Brunch may be many things; gratuitously long, overpriced, the new breakfast, the old lunch, a romantic venture, a mop for a hangover... Its open interpretation is its beauty and Barcelona, like so many cities, has embraced the international meal in all its possible mutations. Here are a few, very different, places in the city where you can guarantee that, at least from the food and atmosphere side of affairs, you can brunch well...
El Federal © This way by Pallesen
El Federal is inspired by a small town of the same name in Australia where, the café's website says, “there’s not much to do but dream and watch the rain fall on quiet streets and the phone box.” El Federal in Barcelona aims to replicate that simple vibe and triumphs. Eggs Florentine and heavily packed green smoothies come particularly recommended, as do the croissants stuffed with cream cheese and jam and a good old Bloody Mary - not all in one sitting, of course.
A very trendy brunch spot in the Sant Antoni area, the only drawback to El Federal is that it attracts punters like bees to the honey pots on its tables inside. Don’t be overly discouraged if it looks full though, there is a hidden upstairs too, and a second branch in the Gothic quarter. Open 9am to 1pm on Saturdays and 9am to 5.30pm on Sundays. www.federalcafe.es/barcelona
This place is for the super-food fan and the Vermouth devotee alike (there are eleven bottles of the dark, sweet, alcoholic nectar up for sampling). A Limoná brunch can easily revolve around a chai-seed and yoghurt starter and a muffin main (the excellent organic bakery counter here is a real draw). There’s also plum cake, multiple teas, super-fruit smoothies punctured by smart swirly straws, organic eggs and a specific dessert menu, which is entirely encouraged as a self-standing brunch option.
Limoná was started by a couple who added their different stamps to neighbouring facades - Limoná and Chicha. The cafés have separate entrances but are both part of one umbrella restaurant/cafeteria/bodega shebang. Limoná is an easy place to while away the daytime inside, and you can tell that extraordinarily high-quality ingredients go into the making of each offering. The staff are very friendly, too which never goes unnoticed. www.chichalimona.com
Marmalade has a special brunch menu between Friday and Sunday, 10am to 4.30pm. Choose between Morning Glory (French toast ladled with fruits of the forest and naught lashings of Greek yoghurt) and Penny Farthing Pancakes among other temptations encompassing salads, hamburgers, egg breakfasts, smoothies and desserts. Catering for all tastes and tummies and able to complement all night-before culinary happenings. Outdoor terrace all year round? Tick. They also have a sister café “Milk” in Barcelona, which is worth checking out.
Bar El Velódromo
Bar El Velódromo
This is not strictly known for brunch but it does a fine, sophisticated serving of tea and coffee in silverware and has a menu, which, from the wonderfully wide window of 6am to 3am, offers pretty much everything. From yoghurt and patisserie medleys to eggs done every which way, tapas galore, sandwiches hot, cold and inside-out and that’s all before introducing the long Catalan ‘main meal’ menu.
El Velódromo is part of the trendy Moritz (as in the beer) group and is a historic location in the city. Traditionally, it was a meeting place for intellectuals and the high ceilinged, two-storied space with flamboyant red-carpeted central staircase has a French, 1930s fleck with a slight American-diner je ne sais quoi to it. A pleasing place to hide if it rains: its solid wooden architecture lends it that protective air. And they do a good vermouth here, too. moritz.com