Stellar squares

Time Out's selection of eight of Barcelona's most charming squares and their best restaurants and bars

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Plaça Prim

Poblenou's most emblematic square is the one that also houses the oldest residences. These humble, white 19th-century buildings that line the square were the homes of fishermen when Poblenou was a fishing village. Small and sweet Plaça Prim doesn't need a lot of frills to seduce passers-by. Three fantastic ombú trees, a less-than-spectacular fountain, a few benches and a single restaurant ... but what restaurant! Els Pescadors has the privilege of exclusive terrace rights and, while you can become a part of the exclusive set with cash or credit card, it's imperative that you get stuck in to a selection of their fresh seafood dishes in the square to set everything right with the world.

Els Pescadors

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Without a doubt, Els Pecadors is one of the top seafood restaurants in the city. It's not cheap, but the quality is well worth the cost.

  1. Plaça Prim, 1, Sant Martí, 08005
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El Tío Che

After visiting the square, treat yourself to a refreshing horchata or ice cream at this classic on the Rambla de Poblenou, just a stone's throw from the square.

  1. Rambla del Poblenou, 44, Sant Martí, 08005
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Plaça de El Sortidor

Maria Dias

Ah, Poble-sec! The once-overlooked district has quickly become the new place to be for locals who want to escape the more tourist-friendly areas. Beyond the chaos of the bars on C/ Blai (bless them), Plaça de El Sortidor is a refuge for residents and visitors in search of a bite or a quiet beer. It's hard to find a prettier little square in Poble-sec, despite the underground car park that exits right into the middle of it all. It's been a while since the neoclassic fountain that gave the square its name was moved up to Montjuïc, but never mind, you won't go thirsty, or hungry for that matter: Luki, La Soleá and El Sortidor are on hand to to look after you.

La Soleá

  • Price band: 1/4

With a good atmosphere and a covered terrace, La Soleá offers a menu that's not too long but stocked with quality dishes. They also have a fixed-price lunch menu.

  1. Plaça del Sortidor, 14, Poble-sec, 08004
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El Sortidor

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

With a decor that features stained glass, marble tables, and an impressive antique wooden refrigerator, El sortidor is not just another pretty face: they also know their way around Italian cuisine.

  1. Pl. del Sortidor, 5, Poble-sec, 08004
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Plaça de la Concòrdia

Maria Dias

Nothing overshadows the steeple of the church of Santa Maria del Remei. At 40 metres high, it's got no competition in this square surrounded by lovely 19th- and 20th-century buildings. We are in the heart of the 'Eixample de les Corts' and there's nothing here to remind us that busy avenues and skyscrapers are just around the corner. The Plaça de la Concòrdia is the most charming spot in the neighbourhood, proof that long before the L'Illa shopping centre or the F.C. Barcelona las Corts existed, there were little corners like this. Still making history are the Antiga Farmàcia, which began selling its potions in 1860, and the Mas Deu civic centre set in a magnificent 1897 modernist palace.

Fragments Cafè

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Here's where you'll find the bar with the most character in the barrio. A perfect place for a bite, a vermouth, or something stronger. If you can't find a spot on the terrace in the square, head inside where there's plenty of room.

  1. Pl. de la Concòrdia, 12, Les Corts, 08014
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Centre Cívic Can Deu

The Deu mansion was turned into a community centre in 1986. Their speciality is jazz and there's a bar that leads out onto the terrace in the square as well as a lovely interior patio.

  1. Plaça de la Concòrdia, 13, Les Corts
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Plaça de Osca

Maria Dias

From the kebab shop to the traditional Catalan restaurant, this Sants square invites you to quench your thirst and eat your fill. Fancy a craft beer and good croquettes? Head to Homo Sibaris. Dying for some focaccia and fresh juice? Get ye to Teta de Monja. The count stands at more than 10 bars that spread across the square, with four tables each. Despite this manna of chairs and tables, finding a spot to stop at night is no easy task, but when you do score a seat, no one will evict you from your little piece of urban paradise. On a practical note, you should know that the terrace closes down at 11pm.

Fo Bar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

From an early lunch through to evening cocktails, there are always healthy dishes on hand and drinks flowing to keep away grumblings of hunger and keep you from getting parched.

  1. Plaça d'Osca, 12, Sants, 08014
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Homo Sibaris

Stop by Homo Sibaris and try some of the most amazing craft beers, and if you lose your way, ask nicely and they'll let you sample some to see what you like.

  1. Plaça d'Osca, 3, 08014
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Plaça de la Virreina

Maria Dias

It's not the square with the most bars in Gràcia, nor is it the barrio's prettiest, but it's where you'll have the most fun. The rivalry between the three bars - La Virreina, La Cafetera and Terra Bar - is legendary, but what matters here is the atmosphere, which is cosmopolitan and relaxed, inhabited by those heading to and from Verdi Cinemas or the Teatre Lliure, students of the Swingmaniacs dance studio or the Taller de Guionistas writers' workshop, locals who are down for their morning coffee or an afternoon ice cream. Swing dancers take over the square many a Sunday, and after-school hours see the square converted into a battlefield of children filling water balloons from the fountain.

Beteau Lune

This has got to be one of the most loveable toy shops in the city, thanks to the warmth of the owners and their incredible inventory.

  1. Plaça de la Virreina, 7, Gràcia

La Cafetera

Going toe to toe with one of the square's favourite spots, Bar Virreina, La Cafetera pulls in punters with its lower prices and a wait staff that seems a lot friendlier. At least from afar.

  1. Plaça de la Virreina, 2, Gràcia

Plaça Eivissa

Maria Dias

Located in the heart of the old part of Horta, Plaça Eivissa is a square with a not-really-a-square shape. What also makes it unusual for a square in Barcelona is that it exudes the very essence of its environment, in the middle of a neighborhood that's not putting on airs. You'll find no trace of retro-bodegas, hipster bistros or gastrobars, no cupcake cafés or muffin bars. And nobody misses them. Locals and visitors alike gather around tables topped with classic taps, a couple of beers, maybe some churros or a pizza. Plaça Eivissa is where you go to detox from the hectic city centre.

Scott Chasserot

Quimet d'Horta

  • Price band: 1/4

This corner bar has been around for so long that it has become a true institution in the Horta neighbourhood. Their sandwiches (especially the omelettes) are revered throughout the city.

  1. Pl. Eivissa, 10, Horta-Guinardó, 08032
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Louise Se Va (Cafè Bar)

  • Price band: 1/4

Another Horta modern classic: sandwiches and salads with names of rock'n'roll legends that are just as tasty as they are cheap.

  1. Plaça d'Eivissa, 11, Horta-Guinardó, 08031
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Plaça de Hilari Salvadó

Maria Dias

This square is far from one of the most beautiful in Barcelona, and it's not even the prettiest in Barceloneta, but what it has going for it is that it's a little respite in an area that tends to go overboard to paint on thick scenery for tourists. It's not that it's a square free of foreigners, but here they live in harmony with the locals. Perhaps the proximity of Leo, the epitome of a local bar that's been around forever with a touch of the gritty, is what makes this miracle possible. By the way, Hilari Salvadó, a son of Barceloneta, was mayor of Barcelona between 1937 and 1939, and over the years worked to protect citizens from bombings.

Filferro

  • Price band: 2/4

Plates of quality cold cuts, succulent salads with burrata and parmesan cheeses, fresh sandwiches ... and the bread is from the Baluard bakery, now a benchmark with both restaurants and locals. The interior is nice, but nearly everyone prefers the terrace.

  1. Ciutat Vella, 08003
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Absenta

They've got more than 20 kinds of absinthe, and the decor looks like the result of drinking them all at once. Rock music and a good ambience.

  1. Sant Carles, 36, Barceloneta, 08003
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Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell

Maria Dias

Having to choose a single square in the Born was quite the challenge. It could have been the magical Plaça de Sant Pere de les Puel·les, or the one on C/Allada Vermell with its abundance of terraces and that façade full of plants that transports you to a town from 30 years ago. But the final decision went to Sant Agustí Vell, and not just because it's beautiful, but because it has the power to project calm amid the din of the Born. By day, you can buy organic fruit and vegetables in La Hamaca, or have lunch in the cosy Joanet. At night you can grab a bite in the tiny and alternative El Perro Blu or sit in the middle of the square on the terrace of the restaurant 1932.

Bar Mundial

This was one of the favourites of writers García Márquez and Vargas Llosa. It's not surprising – their tapas could inspire a hundred novels.

  1. Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell, 1, Ciutat Vella, 08003
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Maria Dias

1932

This restaurant opened a couple of months ago, with a decor that shows an attention to detail and Italian recipes on the plates.

  1. Sant Agustí Vell, 13

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