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
Poble Sec
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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

Restaurants, Barbecue

Escairón

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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.

Restaurants, Italian

Xemei

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Zodíaco

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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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Restaurants, Creative contemporary

Club 53

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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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Restaurants, Italian

El Sortidor

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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.

Time Out says
Fundació Joan Miró
Maria Dias
Museums, Art and design

Fundació Joan Miró

icon-location-pin Sants - Montjuïc

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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Restaurants

Montalbán

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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.

Time Out says
Restaurants

Casa de Tapes Cañota

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Lia d'en Vicius

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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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Restaurants, Catalan

La Tomaquera

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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

Restaurants, Spanish

Quimet i Quimet

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

Packed to the rafters with dusty bottles of wine, this classic but minuscule bar makes up for in tapas what it lacks in space. The specialities are conservas (shellfish preserved in tins), which aren't always to non-Spanish tastes, but the montaditos, sculpted tapas served on bread, are spectacular. Try salmon sashimi with cream cheese, honey and soy, or cod, passata and black olive pâté. Get there early for any chance of a surface on which to put your drink.

La Tieta

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

Chickpeas with prawns, tasty potato omelette, mushrooms with garlic and parsley, amazing olives – the problem is knowing where to start. La Tieta is just a place with a marble bar that offers good wine, bottles of vermouth and an endless flow of draught beer. You won’t find any classics on the wine list – this week they’re in love with Mallorcan wine, and next week they’re crazy about Galician wine. There’s nothing unusual here, no secret, just good traditional food made from fresh ingredients and with skill and enthusiasm.

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Restaurants

Koska Taverna

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

This place could easily be included on the list of best Basque bars. This is Koska, and it lies in the well-known area of Carrer Blai, in Poble Sec. A small venue with only a few tables, they serve tapas such as ajoarriero and chorizo ​​in cider, combining them with local ingredients. Who said you can’t mix pimientos de piquillo with cured secallona sausage from Osona? There is a good range of wines, carefully selected by the owners. If you’re not sure what to order, remember, you're in a restaurant with Basque roots, so ask for txacolí or cider, they have them all year round.

What to see & do in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

Museums, Art and design

MNAC: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

icon-location-pin Sants - Montjuïc

'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

Museums, Art and design

CaixaForum

icon-location-pin La Font de la Guatlla

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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Museums, Art and design

Fundació Joan Miró

icon-location-pin Sants - Montjuïc

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.

Attractions, Sightseeing

Poble Espanyol

icon-location-pin Sants - Montjuïc

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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Font Magica de Montjuic
© Olivia Rutherford / Time Out
Attractions

Font Màgica de Montjuïc

icon-location-pin Sants - 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.

Shopping in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

Shopping, Antiques

Vintage-Room

icon-location-pin El Raval

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.

Poble Espanyol
© Elan Fleisher / Time Out
Attractions, Sightseeing

Poble Espanyol

icon-location-pin Sants - Montjuïc

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.

Advertising
Museums, Art and design

Fundació Joan Miró

icon-location-pin Sants - Montjuïc

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.

Shopping, Bookshops

Fatbottom

icon-location-pin El Raval

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.

Nightlife in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

Music, Music venues

Sala Apolo

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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.

Nightlife, Bars

Mau Mau Underground

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Tinta Roja

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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.

Time Out says
Theatre

El Molino

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

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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Restaurants

Upload Fooddance Club

icon-location-pin Sants - Montjuïc

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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