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Carrer dels Escudellers
Carrer dels Escudellers Review
Named for the terrissaires (earthenware potters) who worked here making escudellas (bowls or stew pots), this colorful loop is an interesting subtrip off the Rambla. Go left at Plaça del Teatre and you'll pass the landmark Grill Room at No. 8, an Art Nouveau saloon with graceful wooden decor and mediocre cuisine (still, it's a fine stop for a beverage at the ornate oaken bar). Next is La Fonda Escudellers, another lovely, glass- and stone-encased dining emporium best admired from afar but avoided. (The vacuum-packed, nuked risottos leave much to be desired.) At Nos. 23–25 is Barcelona's most comprehensive ceramics display, at Art Escudellers. Across the street, with chickens roasting over the corner, is Los Caracoles, once a not-to-be-missed Barcelona restaurant (now somewhat touristy and dated). Even now, the wooden bar and the walk-through kitchen on the way in are picturesque, as are the dining rooms and tiny stairways within. Unfortunately, the cuisine is mediocre and expensive, and the clientele is almost entirely composed of tourists. Another 100 yards down Carrer Escudellers is Plaça George Orwell, named for the author of Homage to Catalonia, a space created to bring light and air into this traditionally squalid neighborhood. The little flea market that hums along on Saturday is a great place to browse.
Take a right on Carrer de la Carabassa and walk down this cobbled alley with graceful bridges between several houses and their former gardens. Don't miss the sgraffito design (mural ornamentation made by scratching away a plaster surface) high on the left halfway down. At the end of the street, looming atop her own basilica, is Nostra Senyora de la Mercè (Our Lady of Mercy). This giant representation of Barcelona's patron saint is a 20th-century (1940) addition to the roof of the 18th-century Església de la Mercè; the view of La Mercè gleaming in the sunlight, babe in arms, is one of the Barcelona waterfront's most impressive sights. As you arrive at Carrer Ample, note the 15th-century door with a winged Sant Miquel Archangel delivering a squash backhand to a scaly Lucifer; it's from the Sant Miquel church, formerly part of City Hall, torn down in the early 19th century. From the Mercè, a walk out Carrer Ample (to the right) leads back to the Rambla. Don't miss the grocery store on the corner of Carrer de la Carabassa—La Lionesa, at Carrer Ample 21, one of Barcelona's best-preserved 19th-century shops. At No. 7 is the Solé shoe store, with handmade shoes from all over the world. You might recognize Plaça Medinaceli, next on the left, from Pedro Almodovar's film Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother); from the scene featuring the heroine's dog and her aging father.
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