Colombo twins (‘xemei’ means ‘twins’ in Venetian) have bewitched the most demanding fans of Italian cuisine, especially that of their Venice, their hometown. Theirs is a lovely trattoria with a very warm and friendly bohemian atmosphere. Dive in to the best of Venetian cuisine, starting with fegato alla veneta (Venetian-style liver), followed by black spaghetti (it's because of the squid ink, of course).

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El Poble-sec

Zodíaco

A small, charming bar offering appetizing, highly original dishes such as risotto with pumpkin, and potatoes in curry, yogurt and coriander.

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El Poble-sec

Club 53

Critics' choice

The defunct Tapioles 53 has been reborn as the exquisite Club 53: creative cuisine from a Brazilian, featuring all kinds of tasteful and imaginative dishes. Just try their superb false risotto, in which the rice is replaced by pasta made from melon seeds.

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El Poble-sec

El Sortidor

White marble tables, wooden chairs, photos from the early 20th century ... You will love the excellent pastas and simple cuisine made by the Italian chef, served in one of the district’s oldest, cosiest cafe-restaurants.

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El Poble-sec

Fundació Joan Miró

Josep Lluís Sert, who spent the years of the Franco dictatorship as dean of the School of Design at Harvard University, designed one of the greatest museum buildings in the world on his return. Approachable, light and airy, these white walls and arches house a collection of more than 225 paintings, 150 sculptures and all of Miró's graphic work, plus some 5,000 drawings. The permanent collection, highlighting Miró's trademark use of primary colours and simplified organic forms symbolising stars, the moon, birds and women, occupies the second half of the space. On the way to the sculpture gallery is Alexander Calder's rebuilt Mercury Fountain, originally seen at the Spanish Republic's Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Fair. In other works, Miró is shown as a cubist (Street in Pedralbes, 1917), naive (Portrait of a Young Girl, 1919) and surrealist (Man and Woman in Front of a Pile of Excrement, 1935). In the upper galleries, large, black-outlined paintings from Miró's final period precede a room of works with political themes.

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Sants - Montjuïc

Montalbán

With only eight tables and very reasonable prices, it's not easy to find a seat at Montalbán. The quality of their dishes and the ingredients are the reasons for their success. They offer some of the best seafood and rice dishes in town, such as creamy rice with lobster and monkfish stew with lobster.

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El Poble-sec

Casa de Tapes Cañota

Critics' choice

El Cañota is a Galicia-inspired seafood tapas bar, and it comes with good references. It’s the younger brother of the renowned Rías de Galicia, one of the greatest Galician restaurants in the city and the country. El Cañota serves the traditional dishes: fried fish and seafood, patatas bravas, Galician octopus, ensaladilla rusa, draught beer and wine. All of it top-quality, and in a laid-back venue that’s perfect for a celebratory meal, or for dinner after Teatre Lliure, Mercat de les Flors and BTM, which are all nearby.

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El Poble-sec

Lia d'en Vicius

A little place with great food where you can fill your belly, midday or evening, with total satisfaction guaranteed. Don't forget to try the croquettes, they're among the best in Barcelona.

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El Poble-sec

La Tomaquera

A relaxed, reasonably priced place that specialises in popular Catalan cuisine. You can't book (they have no phone), so get there early, but it's well worth a visit, among other things, for their snail dishes.

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Bars in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

Es Xibiu

The friends who launched Red Rocket Bar have also got a pintxos bar going in C/Blai: Es Xibiu benefits by having a Mallorcan in co-owner Bel, as well as a selection of pintxos (similar to tapas, mounted on small pieces of bread) with an unbeatable value for money and a dish of the day. Be sure to try the Mallorcan speciality drink, palo amb sifó. Saturdays at lunchtime mean vermouth hour with music spun by the best rock 'n' soul DJs on the national scene.

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El Poble-sec

Barramon

Some people will never get over the fact that Barcelona has three cold days a year. If you’re one of those people, then head straight to Barramon. Have a glass of wine, a dish of the house crinkly fried potatoes and imagine that you’re in the Canaries. The quiet intimacy of the tables, the black-and-white movie stills and the muted bar lights will multiply your nostalgia for palm trees tenfold. Also has a terrace on Carrer Blai.

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El Poble-sec

Bar Seco

This bar belongs to the Slow Food movement – they use local, sustainable produce to make the dishes for a menu that is quite short but more than sufficient to satisfy hungry bellies. Their bio-patatas bravas are rightly renowned. As is the outdoor terrace, just in front of the Montjuïc air-raid shelter.

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El Poble-sec

La Soleá

A small restaurant that offers a well-chosen selection of small, tasty dishes. You can’t go wrong with their Burger Queen – it’s a meal in itself.

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El Poble-sec

La Federica

Critics' choice

Don’t be suspicious of beautiful places: The interior decor at Federica is delightfully vintage (1970s Formica and plastic), while it serves such delicacies as dried tomato mousse and marinated eggplant, together with other Italian specialities fused with Argentine cuisine. Good list of wines and cocktails.

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El Poble-sec

Tribal Café

I don’t like to go against a puppeteer and a stagehand, because they are the kind of people who pulls the strings. If a couple like this owns the Tribal bar, and when they say that they prepare the best mojitos and caipirinhas of Poble Sec, I shut up my mouth, believe them and drink three in a row. While swallowing, I take a look to the puppets hanging everywhere, the imported beers and tables for couples who still have something to say each other. Okay, you've won; I'm a puppet in your hands!

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Sants - Montjuïc

Gran Bodega Saltó

La Saltó is a pioneering venue that has helped to turn Poble Sec into one of the liveliest districts in the city. And even though their opening hours are more night-time bar than local shop, neighbours often drop by in the evening to fill up their jugs of wine from the barrels. But the wine is not Bodega Saltó’s main attraction. There are not many places as picturesque as this in Barcelona. Renovated by designer Steve Forster in 2002, the bar operates as a small, quirky exhibition with all kinds of weird and wonderful things – antiques, stuffed tigers or dolls drinking from porrones.

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El Poble-sec

La Bohème

Critics' choice

This Argentinean family restaurant makes one of the city’s best matambres – veal roll stuffed with egg, spinach and carrot served cold in thin slices. They also do very good barbecue meats, escalope milanesa and empanadas.

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El Poble-sec

Psycho

Critics' choice

Named for the song by the Sonics, Psycho is a rock and roll bar that ticks all the boxes: red bar and walls, posters of The Who, The Dead Boys and Mystery Train; stickers of Black Flag, Shaft, Route 66, 13th Floor Elevators, Motorhead and Misfits; and a small back room where you can dance and sweat alongside the excellent sound system.Psycho's clientele is varied, but tattoos and the '50s look abound, with an age range from late-20s to early-40s. The big draw is Psycho's proximity to Apollo, and as it's open daily, it's the perfect place for a pre- or post-concert drink. You might even end up rubbing elbows with some of your favourite band members, as has been the case with Neurosis, Deer Tick and Swing Kids, who have all knocked back a drink or two in Psycho.

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El Poble-sec

Bar Rufián

Critics' choice

The war story goes something like this: the city government, in an effort to discourage private entities from getting into debt in the name of culture, prevents live music from playing the prominent role in Barcelona nightlife that local groups (and music lovers) are dying for, by laying down increasingly strict regulations. One of the few places that once gave life to the city, El Clandestino – which in little more than a year and a half had become one of the epicentres of local music – was dismantled.Gràcia's Roxanne is the most recent victim, and we offer our condolences and our rage. This fight is fierce and we will not surrender. We are like weeds: no matter how much you pull us up by our roots, we will continue sprouting up through every crack and crevice. We will win because we’ve got nothing to lose. They do: the next election.The staff of El Clandestino – Dani, Jorge, Ghenadie and Berta – have come back with El Rufián, a Poble-sec locale specialising in beers, vermouth, and aperetifs. The ingredients are simple: a cosy spot with modest aesthetics, excellent music, a friendly atmosphere and premium drinks – dark Moritz (not Epidur) from the barrel, La Secuita vermouth, olives and anchovies from L’Escala, tomatoes preserved in pesto from Navarra …Saturdays and Sundays are a party: go in for some vermouth and you’ll find a great place to meet kindred spirits spending the afternoon in good company. Conversation is flowing and energetic, the house beer – a mix of pale and

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What to see & do in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

MNAC: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

'One museum, a thousand years of art' is the slogan of the National Museum, and the collection provides a dizzying overview of Catalan art from the 12th to the 20th centuries. In recent years the museum has added an extra floor to absorb the section of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection that was previously kept in the convent in Pedralbes, along with the mainly Modernista holdings from the former Museum of Modern Art in Parc de la Ciutadella, a fine photography section, coins and the bequest of Francesc Cambó, founder of the autonomist Lliga Regionalista, a regionalist conservative party.The highlight, however, is the Romanesque collection. As art historians realised that scores of solitary tenth-century churches in the Pyrenees were falling into ruin – and with them, extraordinary Romanesque murals that had served to instruct villagers in the basics of the faith – the laborious task was begun of removing the murals from church apses. The display here features 21 mural sections in loose chronological order. A highlight is the tremendous Crist de Taüll, from the 12th-century church of Sant Climent de Taüll. Even 'graffiti' scratchings (probably by monks) of animals, crosses and labyrinths have been preserved.The excellent Gothic collection starts with some late 13th-century frescoes that were discovered in 1961 and 1997, when two palaces in the city were being renovated. There are carvings and paintings from local churches, including works by the indisputable Catalan masters of

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Sants - Montjuïc

CaixaForum

One of the masterpieces of industrial Modernisme, this former yarn and textile factory was designed by Puig i Cadafalch and celebrated its centenary in 2011. It spent most of the last century in a sorry state, briefly acting as a police barracks before falling into dereliction. Fundació La Caixa, the charitable arm of Catalonia's largest savings bank, bought it and set about rebuilding. The original brick structure was supported, while the ground below was excavated to house a strikingly modern entrance plaza by Arata Isozaki, a Sol LeWitt mural, an auditorium, a bookshop and a library. In addition to the permanent contemporary art collection, there are three impressive spaces for temporary exhibitions – often among the most interesting shows to be found in the city. Other notable Puig i Cadafalch buildings in the city include the Els Quatre Gats café and the Casa Amatller.

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La Font de la Guatlla

Fundació Joan Miró

Josep Lluís Sert, who spent the years of the Franco dictatorship as dean of the School of Design at Harvard University, designed one of the greatest museum buildings in the world on his return. Approachable, light and airy, these white walls and arches house a collection of more than 225 paintings, 150 sculptures and all of Miró's graphic work, plus some 5,000 drawings. The permanent collection, highlighting Miró's trademark use of primary colours and simplified organic forms symbolising stars, the moon, birds and women, occupies the second half of the space. On the way to the sculpture gallery is Alexander Calder's rebuilt Mercury Fountain, originally seen at the Spanish Republic's Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Fair. In other works, Miró is shown as a cubist (Street in Pedralbes, 1917), naive (Portrait of a Young Girl, 1919) and surrealist (Man and Woman in Front of a Pile of Excrement, 1935). In the upper galleries, large, black-outlined paintings from Miró's final period precede a room of works with political themes.

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Sants - Montjuïc

Poble Espanyol

Built for the 1929 Exhibition and designed by the Modernista architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, this composite Spanish village is charming or kitsch depending on your taste, and features reproductions of traditional buildings and squares from every region in Spain. The cylindrical towers at the entrance are copied from the walled city of Ávila and lead on to a typical Castilian main square; from here, visitors can explore a tiny whitewashed street from Arcos de la Frontera in Andalucía, then head to the 16th-century House of Chains from Toledo. There are numerous bars and restaurants, a flamenco tablao and more than 60 shops selling Spanish crafts. Outside, street performers re-create snippets of Catalan and Spanish folklore.

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Sants - Montjuïc

Font Màgica de Montjuïc

Still in possession of its original plumbing, the 'magic fountain' works its wonders with 3,600 pieces of tubing and more than 4,500 light bulbs. On summer evenings, the multiple founts swell and dance to anything from the 1812 Overture to Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé's Barcelona, showing off a kaleidoscope of pastel colours.

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Sants - Montjuïc

Shopping in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

Vintage-Room

Vintage-Room is the online store that Anna and Manuel have used as a receptacle for their all-encompassing obsession with furniture and objects from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Their discoveries in markets both in the south of France and right nearby are on display at Vintage-Room, where you can book a time to visit and check it out.

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El Raval

Poble Espanyol

Built for the 1929 Exhibition and designed by the Modernista architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, this composite Spanish village is charming or kitsch depending on your taste, and features reproductions of traditional buildings and squares from every region in Spain. The cylindrical towers at the entrance are copied from the walled city of Ávila and lead on to a typical Castilian main square; from here, visitors can explore a tiny whitewashed street from Arcos de la Frontera in Andalucía, then head to the 16th-century House of Chains from Toledo. There are numerous bars and restaurants, a flamenco tablao and more than 60 shops selling Spanish crafts. Outside, street performers re-create snippets of Catalan and Spanish folklore.

Read more
Sants - Montjuïc

Fundació Joan Miró

Josep Lluís Sert, who spent the years of the Franco dictatorship as dean of the School of Design at Harvard University, designed one of the greatest museum buildings in the world on his return. Approachable, light and airy, these white walls and arches house a collection of more than 225 paintings, 150 sculptures and all of Miró's graphic work, plus some 5,000 drawings. The permanent collection, highlighting Miró's trademark use of primary colours and simplified organic forms symbolising stars, the moon, birds and women, occupies the second half of the space. On the way to the sculpture gallery is Alexander Calder's rebuilt Mercury Fountain, originally seen at the Spanish Republic's Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Fair. In other works, Miró is shown as a cubist (Street in Pedralbes, 1917), naive (Portrait of a Young Girl, 1919) and surrealist (Man and Woman in Front of a Pile of Excrement, 1935). In the upper galleries, large, black-outlined paintings from Miró's final period precede a room of works with political themes.

Read more
Sants - Montjuïc

Fatbottom

Keep your eyes open wide as you enter into this little illustrated cave, packed wall to wall with stories about bears hunting salmon or the latest graphic novels from the hottest authors this second. This is Fatbottom, the graphic bookstore featuring everything from the classic comic book to pure artistic illustration.

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El Raval

Nightlife in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

Sala Apolo

This concert hall/nightclub has become the paradigm of indie clubbing in Barcelona and good live music without labels. Artists new to the scene as well as acclaimed pop, rock, folk and international electronic music stars grace the stage every day of the week.

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El Poble-sec

Mau Mau Underground

Right in the centre of Poble-sec, Mau Mau Underground is a lounge club in an old warehouse space. It's open Thursday to Saturday, as well as whenever there's a football match on (so.. every day?), and with its two giant screens it's a great place to watch the match with a group of friends. Behind the bar they pour more than 35 types of gin and 20-some premium vodkas.

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El Poble-sec

Tinta Roja

Critics' choice

In this little hole dug out of the cement in Poble-sec, the air is filled with the musty, bohemian scent of tango taverns from the turn of the 20th century. With 12 years behind it, Tinta Roja is no spring chicken, but it seems as old as the Giza Necropolis. Ghosts whisper Argentinean milongas into your ear, and the air smells as if it has been imported specially from Argentina.Crossing the threshold is like being transported to a Victorian occultist fair in Rosario, as you dive into the reddish depths of the bar, you're welcomed by antique furniture, tables and chairs, strange objects covered with dust – a bicycle, an accordion – yellowed paintings from times gone by... A parade of enchanting old artefacts that give way to borderline grotesque surroundings that play host to dance classes and tango concerts.The surreal atmosphere creates a sort of acid trip–like euphoria, accentuated by the dim, reddish lighting and countless dark corners. A place out of time in an era of premium cocktail lounges and hipster beach bars. Without a doubt, if you drink enough of the delicious Argentinean liquor Legui, and if you’re not bothered about hearing voices, put your ear to the wall: you’ll swear you can hear Carlos Gardel singing Mi Buenos Aires Querido from a gramophone beyond the grave.

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El Poble-sec

El Molino

Following the renovations in 2010, this famous theatre has been reborn from its ashes. El Molino ('The Mill' – think Moulin Rouge) has regained the splendour of its glory days when it was the best-known theatre of the Paral·lel area, irreverent and with its own way of poking fun at the censorhsip of the time. El Molino continues its history of cabaret, burlesque and music hall shows, as well as theatre and flamenco performances.

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El Poble-sec

Upload Fooddance Club

A restaurant-club in Poble Espanyol that offers cabaret shows, where Evita Mansfield is the reigning queen, and the rest of us mere subjects; but we are allowed to dine, and dine well, as the kitchen offers a creative menu. That's the norm for a Friday night, as the other nights are when we are entertained with live music from the latest Catalan pop-rock bands, who can also sometimes be resident bands at the club.

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Sants - Montjuïc

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