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By Regina W. Bryan in Barcelona—I have lived in Barcelona for five years, so visitors sometimes ask me, ‘What do you miss most about the United States?’ I never have to think long about this. Three words sum it up: family, salad dressing, breakfast.
Breakfast in Barcelona is coffee with milk. You can add in a croissant if you like, or a chocolate croissant, or many other frilly pastries. If you are a savory kind of person, then you order a sandwich, usually consisting of ham in-between two slices of baguette which have been rubbed down in tomato, olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Kids – or those who avoid caffeine – will go for hot chocolate or an orange juice. That’s all there is to it.
There’s no French toast or (sigh), waffles. Certainly no biscuits and gravy with fried eggs and hash browns. Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day in Spain (that would be lunch). But breakfast seekers, all is not lost – at least not in Barcelona. If you require a coupla eggs over easy and a ration of pancakes with syrup to help you through the morning, then you can get it in Barcelona. You just have to know where to go.
Aussie Style Breakfast:
New in town, Federal Cafe will answer the prayers of those craving sourdough toast, and scrabbles with spinach and mushrooms. Federal has an open-air front dining area and patio seating. In the center of the city, this concept makes a lot of sense in sunny Barcelona.
Try to find a bagel with lox, capers and cream cheese in this city. It’s not going to happen! Unless you head to Be My Bagel. Choose from a vast array of bagel flavors and spreads. It looks like I am not the only one who misses bagels in Barcelona, because Be My Bagel is opening another shop (despite the economic ‘crisis’!) in Gracia’s ever-hip Placa del Sol.
Best for Brunch:
Marmalade is run by the same guys who brought Barcelona Milk Bar, one of my faves for cheap happy hours! Marmalade offers some killer cocktail deals, but best of all, they have a hearty brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays (served from 10am to 4pm).
What’s for brunch? Expect smoothies, Eggs Benedict (also with salmon and florentine) tortilla ranchera with chorizo (also comes in a vegetarian version), stacks of fluffy pancakes, and many other delicious items. Some of these dishes are served with home-fries, which brings tears to my eyes.
Marmalade also has a dinner menu that includes burgers and a few veggie options.
Brunch Fun Facts:
There’s actually a Barcelona Meetup group devoted to brunch. People miss waffles and mimosas so badly that they have actually created a club so that brunch can be enjoyed communally. If you love breakfast, this Meetup group may be what you’re after. They meet once a month on Sundays. Check out their site for more info.
Finally, I should also mention Barcelona’s ‘Cuchara’( literally: spoon), a heartier form of breakfast. Cucahara can be found in select bars. For larger appetites and those with hangovers, it might consist of a filling stew or some other meaty dish. The key is that instead of having coffee with your Cuchara, you will be served wine. Nothing says ‘good morning’ or ‘you’re still drunk’ like a bottle of Rioja.