BARCELONABarcelona: The Local Insider

We talk to one of Barcelona’s style innovators, Maxi Zigart, about the city’s design scene and the best, secret spots to eat.


Barcelona: The Local Insider

We talk to one of Barcelona’s style innovators, Maxi Zigart, about the city’s design scene and the best, secret spots to eat.

best places to shop and eat

Follow the trail of Barcelona’s cool-hunters and design buffs and soon or later, it will lead you to Luzio, a nexus of Barcelona’s design scene.  One of the city’s first concept stores, opened in 2006 by Argentine Maximiliano Zigart and his Catalan wife Maria Jose Gomez, the store now spans 1000 metre2 of light-filled set in Sant Gervasi, one of the city’s chicest neighbourhoods. ‘When we began, it was tough, there wasn’t much like it in the city, but we wanted to share our vision, and in the end, it paid off with the business growing 25% a year in the past 3 years”.  With hand-curated pieces sourced from global travels, Luzio is like an Aladdin’s trove of treasures combining antique jewellery with contemporary design pieces, custom-made furniture with collector’s items and one-off pieces hand-crafted by artisans. Constantly on the edge of innovation, the entire shop transforms every 15 days, challenging its diverse range of clientele to see things in a new light and reimagine how different styles and origins can be combined in surprising, seductive and seriously instagrammable ways.  The pair also channel their interior design talents and unique perspective into private and commercial projects, including 5 star hotel  such as The Pulitzer in Paris and The Principal in Madrid, as well as a diverse catalogue of some of Europe’s hippest private homes. A die-hard foodie, Maxi (as he is known to friends) fulfilled a lifelong dream in July 2016, when he opened his own restaurant inside Luzio.  A Brooklyn-inspired Gastro-Bar, Iluzione serves traditional Italian food in an open-minded way; “We source our pastrami from Poland. I had to do some serious research before we opened, which led me to eat pastrami all over New York. The one we serve is the most similar to the one in Katz, you know, where Sally has the orgasm in when Harry met Sally?!” One of the most connected innovators in town, Maxi shares his take on Barcelona’s design culture, how the city is changing and the best places to eat in Barcelona.

What do you find inspiring about Barcelona from a design perspective?

From the art to the buildings, the city is so intricately connected with design in a way that other cities aren’t. Take the architecture, take Gaudi, so many of the buildings were experiments, so the style here is very eclectic. Being stylish in Barcelona is all about individuality, everyone likes to be original from one another, so it’s about how to stand out, how to collect items over the years and mix them together.  Besides the football club, there are no designer brands here, Barcelona is much more about the artisan culture.  You won’t find locals wearing Ralph Lauren, what they care about is their own style and how they can combine things in a unique and innovative way.

How have you seen Barcelona evolve since you first arrived?

It has evolved a lot.  It used to be quite a tough city as the locals can be quite closed when it comes to foreigners, but when someone opens their home to you, it’s totally real. Now people from all over the world are coming to live here, so it’s opening up. The other thing is the food scene: it used to be 99% Spanish food, but now you have great food from Mexico, Korea, Japan…. You get the same diversity as London but the quality is much better.  I feel bad to say it as an Argentine, but the quality of meat you get is ten times better than Buenos Aires!

What do you love most about living here?

The food is one of the top things, then there is the weather and the location, the fact you have both amazing beaches and mountains nearby, and finally the people. They are starting to open up and trust more, and that is changing the atmosphere here.

Maxi Zigart’s Insider Take On…

Where to eat in Barcelona.

1. Sense Pressa

Make sure you ask the waiter for the specials at this traditional Catalan spot, which combines beautiful home-cooked food with an intimate atmosphere of just 8 tables.  It’s worth booking ahead.

Carrer d’Enric Granados, 96, 08008

+34 932 18 15 44

2. Cal Siscu

Old-fashioned, relaxed and full of charm, this local spot specialises in vermouth and fantastic fish dishes at great value prices.

Carrer Dr. Martí i Julià, 84, 08903

+34 934 40 72 58

3. Disfrutar

Set in chic Eixample, Disfrutar is a foodie mecca, with innovative Mediterranean dishes expertly crafted by 3 El Bulli Alumni that delight the senses with their creativity.  Be sure to book a few weeks in advance and opt for the tasting menu.

Carrer de Villarroel, 163, 08036

+34 933 48 68 96

4. BarMut

Expect stylish seafood (sea-urchins and lobster scrambled eggs) at this chic bar-restaurant that straddles a corner in the hippie-chic neighborhood of Gracia. The charming service and soft lighting make it a great spot for a date.

Carrer de Pau Claris, 192

+34 932 17 43 38

5. D’Giorgio – Rubi

Serious Italian-style pizza cooked in the wood-fire oven are the speciality at this cozy neighborhood spot, which locals claim rivals Naples best.

Av. de l’Estatut, 229, 08191 Rubí

+34 936 99 62 31

6. Cheriff

Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior of this laid-back spot close to the Port, Cheriff serves up some of the best paella in town, along with a range of super fresh seafood. It’s not the cheapest option, but portions are big enough to share.

Carrer de Ginebra, 15

+34 933 19 69 84

7. Le Petit Paris

Tucked away on a back-street, this wonderful tapas spot something of a local secret, and a great spot for both lunch, dinner and snacks at reasonable prices.

Carrer de Calàbria, 136

8. Parco

Set at the top of Paseo de Gracia, this happening Japanese-fusion restaurant is a favourite of foodies looking for an innovative take on Japanese classics.  Trust the waiter to guide you through the  speciality sashimis.

Passeig de Gràcia, 119

+34 932 38 78 22

9. Koy Shunka

You can watch the masters at work while sat at the sushi bar at this world-class Japanese dining spot.  The sophisticated setting and mind-blowing flavours don’t come cheap, but the experience is well worth it.

Carrer d’en Copons, 7, 08002

+34 934 12 79 39

10. Piccola Cuccina Italiana

Nestled in the mountains between Barcelona and St. Cugat, this tiny-hole-in-the-wall spot is a serious find, specialising in beautiful prepared, fresh Italian food served in characteristic abundance by the charming Napolitan owners. Don’t miss the tasting menu.

Carretera de Vallvidrera A Sant Cugat, 08198

+34 628 63 88 78

  • Love at First Sight
    LisbonLove at First Sight

    How a sustainable approach to development can breathe soul into a city.

  • The city that sings: Lisbon’s creative scene
  • Barcelona: The Local Insider
    BarcelonaBarcelona: The Local Insider

    We talk to one of Barcelona’s style innovators, Maxi Zigart, about the city’s design scene and the best, secret spots to eat.

  • Expert Profile Parisian Property Advisers Clementine Georges
  • Where to work in Barcelona
    BarcelonaWhere to work in Barcelona

    British-born entrepreneur Benjamin Nachoom talks global business trends and how Barcelona’s work culture is shifting.

  • The secrets to investing in Barcelona's property market
  • Bamboo Is this the future of sustainable building?
  • Lisbon’s hottest new neighborhood Intendente
  • Ahead of the curve: What's next for Lisbon?
  • An Artist's Guide to Paris
    ParisAn Artist's Guide to Paris

    Where do the modern-day Monet's hang-out? Athier Mousawi shares his paint-splattered black-book on his favourite art-inspiring spots and the hidden places where creatives go to connect. Consider this your ultimate insider artist’s guide to Paris.

  • Do artists still live in Paris? Property and Art in Paris
  • How to buy property in Lisbon expert insight Carlota Pelikan Athena Advisers
  • Where to Eat in London? London's best insider restaurants
  • Lisbon's organic and vegetarian scene takes off
  • Luxury rental service One Fine Stay set to take on the world
    LondonLuxury rental service One Fine Stay set to take on the world

    Onefinestay, which rents homes far beyond the ordinary, is poised for global dominance. We talk to Deputy CEO Keyvan Nilforoushan about what lies behind their success, and how to get your property on to their increasingly competitive books.

  • Val D'Isere Special: Insider Travel Guide with Roman Carel
  • All the Way to the Top – The Changing Face of Val d’Isere
  • Where the Locals Go Mauritius
    MauritiusWhere the Locals Go Mauritius

    Time for some winter sun? Here’s how to get beyond the super spas and beach resorts of one of the world’s most gorgeous islands and live it like the locals do.

  • How to change the world smog free towers Daan Roosegaarde
  • Restaurants that Paris Locals Love
  • Diversify Your Portfolio: Could You Make Your Living Off a Tescos?
  • Where and how to buy property in the Alps with Destination Adviser Charles-Antoine
  • How I Live: Adventure Master-Mind Bobby Melville
  • Surf's Up: Where to Surf in Lisbon
  • A Chic Weekend Style Guide to Paris
    ParisA Chic Weekend Style Guide to Paris

    In the words of Aubrey Hepburn, ‘Paris is always a good idea”. Local design expert Pierre Frey shares his insider tips for the chicest weekend in Paris.

  • Why Lisbon's Tech Scene is on Fire
    LisbonWhy Lisbon's Tech Scene is on Fire

    Lisbon has already been hailed as Europe's answer to San Francisco, yet as the world's leading tech conference moves its headquarters to the Portuguese capital, the start-up scene looks set to accelerate.

  • An Insider's Travel Guide to La Rosière
    The French AlpsAn Insider's Travel Guide to La Rosière

    As Alpine property advisers, we love skiing as much as you do. Its why, every season, we connect with our network of on-the-ground experts across the Alps to get the inside-track. Now, instead of passing around hand-written tips before trips, we’ve compiled the AA’s Alpine Guide. Don’t dream of buckling your boots without it…

  • 350 million euro investment to put one of France's first ski resorts back on top
  • Why the locals love the Left Bank ?
    ParisWhy the locals love the Left Bank ?

    Globally renowned as a cornerstone of Parisian culture and heritage, Paris' 6th arrondissement encompasses St German, The Left Bank and some of the city's most iconic brasseries, but what's it really like behind the scenes? Locals share their insights and where to go to beat the tourist crowds.

  • How I Live: Adventure Journalist Tobias Mews
  • Developing a Design Icon: Battersea Power Station
  • Interior Design Report: The Wonderful World of Pierre Frey
  • Principe Real: Lisbon’s Hip New Shopping Hub
  • Where to eat in Lisbon: Restaurants that locals love.
  • Designing for the Future: London's newest neighborhood
  • Trend Focus: Where the sun shines and the living is easier
  • How I Live: Relocating to Mauritius
    MauritiusHow I Live: Relocating to Mauritius

    How a move to Mauritius enabled a high-flying tech executive to swap the rat-race for sunshine time with his young family and new business opportunities.

  • Dollar swing sets the Paris property market up for a boom.
    ParisDollar swing sets the Paris property market up for a boom.

    “There has never been a better time to invest. We have seen international property investment increase 4% in the last 6 months, and with the current rate of dollar investment, prices are set to increase" says Camille Letuve, a Partner at Athena Advisers,

  • How I Live: Alpine Adventurer Squash Falconer.
  • City vs. Country in Paris with Bridgitte Dempsey
  • Weekend escapes from Paris
    ParisWeekend escapes from Paris

    The founder of one of Paris's hippest organic grocery stores L'Epicerie Générale, Marseille-born Maud Zilnyk shares her secrets on where she goes in Paris and the best place to escape for the weekend.

  • Paris Focus: Why this new launch is the rarest of finds
    ParisParis Focus: Why this new launch is the rarest of finds

    “If new-builds are rare, waterfront new-builds in Paris are virtually unheard of.” As part of an exploration of the Parisian property market, we take a look at one of the most eagerly awaited launches in Paris of the decade, a water-front Haussmannian beauty on the city-centre island of Ile de la Jatte.

  • City vs. Country in Paris with Émilie Gervoson
    ParisCity vs. Country in Paris with Émilie Gervoson

    In this series we follow 3 Parisiennes, short on time, but keen for adventure as they navigate life in Paris, local property prices and planning the perfect weekend getaway within 3 hours of Paris.

  • Trend report Mauritius
    MauritiusTrend report Mauritius

    ‘Every weekend in Mauritius is like ‘les grandes vacances’, says 33 year old Parisian-born Franco-Mauritian Isabelle Dupond ‘It feels like being a kid again.

  • Why Summering In The Alps Is Back
    The French AlpsWhy Summering In The Alps Is Back

    For years only frequented by locals and a handful of clued-up foreigners, the crisp mountain freshness, soaring valleys and sky high-blue of the French Alps is now becoming a must-visit Summer and savvy property investment destination.

  • Santos: Lisbon’s Newest Epicentre of Cool
    LisbonSantos: Lisbon’s Newest Epicentre of Cool

    Perched on a hill facing the river, Santos is home to a kaleidoscope of art aficionados, architects and designers. Design pioneers Paris:Sete shine a light on life in Santos.

  • Paris city Adviser interview: Clement Felisa
    ParisParis city Adviser interview: Clement Felisa

    To celebrate the recent launch of our new Paris offices, who better to talk to about the passions and pitfalls of the Parisian property market than our city advisor, Clement Felisa.

  • One Day In Hackney With James Ramsden
    LondonOne Day In Hackney With James Ramsden

    Following on from our insider interview with foodie-cum-restaurateur James Ramsden, we delve into his Black-Book for spots not to miss for the authentic East London experience.

  • Hackney Under the Spotlight, London’s Hippest Neighborhood
    LondonHackney Under the Spotlight, London’s Hippest Neighborhood

    While once renowned for its rhyming slang and traditional pubs, East London has evolved into London’s hippest district, thanks to its proximity to the City, relatively affordable rents, and dynamic restaurant and nightlife culture. We sit down with restauranter James Ramsden to uncover why Londoners have fallen so in love with the East.

  • One Day in Paris with Caroline de Maigret
    ParisOne Day in Paris with Caroline de Maigret

    Following on from our insider interview with fashionista-cum-author Caroline de Maigret, we delve into her Black-Book for spots not to miss for the authentic Parisian Experience.

  • Lifting The Lid on Pigalle, Paris’ Most Non-Conforming Neighborhood
  • Is this the next Shoreditch? A spotlight on Mouraria, Lisbon
    LisbonIs this the next Shoreditch? A spotlight on Mouraria, Lisbon

    With a reported 95% of Lisbon’s property still primed for renovation, it’s a city in constant metamorphosis. Yet while first-time visitors tend to be attracted to the elegantly bustling Chiado, sophisticated Barrio Alto and the buzzing bars of Cais do Sodré, its in neighborhoods such as Mouraria where forward-thinking developments are driving the evolution of the next generation of hot-spots.

  • Escape The City - Lisbon
    LisbonEscape The City - Lisbon

    London, Paris, Lisbon… while we love the dynamic metropolises where Athena Advisers is based, there’s little like escaping for the weekend to deserted beaches and country-side cabins to remind us of what life is all about. Introducing our Escape the City series – hand-picking the best insider weekend bolt-holes that balance out city-life.

  • Are
    ParisAre "uber chefs" the key to getting under the skin of a new city ?

    What do you get if you mix talented home-chefs with diners looking for a more dynamic culinary experience? Spearheaded by the success of Airbnb for hotels and Uber for taxis, “meal-sharing” is the latest innovation when it comes to the way we dine and discover cities.

  • On The Trail Of Alvaro Siza by Amelia Hazlerigg
  • Step Inside Lapa
  • Is Lisbon the next San Francisco?
  • What Are You Eating?
  • Lisbon city Adviser interview Carlota Lancastre
  • New Heights
    The French AlpsNew Heights

    Alpine architecture is no longer limited to age-old wooden chalets, as visionary architects create modern masterpieces in the mountains.

  • Industrial Revolution
    LisbonIndustrial Revolution

    LXFactory: an industrial wasteland turned Lisbon’s beating heart of creativity.

  • The Golden Ticket
    LisbonThe Golden Ticket

    Of all the European governments offering residence permits to wealthy non-European investors, Portugal has been the most successful. But will the scheme last?

  • The Art of Hoppyness
    The French AlpsThe Art of Hoppyness

    Christian Luthy, founder of Le Bec Jaune in Morzine, left a London career to brew craft beer in the Alps. And he’s not the first entrepreneur to have traded city for slopes.

  • Safe and Sound
    LondonSafe and Sound

    London attracts more foreign investment in real estate than any other city worldwide. But can it be too much of a good thing?

  • A Taste of the Times
    ParisA Taste of the Times

    Alexandre Cammas, founder of French gastronomic guide Le Fooding, singlehandedly shook up a staid Parisian dining scene. But who is picking up where he left off?


Company Registration Information 4648699 / Carte de transaction immobilière No T14968

- Added to shortlist

- Removed from the shortlist