Enter La Terra and you'll instantly feel like getting out your Moleskine notebook and drawing sketches, writing poetry or jotting down some chords of that song you've been composing. Stories bloom in bars like this one on C/Ballesteries, a place full of creativity and charm. Sit down on the cushions by the windowsill and look at the houses that back on to the river Onyar. If the day's not great, take your time, enjoy a tea, a fresh juice (check out their juice of the day, you might be surprised by a new combination), a craft beer or a home-made hamburger. Even if it's just to walk on the mosaic floor and check out the decor, it's definitely worth spending some time there.
Cati and Lídia are much-loved among Girona diners looking for a great daytime eating experience. These cheerful twins prepare different specials each day that are really well-priced. For example, spaghetti with mushrooms, baked cuttlefish and a drink, all for just €8. If you get the chance, you should definitely try their potato omelette - it's really fluffy and they often serve it with a small beer ('canya') and slices of bread with tomato. For breakfast, have a sandwich (on Thursday you can get an omelette sandwich) with coffee, herbal teas or wine.
If the name makes you think of a restaurant with exotic cuisine, don't be confused; L'Aztan is, in actual fact, the name of the eatery's owner Natza, written backwards. There you can eat home-cooked, Mediterranean cuisine, with creative touches and no pretension. But what best defines L'Aztan is its multifaceted character: while there's a reasonably priced daily set menu, the kitchen is open all day meaning there's always tapas, pizzas and succulent burgers available. Add to that a really privileged location, with interior tables overlooking the river Onyar, and outside a terrace under the covered part of the square, it's no surprise that L'Aztan is a magnet for both locals and visitors to the Barri Vell, as they come and go across the river by the Sant Agustí bridge.
Udon was the first Japanese fast food restaurant to open in Girona. It was inaugurated in 2014 on C/ Santa Clara, right in the centre of the city. They serve Asian dishes, mainly featuring noodles, created with quality ingredients. You can enjoy all kinds of noodles: soba, thin ones and the thick udon variety - indeed the menu currently has some 15 different noodle options. The wok dishes are also a very good choice. Service is fast but friendly. It's a great place for anyone in a rush but who still wants to eat well. Definitely recommended.
Can Vidal moved 15 years ago to its spot under the arches on Plaça Miquel de Palol, because it had grown out of its original premises in the face of demand from locals who had become loyal clients over the previous 16 years. In this welcoming spot the specialities are home cooking, fresh ingredients and a set menu that, they're proud to say, is never repeated. You can choose between four starters, three mains and home-made desserts, as well as a drink. All for the amazing price of €10. Unbeatable! The bonus, which we recommend you don't miss under any circumstances, is the Galician octopus 'tapa'. The eponymous Vidal is himself from Galicia, which means that you can have total faith in this spectacular delicacy.
Pizzas, fresh and dried pasta, and risotto: the trio par excellence of any truly Italian restaurant and at La Piccola in Girona, you'll find them all. It's an ideal place if you're in the mood for some quality pasta. Do you like it stuffed? Well they have various types: wild mushrooms, provola cheese and speck (cured ham), gorgonzola and walnuts, meat, ricotta and spinach, salmon and fish. And don't forget the lasagna (both meat and vegetable types) and cannelloni (meat or spinach). When it comes to the dried pasta, you can combine it with any number of sauces, such as bolognaise, arrabiatta (be daring!), carbonara and four cheeses, among others. There's also a long list of pizzas cooked over a wood fire, which, if you prefer, you can take away to eat elsewhere. And the risotto options include some unusual flavours, such as cream of orange. Will you be able to choose just one plate off the menu?
Fed up of fatty, calorific fast food? Dream of strolling the streets with a green juice in hand? In Girona, your place is Nibble, located in the middle of La Rambla. It's a welcoming take-away place that specialises in 'slow fast food' and cold-pressed green juices, where everything is carefully thought about, right down to the last detail. On their menu they have hamburgers made with Girona beef and bread cooked over a wood-burning fire, pasta, fish and chips, and other global snacks, plus their star products: the 'nibs'. This is a savoury biscuit boat filled with a bed of lettuce and vegetables topped with some form of protein: steak tartare, duck magret, salmon or tuna tartare. It's a real delicacy created by the eatery's cook, Javi Benítez.
The set menus at Neptú bar are good both for your health and for your pocket. With a café-like ambience, Neptú keeps on raising the stakes with the creativity of its cooking. From Monday to Saturday (the Saturday set menu is slightly more expensive) they go to the market, buy what's in season, then think up healthy, innovative dishes to go on the set menu, dishes that change every day. Think seaweed soup with tuna tataki, grilled Girona veal, foie 'botifarra' sausage with sautéed wild mushrooms and truffle, and magret of duck with peanut and crunchy celery. They also have an à la carte menu that changes every four months, and a variety of self-service beers on tap that work with a card you can keep topping up.
One of the most classic casseroles you'll eat in Girona is the one served in the welcoming Can Coll. With a kitchen that's been functioning for more than 50 years, the stews cooked up in this hostal are nothing short of spectacular. Try a traditional 'escudella i carn d'olla' (classic Catalan soup made with vegetables, meat, bones, chickpeas and more) on Tuesdays and Saturdays; a succulent rice stew is served on Thursdays. If soup isn't your favourite dish, on Saturday you can also try veal with wild mushrooms or roasted pork cheeks. They don't have fixed menus but the daily set lunch options change every day. Close to the Cinema Museum, La Rambla and the Barri Vell, make sure you put Hostal Coll on the list of the places you can't miss.
Jordi Armengol is the man responsible for this small miracle, located on Plaça de Catalunya just by the Pont de Pedra. They work with fresh, local, seasonal products, and from Monday to Friday have a set menu that includes a drink, two courses and dessert, and the dishes are always very varied. One of the pluses about +Cub is their speed, serving the starters and mains almost at the same time. This is because, so they say, they want customers to eat well and quickly at lunchtime, without having to resort to a sandwich.
If you ask a resident of Salt, one of Girona's neighbouring towns, where to go for breakfast, lunch or a few beers, it's more than likely that they'll recommend Can Serrallonga. This bar-restaurant has, in a very short time, become one of the most emblematic and popular in Salt. Back in 2008, after more than a year since the mythic Bar la Bogeda had lowered its shutters for the last time and having seen that there was no other bar in Salt where to enjoy botifarra sausage on toasted bread, or a reasonably priced beer, Pep Rafart decided to open Can Serrallonga. It's a classic (Catalan) tavern like the ones there used to be in the good old days: simple dishes, traditional recipes and excellent beers.
Nelson is what we'd call a restaurant for the workers. Close to Girona's train and bus stations, it opens early to serve breakfasts to Girona residents who want to start their day with a sandwich, coffee and newspaper. The sandwiches feature cured meats, cheese and bread from Casa Moner, a bakery with shops across Girona that uses organic flour. Once the first meal of the day is done, staff start to prepare the set lunch menus. They focus on Mediterranean cooking and the dishes change on a daily basis, with eight starters and eight main courses to choose from - they include a lot of vegetables and fresh grilled fish. They also have more elaborate dishes such as 'fideuà' (Catalan noodle dish), rice varieties and traditional stews.
The hamburger society. That's the nickname that Kruskat's given itself, a big place where you're bound to find the burger that you fancy because you can choose the ingredients you want. From the type and quantity of meat to the sauce, each person can choose the Kruskat burger they want according to their own preferences. To go with your selection, they have a range of classic salads plus extras such as nachos with cheese, tomato, guacamole and jalapeño sauce, chicken wings with barbecue sauce and nuggets. And the menu of imported beers is extensive.
Close to the river Onyar and the train track, in an area popular with tourists, you'll find some of the best omelettes in Girona. At Can Sala they have around 12 different types with a variety of ingredients that are combined with one of two base recipes: potato with onion and aubergine, courgette and onion. They also make toasted chapata with grilled vegetables or cured meats, and have an outstanding selection of special 'botifarra' sausages, like the one with foie and apple, or one with asparagus and spring onion, all served with toasted bread. If you want an authentic local drinking experience, check out their list of 'ratafies' - ratafia is a herbal liquor with as many recipes as there are people making it; at Can Sala there are around ten varieties to try.
In just three years, Roser and Albert have taken a business in Pont Major that was on its last legs, and turned it around to such effect that they now serve around 100 people each day. Their set lunch menu is varied, mixing fresh ingredients with others that Roser, who's in charge of the kitchen, has cooked in advance. The set menu is usually made up of a green salad as an appetiser, four starters and four mains to choose from, and dessert. All for €10, from Monday to Friday. If you also want a proper breakfast, the kind you need a knife and fork to eat, theirs are starting to win a great reputation: pork cheeks, churrasco, tripe and more.