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This lively, young, and intimate neighborhood has restaurants encompassing everything from the most sophisticated cuisine to simply good food at affordable prices.
Bilbao. A cheery bistro near the bottom of Gràcia, this place is always packed with hungry epicureans having a festive time. Unpretentious, straightforward Mediterranean market cuisine is well prepared and sold at reasonable prices here, but the best feature is the generally gleeful din—a good sign. Try the fried egg with black truffles and look for the Montsant red wines, always great values. Perill 33, Gràcia, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08012. 93/458–9624. Closed Sun. Diagonal, Joanic.
Hofmann. German-born, Catalonia-trained Mey Hofmann's locale, uptown just below Travessera de Gràcia, is a graceful designer space with a glassed-in kitchen as center stage. Hofmann's creative Mediterranean and international cuisine has been successful for more than two decades as a result of carefully selected raw materials and unrelenting quality in their preparation. Sardine tartare, foie gras in puff pastry, prawn risotto, wood pideon in two textures, and lovingly prepared baby vegetables are among the best choices at this carefully managed culinary tour de force. La Granada del Penedes 14–16, Gràcia, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08006. 93/218–7165. www.hofmann-bcn.com. Reservations essential. Closed weekends, Easter wk, and Aug. Gràcia.
Ipar-Txoko. This excellent little Basque enclave has managed to stay largely under the radar, and for that reason, among others (the cuisine is authentic, the prices are fair, and the service is personal and warm), it's a fantastic choice. A balanced menu offers San Sebastián specialties such as txuleta de buey (ox steak) or besugo a la donostiarra (sea bream covered with scales of crispy garlic and a vinegar sauce), flawlessly prepared, while the wine list presents classic Riojas and freezing Txomin Etxaniz txakolí (a dry sparkling white) straight from Getaria. Carrer Mozart 22, Gràcia, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08012. 93/218–1954. Reservations essential. Closed Sun., Mon. nights, and last 3 wks of Aug. Gràcia, Diagonal.
L'Arrosseria Xàtiva. This rustic dining room in Gràcia evokes the rice paddies and lowlands of Valencia and eastern Spain. Low lighting imparts a warm glow over exposed brick walls, beamed ceilings, and bentwood chairs. It's a great spot to savor some of Barcelona's finest paellas and rice dishes. Fish, seafood, and meats cooked over coals round out a complete menu prepared with loving care and using top ingredients. Torrent d'en Vidalet 26, Gràcia, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08012. 93/284–8502. www.arrosseriaxativa.com. No dinner Sun. Gràcia.
Roig Robí. Rattan chairs and a garden terrace characterize this simple-yet-polished dining spot in the bottom corner of Gràcia just above the Diagonal (near Via Augusta). Rustic and relaxed, Roig Robí (ruby red in Catalan, as in the color of certain wines) maintains a high level of culinary excellence, serving traditional Catalan market cuisine with original touches directed by chef Mercé Navarro. A good example? The arròs amb espardenyes i carxofes (rice with sea cucumbers and artichokes). Seneca 20, Gràcia, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08006. 93/218–9222. www.roigrobi.com. Reservations essential. Closed Sun., Jan. 1-8 and 3 wks in Aug. No lunch Sat. Gràcia, Diagonal.
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