Sarrià was its own independent town until 1921, when it was gobbled up by Barcelona and became the city's new uptown area, not only for its geographical location but also for its more posh homes, shops and restaurants.
Restaurants in Sarrià
Juan Antonio Miró is an omelette guru: He opened this restaurant in 1985, and from the outset he focused on omelettes: You can try simple culinary works of art here such as caviar, crab or smoked salmon omelettes. And there’s omelettes for dessert: try the cherry and banana variety.
A small corner of French flavours and memories, where the most exquisite palates return to sample the finest oysters from Normandy. This is how Ainaud Thierry, the owner, describes them: "They are from the Atlantic, and that means they’re fatter, fleshier, some a little sweet, but all with that deep taste of the sea." The Marennes Oléron oysters which they serve at Gouthier are refined and bred organically. Their flavour is more delicate than the ones from the ocean deeps, less bitter and iodised. In an atmosphere of understated good taste, with a few tables and some high ones for snacks, this restaurant offers not only oysters but also high-quality canned goods rarely seen on the market, such as smoked eel with saffron, monkfish liver, salmon nose and smoked cod belly. An excellent selection of cheeses. Wines and champagnes are served by the glass, with prices to suit all pockets and tastes.
Thanks to chef Jordi Vilà, this little restaurant with so much history behind it has once again become a benchmark of fine cuisine, with a menu featuring top-quality tapas and dishes at affordable prices. It’s hard to make you mind up about certain dishes, as Vilà’s amazing creativity makes things a little difficult. It also has a nice interior terrace, perfect for spring, summer and autumn nights.
A cross between Basque and Mediterranean cuisine, with top-quality meat and fish. This emblematic restaurant opened in the late 1970s, but it is still renowned for its good food, good service and for being one of the most elegant eating houses in the city. A FAD award-winner, this lovely restaurant was built on top of an old dry stone irrigation wall. In winter one of their two outdoor terraces is open, with seating for 50 people.
Bars in Sarrià
It doesn't get any more uptown than this, geographically and socially. Located at the top of Tibidabo, this small bar is packed with the high rollers of Barcelona, from local footballers living on the hill to international entrepreneurs on the company card. They're drawn here for the view and the artificial wind that sweeps through the tropical shrubbery outside on hot summer nights.
A delicious double option: downstairs there's the tapas bar, with temptations such as patatas bravas, Galician octopus and cuttlefish with meatballs, while upstairs you'll find the restaurant, which serves succulent fish and entrecots. The terrace bar offers a breathtaking view of old Sarrià.
I feel like going to Twist one night and using the cheesy line "What is a girl like you doing in a place like this?” on them, because the location of this cocktail bar is a mystery on a par with the Holy Trinity. It really shouldn’t be here, one of the best cocktail bars in Barcelona marooned on this mundane, boring street where it languishes between a school and a car-repair shop. Too many people already know about it, for which I and Time Out Barcelona must take some of the blame, but the gin cocktails they mix here can make you believe in eternal life, or at least the resurrection of the dead.
On quiet nights, this discreet little wood-panelled cocktail bar, its long mahogany counter burnished by the same well-clad elbows for years, has something of an Edward Hopper feel. Friday and Saturday nights are an altogether different proposition, however, and you'll need to make yourself noticed to get a drink from the unsmiling bar staff.
People who don’t live in Sarrià can’t stand the Monterrey. Basically because it stops them from describing it as an elitist, bourgeois district that’s full of posh restaurants and patisseries where you wonder if you’re going to need a mortgage to buy a croissant. Because the Monterrey is a normal bar. Good heavens, I never thought I’d ever say that! There’s nothing wrong with a being normal bar with tiled walls – it’s wonderful. And with all the fancy places around here, it’s so nice to be able to order a pork and cheese sandwich, a hamburger with ketchup, and a shandy,
With a beautiful wooden terrace that deserves a prize, Quinto Pino is a hidden treasure in this posh part of town. It’s an ideal place to spend the evening, have a drink (from their incredible collection of spirits) and, if you’re used to dining at home, break from routine with the sensational tapas and sandwiches from their menu. For parents with, shall we say, energetic offspring, the children’s park next to the terrace is a great place to let them loose and still keep an eye on them over a beer and croquettes, giving yourself a little break from the demanding duties of parenthood.
What to see & do in Sarrià
Said to be the biggest science museum in Europe, CosmoCaixa doesn't, perhaps, make the best use of its space. A glass-enclosed spiral ramp runs down an impressive six floors, but actually represents quite a long walk to reach the main collection five floors down. Here you'll find the Flooded Forest, a reproduction of a flora- and fauna-filled corner of Amazonia, and the Geological Wall, along with temporary exhibitions.From here, it's on to the Matter Room, which covers 'inert', 'living', 'intelligent' and then 'civilised' matter: in other words, natural history. However, for all the fanfare made by the museum about taking exhibits out of glass cases and making scientific theories accessible, many of the displays still look very dated. Written explanations often tend towards the impenetrable, containing phrases such as 'time is macroscopically irreversible', and making complex those concepts that previously seemed simple.On the plus side, the installations for children are excellent: the Planetarium pleases those aged five to eight, and the wonderful Clik (ages three to six) and Flash (seven to nine) introduce children to science through games. Toca Toca! ('Touch Touch') educates children on which animals and plants are safe and which to avoid. One of the real highlights, for both young and old, is the hugely entertaining sound telescope outside on the Plaça de la Ciència.
In 1326, the widowed Queen Elisenda of Montcada used her inheritance to buy this land and build a convent for the Poor Clare order of nuns, which she soon joined. The result is a jewel of Gothic architecture; an understated single-nave church with fine stained-glass windows and a beautiful three-storey 14th-century cloister. The place was out of bounds to the general public until 1983, when the nuns, a closed order, opened it up as a museum (they escaped to a nearby annexe).The site offers a fascinating insight into life in a medieval convent, taking you through the kitchens, pharmacy and refectory, with its huge vaulted ceiling. To one side is the tiny chapel of Sant Miquel, with murals dating from 1343 by Ferrer Bassa, a Catalan painter and student of Giotto. In the former dormitory next to the cloister is a selection of illuminated books, furniture and items reflecting the artistic and religious life of the community.
Casa Orlandai is a cultural centre in Sarrià run by locals and other neighbourhood entities. The place was created as a response to the desire for more cultural events in the area and encourages innovation, art, and peaceful coexistence. Its programming includes cultural activities such as concerts, exhibitions, seminars, conferences, family events and parties. It's not all just information about the neighbourhood either – Casa Orlandai is also home to the Café Orlandai, Ràdio Sarrià and the headquarters of the Taller d’Història de Sarrià.
Finca Güell was yet another commission that Antoni Gaudí received from his patron Eusebi Güell. The project was to remodel the mansion originally designed by architect Joan Martorell and build an enclosing wall around it, just like gatehouses.Gaudí’s design was a wall with several doors, inspired by Asian styles with hints of Mudejar influences. The main door is the most famous, thanks to its impressive dragon-shaped iron grille.
Shopping in Sarrià
Le Monde de Sophie is a shop with a Parisian air that sells stylish clothes imbued with romance. Dress yourself up in names like Sugar Hill, Traffic People, Pepa Loves, Kling and Dí Que Sí. Treat yourself to a touch of glamour to perfectly complement or spice up the basics in your wardrobe.
This beautiful locale in Sant Gervasi – where white walls and tiled floors dominate – is the base of operations for Sayan. The Balinese influence is undeniable: silks, embroidery and colours abound, and there's even more to admire in the display case full of scarves at the entrance. In the shop, almost all of the fabric has the Sayan tag: Soledad designs the clothes and much of it is made in Indonesia. All is practical and perfect for urban living with a definite exotic flavour.
Nightlife in Sarrià
The latest from Berlin's minimal electro scene reaches Barcelona via this uptown concert hall. After the live shows by local rock stars or international indie success stories, a packed and music-loving crowd throbs to sophisticated electronica and its bizarre attendant visuals. Upstairs, in the Red Room, DJs playing indie pop rock provide an alternative to the pounding beats of the main room.
Otto Zutz should have been great. Located away from the maddening crowds of the old quarter in a three-floor former textile factory that oozes character, the initial concept held potential in abundance. But it got lost somewhere amongst the pretentious staff, mediocre house music and bad R&B. Fortunately, the crowd doesn't seem to notice – this place sure can pack in the punters, especially when it comes to the young and dolled-up. Flyers are ubiquitous.
One of the few clubs in Barcelona that caters to an older, well-dressed crowd, Universal doesn't charge admission, but the drink prices are pretty steep. Upstairs is a chill-out area, complete with aquatic slide projections, while downstairs sports a sharper look. Later, the music moves from down-tempo to soft house, which works the crowd up to a gentle shimmy.