BARCELONAThe Insider Track on Barcelona’s Eixample

Regarded as one of the most coveted neighbourhoods in Barcelona, what makes Eixample so special? We talk to resident expert and hospitality entrepreneur Ines Miró Sans.

BARCELONA

The Insider Track on Barcelona’s Eixample

Regarded as one of the most coveted neighbourhoods in Barcelona, what makes Eixample so special? We talk to resident expert and hospitality entrepreneur Ines Miró Sans.

When boutique hotel Casa Bonay opened in 2016, it wasn’t long before it became the hippest place to stay in town. From the yoga mats awaiting practices on private sun-terraces to the idyllic Mediterranean roof-terrace bar, the health-conscious coffee hub to the art-deco cocktail lounge, it seemed to tick every box, and then some. More than the sum of its parts though, Casa Bonay has a genuine buzz to it, drawing the city’s creatives who have come to regard it like a second home, probably because so many of them helped create the hotel, literally weaving Barcelona’s artisan culture into the fabric of the hotel in a collaborative effort that showcases the best of the city’s emerging talents. Leading the tribe is founder Inés Miró Sans, a down-to-earth visionary in her early 30’s who vibrates with Barcelona’s entrepreneurial buzz. Inés shares her take on why she chose to open Casa Bonay in Eixample, and the inside track on where to go in the neighborhood.

What made you choose to open Casa Bonay in Eixample?

“For those who don’t know, there are two sides of Eixample, the Dreta (right) and Esquerra (Left). Casa Bonay is located in the Dreta, the more historical side, and for me, it’s here that you find the essence of Barcelona. We opened Casa Bonay in Eixample because it reminded us of the best of what Barcelona truly is, it’s authentic character. While the neighborhood is very close to the centre – you can walk to El Born in 5 minutes – life here still revolves around the neighborhood rhythms without being overwhelmed by restaurants, shops, and crucially, people. All the buildings you see here are beautiful, modernist buildings that have been preserved for centuries. The building that we chose for Casa Bonay dates back to the 1860’s, so you have these amazing high ceilings and stone floors and a real sense of history.”

How would you describe the evolution of Eixample in recent years?

“I love that everyone here knows one another, from your neighbours to the old woman who has been running the pharmacy for decades. Now, we are seeing a growing appreciation for Eixample’s architecture, especially from foreigners, who are buying and restoring abandoned buildings and turning them into beautiful apartments. We are also seeing talented local entrepreneurs opening small restaurants here, so life is gaining a new tone and I think the next 3-5 years will be an exciting time for Eixample. We welcome anyone who respects the city’s culture and heritage, and it’s interesting to have these new dynamics in the community, to mix with the local artists who are also drawn here, and to celebrate the culture that exists, just as long as rising rents don’t push the original inhabitants out.”

Ines’s Miró Sans Insider Spots : where to go in Eixample?

1.Si Vas Descalzo

One of the coolest trainer shops in the world, Si Vas Descalzo brings history and culture to life through their unique, limited edition and vintage trainers that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Carrer de Bailèn, 18, 08010
+34 935 31 21 22

3. Elephant, Crocodile, Monkey

Located inside Casa Bonay, this hip little spot is the only South-East Asian restaurant in town. Chef Estanislao Carenzo is behind the sumptuous dumplings and an array of exotic flavours, from tasty tom yum with market vegetables, to fresh fish and earthy curries designed to be shared.

Gran via de les corts catalanes 700, Barcelona, Spain
+34 935 45 80 77

5. Ale & Hope

A bar that serves craft beer alongside delicious vegetarian food and raw chocolate brownies? This intimate little pub is onto a winning combination, cementing it as something of a neighborhood institution for locals who stop by to sample the wide variety of craft ales on laid-back weeknights.

Carrer de les Basses de Sant Pere, 10, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
+34 931 26 90 94

7. Monvínic

If Tickets is Barcelona’s mecca for the gourmet tribe, then Monvinic is where all wine-lovers must eventually go. Whether you stop by for a light lunch or the 8 course wine-paired tasting menu, expect enthusiastic sommeliers, a very talented chef and exceptional pairings. Request a table overlooking the open-plan kitchen and don’t miss paying a visit to the cellar.

Carrer de la Diputació, 249, 08007
+34 932 72 61 87

2. Microllibreria Lino

This pocket bookstore heralds from cult editor Blackie Books and curates one of the most innovative and interesting literary experiences in town, combining rare and unusual editions with insightful recommendations from the exuberant staff. Be warned, it’s almost impossible to leave without picking up something new for your bedside table.

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 702
Call +34 935 45 80 50

4. BioBarri

One of the highlights of living in Eixample is that you get to do your daily shop at BioBarri. This organic little supermarket is run with loving care by owners Victor and Dani, who balance the highest quality products with reasonable prices, alongside selling delicious little vegan snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Carrer de Méndez Núñez 18, Barcelona, Spain

6. Granja Petitbo

While the brunches are what draw people to this charming cafe – think decadent pancakes, endless eggs and waffles piled high with toppings – it’s also a lovely place to stop for a coffee or light lunch and browse one of the many magazines or books that line the walls.

Passeig de Sant Joan, 82, 08028 Barcelona
+34 932 65 65 03

8. Barcelona’s Best Burgers

As Barcelona cottons on to the global burger craze, two recent openings in Eixample stand out. The first, Rare, brings everything back-to-basics, with a minimalist menu that combines the very best quality, home-made produce with few complications. Meanwhile at Bar Centro, thing get a little more exotic, with patties toasted on volcanic stones, infused with flavours from around the world.

  • Bar centro
    Calle Casp, 55, 08010
    +34 931 92 52 55
  • Rare
    Calle casp 55, 08010
    +34 938 32 84 76

9. Gresca

Regarded by local foodies as “Michelin-starred cooking on a budget”, Gresca is something of a local secret. Expect beautiful, inventive cooking and excellent value tasting menus crafted by the wonderful chef Rafa Peña. Go now, while it’s still under-the-radar enough that you can get a table.

Calle Provença, 230, 08036 Barcelona
+34 934 51 61 93

10. Roca Moo

For the Michelin-hungry traveller, Roca Moo is not to be missed. Located within chic Hotel Omm, this is the Barcelona base from the talented team behind the Roca Brothers world renowned restaurant El Celler de Can Roca close to Girona. Recently re-opened, the kitchen now takes centre stage, so you can watch the chefs conjure up morsels of miracles.

Carrer del Rosselló, 265, planta baja, 08008
+34 934 45 40 00