Lately, I’ve been taking advantage of all the unexpected free time on my hands by checking out more of the cool spots that Gràcia, my neighborhood in Barcelona, has to offer. The district is full of little secret places that are perfect for kicking back and relaxing.
The only problem is that sometimes it can take a little while to find out where these hidden places are. Some of them are on tiny back streets, and others look like nothing special from the outside.
After asking around and doing some research online, here are some of my favorite cute cafes in Gracia district. I’ve included whether they have wi-fi if you’re looking for places to work or study in Barcelona (or just to pretend to work or study, as I often find myself doing).
Located on one of the best streets for restaurants, bars, and cafes in Gracia – Calle Torrijos – Mama’s Café still manages to stand out. It’s very light and airy inside, with a few carefully chosen pieces of minimalistic artwork.
It looks teeny tiny from the street, but there’s actually much more space than it looks like there should be. There’s a section at the back that has a living room feel, with one large sofa and a big table, perfect for sitting at with friends or working on a group project.
Mama’s Café also has a huge outdoor terrace, which I’m definitely looking forward to enjoying when it gets a little warmer outside!
This place is ideal for working or studying, as they not only have good wi-fi, but they also have a huge number of outlets to plug your electronics in. (Look under the benches – they are there, even though you can’t see them at first!). The only downside is that the service here hasn’t been the greatest the times I’ve gone.
Address: Carrer de Torrijos, 26
Nearest metro station: Fontana (L3) or Joanic (L4)
La Fourmi might be one of my favorite discoveries in Gràcia. It’s both a bar and a café, so it’s fun to go to both at the day and night. Whether you want artisan craft beer or just a well-made café con leche (relaxsin’ or not…), you’ll be able to get it here.
There are two sections at La Fourmi – a vintage-y room in the front decorated with retro posters that feels like a living room, and a bigger room at the back with larger tables for groups.
On Saturday and Sunday they serve up pretty reasonably priced brunch specials. Brunch is only just starting to catch on in Barcelona, and I’ve finally convinced my friends to get on the brunch train….even if barceloneses think 4 p.m. still counts as brunch time.
Address: Career de Milà i Fontanals with Career de l’Alba, 58
Nearest metro station: Joanic (L4) or Verdaguer (L4/L5)
La Nena Xocolateria
If you’re hoping to try churros con chocolate in Barcelona, then La Nena Xocolateria is where you should be heading. This adorable café (its name means “The Girl” in Catalan) is located off the Plaça de la Revolució, and it specializes in all things sweet, particularly mouth-watering mugs of steaming hot chocolate.
For those of you who haven’t tried Spanish hot chocolate, you’re in for a delicious surprise. It’s thick and sweet, almost like drinking a bar of melted chocolate.
And if you have a sweet tooth, it gets even better – locals often dip cookies or sweet pastries into their chocolate. I can’t handle more than the “chupito” serving (that’s a shot glass, and for me, it’s plenty of the stuff).
To the surprise of no one, this is a very popular after school snack with kids, and La Nena fills up with families around the time local schools let out. Even though it’s got tons of tables, they’re all taken in the late afternoon, mostly by families whose kids have managed to happily smear their entire faces with the liquid chocolate.
Maybe because they were swamped with kids, the service was pretty slow the afternoon I went. Still, it’s a very cute café, has great hot chocolate, and as a final bonus, has board games out for clients to play (not just kiddie ones either – they have ones like my favorite Scrabble).
Wi-fi? Definitely NOT – a sign outside says “No wifi – talk to each other!”
Address: Carrer Ramon y Cajal, 36
Nearest metro station: Either Fontana (L3) or Joanic (L4)
A small café hidden on one of those tiny Gràcia streets, I’d biked past Onna Café weekly without even noticing it. When I saw it recommended online, I was surprised I’d never gone it – it’s absolutely adorable and has a display of very enticing baked goods on the counter, from quiches to cakes.
The interior is covered in cool black and white art work depicting coffee-related things, like coffee-making machines and coffee beans growing. There are also burlap sacks from coffee growers decorating the corners – they take their coffee very seriously here! Onna pride themselves on serving up some of the best coffee in town, especially brews from Costa Rica.
You can get all sorts of filtered coffee made on fancy machines, and drinks like a flat white that are tricky to come across in Barcelona. There are lots of signs about something called an “Aeropress”, which sounds very interesting to watch in action! (Does it take off and fly around the café?)
The staff are quite friendly, and over the course of an afternoon, people from all over the world came in, from Catalan-speaking barceloneses to expats like me. It’s local, but also international – which is kind of like the neighborhood of Gràcia itself. Adding to the draw is the perfect café mix of music; I heard everything from Jose Gonzalez to Nirvana played.
The only downside is that this café shuts at 7 p.m. every day (they open from Monday to Saturday), so don’t plan on coming here in the evenings…as I did the first time I tried to check it out!
Address: Carrer de Santa Teresa, 1
Nearest metro station: Diagonal (L3/L5)
Bicioci Biker Café
My inner hipster let out a sigh of joy when I walked into Bicioci. This place could easily be too cool for words in the wrong hands, but it’s actually relaxed enough that it’s become my new favorite café here. (I know, you’re not supposed to play favorites…but still!).
The “Biker Café” part of the name doesn’t refer to motorcycles; it’s all about bicycles. There are bicycles decorating the walls, vintage bike posters on the walls, and stacks of bike magazines scattered around the place.
Apart from the quirky design elements, this café is also welcoming because of its bright interior. Lots of the time, cafés in Spain are full of dark furniture and thus look quite dark, but the combination of light paint colors and big windows means Bicioci is full of light.
They also do brunch here, so this may very well be my next stop on my “Brunchelona” journey (they are trying really hard to make that term work in the city). If not, then I’ve heard pretty fantastic things about the pizzas on the online reviews; it is run by Italians, after all, so I’d expect nothing less from their pizza!
Address: Carrer de Venus, 1-3
Nearest metro station: Verdageur (L4/L5)
A few other cafés in Gràcia that aren’t my top 5, but are still good standbys: Nabucco Tiramisu (their tiramisu is great! And they have wi-fi) , Café Salambo (a big café with wi-fi, good for groups because there’s lots of space), and Café Suis (cute and has lots of chocolately desserts, but it doesn’t have wi-fi).
Part of the fun in living in a neighborhood like this is that you can discover new sides of it every week. There are always new, cute places to surprise you, and my favorites are the ones that look like nothing from the outside, but inside are completely lovely.
What’s your favorite café in Barcelona? Have you visited any of these cute cafes in Gracia?