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Mediamanga, L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixamples

Instantly inviting due to its art deco and modernist design accents, the narrow dining room of Mediamanga segues seamlessly into its open kitchen. Here chef Domenico Ungaro delicately plates up servings of fig carpaccio with shaved foie gras or seared red mullet with apricot emulsion. Ungaro’s focus is on raw ingredients of superlative quality and traditional recipes prepared simply but always with an added twist or technique. The resulting dishes are on a level of modernity that’s in keeping with the tasteful décor courtesy of Barcelona designer Cristina Carulla. 

13 Carrer d’Aribau, 08011 
+34 93 832 5694 
mediamanga.es
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Can Cisa/Bar Brutal, El Born 

In Spain, describing something as brutal (pronounced “broo-tal”) is one of the highest forms of praise. So when your waiter asks you how your meal was, “brutal” is the perfect reply. Can Cisa is the wine bar through which one enters Bar Brutal, where founders Max and Stefano Colombo – also of Xemei – serve small dishes from Spain and Italy. All the wines here are natural and many are also organic and biodynamic.

14 Carrer de la Princesa, 08002 
+34 93 319 9881
cancisa.cat
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Bistrot Levante, Barri Gòtic

Levante, named after the wind that wafts from the eastern Mediterranean, is a breath of fresh air in a city brimming with too-trendy tapas bars. Dishes here are light, simple and vegetable-laden with plenty of za’atar, plus piles of pitas and hummus served with kumquat. The bean scene is top notch too, with organic coffee from a gleaming Milan-made Rocket Espresso machine. 

Owner Emiliano Armani’s training as both architect and chef ensures an easy equilibrium between dishes and décor. The small, fig-tree-filled dining area is so light that you will be forgiven for thinking you’ve strayed into the charming square outside.

Placeta de Manuel Ribé, 08002 
+34 93 858 2679 
bistrotlevante.com

Satan’s Coffee Corner, Barri Gòtic

“So many speciality cafés have such a soft edge to them,” says the owner of Satan’s, Marcos Bartolomé, with a chuckle. “My brand of cheeky fun is a way of putting them on edge instead.” The sign advising “no wi-fi, no decaf and no bullshit” is more honest manifesto than hostile welcome; here the tone is nonchalant but never in a too-cool-to-serve-you way. One of the pioneers of Barcelona’s coffee cadre, Bartolomé ensures his beans, pastries and Japanese breakfast are all top notch. Although satellite versions of his café pop up in other spaces around the city, this is his permanent home. 

11 Carrer de l’Arc de Sant Ramon del Call, 08002 
satanscoffee.com
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Paradiso, El Born

Paradiso is hidden behind the heavy wooden door of an old-school pastrami bar’s antique refrigerator. The speakeasy is one of the most highly regarded cocktail bars in Barcelona, with award-winning bartender Giacomo Giannotti at the helm of the elegant haunt. Clouds of dry-ice smoke waft over delicate and eccentric serving vessels – from Japanese teapots to crystal skulls – and a breadth of cocktails such as the Salvador Dalí Manhattan (a sweet-and-bitter take on the classic) and the Breakfast in Kentucky, made with egg white, bacon, bourbon and maple syrup – it’s far better than it sounds. If you get peckish, ask for a sourdough sandwich, made with pastrami from the up-front deli, which is run by Eixample-based restaurant Rooftop Smokehouse.

4 Carrer de Rera Palau, 08003 
+34 93 360 7222
paradiso.cat

Images: Silvia Conde

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