A Taste of Sant Antoni

Vibrant and avant-garde, with culinary delights galore, the Barcelona neighborhood of Sant Antoni revolves almost entirely around food and drink.

Text: Arantxa Neyra @arantxaneyra   map: Manuel Córdova @thechumbeques



A Day at the Market



PHOTOS: Rodrigo Diaz Wichmann

1. Mercat de Sant Antoni

The Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes, the Ronda de Sant Antoni, the Ronda de Sant Pau and the Avinguda del Paral·lel mark the borders of a nearly perfect triangle known as the neighborhood of Sant Antoni, part of Barcelona’s Ensanche district. The Mercat de Sant Antoni, a beautiful iron and glass building constructed in the late 19th century, is its nerve center. Every day at dawn, the hustle and bustle of the market begins, with the coming and going of boxes filled with prawns, steaks, cheeses and pickles that are delivered to the local bars. And on Sundays until 2:00 p.m., the market attracts collectors and nostalgia lovers who have come for decades in search of cultural artifacts like books, vinyl records, Roman coins and trading cards from all sorts of unusual collections.

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PHOTO: Rodrigo Diaz Wichmann

2. Bar Ramón

Just a few steps from the market, Bar Ramón is an essential post-shopping stop. “Our menu reflects the season, the market, our cravings and the weather,” that’s the philosophy of the owners of this Sant Antoni bar, open “since forever” (1939 to be more precise). A fine selection of pintxos (snacks) is on display at the bar, and the extensive list of homemade tapas can make your order a tough call. Choices include leek stuffed with caramelized onions, deep-fried goat and potatoes with alioli, plus an assortment of cheese (with quince paste) and sausages served with pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato). All these treats are complemented by a fabulous ambiance, complete with terrific music and a faithful clientele. If you’re in the mood, have a glass of domestically produced cava.

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Time for Breakfast

3. Federal

Sant Antoni has taken off as a gourmet hub in recent years thanks in part to an Australian couple who brought a breath of fresh air to the neighborhood with a spot named after their hometown: Federal. Open to the street (and to the neighborhood), this restaurant-café was an instant success with its Nordic lines and designer furniture. No longer the “hot new thing,” Federal is still a very pleasant dining experience, serving delicious brunches and lavish breakfasts with cage-free eggs. The fun, fresh menu changes throughout the day: sandwiches, pastas, salads, toast made from tasty breads, etc. Enjoy your selections as you leaf through fashionable European magazines or chat with a friend over a praiseworthy cup of coffee.

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Cafe Federal 1

PHOTO: inti gallardo

4. La Donutería

The fresh-baked artisanal donuts of La Donutería have created more than their share of addicts – no wonder it’s the best-loved (and most-hated) place in the neighborhood. It is hard to resist these tempting confections with complex flavors like pink grapefruit with yogurt, green apple with caramel or chocolate with violet or ganache. Just ask the army of devotees, who wait every morning for the day’s specials to be announced on social networks. Monday and Tuesday are the toughest days of the week, because these delicious treats are only served from Wednesday to Sunday. Try one with coffee, made from a proprietary blend.

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PHOTO: inti gallardo



A Splash of Vermouth


  • Calders

PHOTOS: Rodrigo Diaz Wichmann

5. Calle Parlament

Sant Antoni’s success has likewise been boosted by a graceful, authentic blend between bars that are old favorites and inventive new additions. They all attract a varied clientele that evolve and even develop their own circuits. Perhaps the most popular area of the moment is found along Calle Parlament, between the Raval and the Paral·lel. This is an excellent place to sample vermouth, and bar after bar offer interesting options. On the cozy terrace of Calders you can enjoy a pizzeta with caramelized onion, pear and gorgonzola or dig into the patatas Sant Antoni, a bombshell of sautéed potatoes, melted cheese, guacamole and spicy sauce. Another interesting option is Els Sortidors del Parlament (at Parlament 53), for tasty tapas and quality wines at reasonable prices.



The Perfect Night


Restaurat Ticket

phOTO: inti gallardo

6. Tickets Bar

You must have a ticket to dine here, not just because reservations are required (and only available well in advance through their Website), but because Tickets is also a performance. It’s not surprising when you consider that the restaurant is a product of the Adriàs family (in this case, Albert). It’s a real experience, full of Barcelona ambiance and delectable cuisine. Serving a diverse variety of tapas, Tickets is divided into themed sections that pay homage to different ingredients and ways of enjoying them. “La Presumida” is dedicated entirely to seafood, and “El Garatge” specializes in two Catalonian classics: pa amb tomàquet and grilled meats.

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PHOTO: inti gallardo

7. Bar Ultramarinos

There’s nothing particularly unusual about its appearance, but this two-story bar, near the neighborhood of El Raval, is a real temple to the gin and tonic. The indecisive will have a hard time: this may be a Hendricks bar, but there are at least 20 versions of that classic cocktail and more than 100 types of gin from around the world. If you want something other than a G&T, why not let bartenders Federico and Alex surprise you with their always-intriguing creations. On Tuesday and Wednesday, guests can learn about the entire distillation process in situ, and there’s always great music, with a focus on soul, jazz, funk, African and Latin rhythms.

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