Unlike New York, Tel Aviv or Moscow, Barcelona does not boast a thriving tradition of breakfast. But this city is a fast learner and it already has its famous spots to start off your day. Probably you will be tempted by the down-to-earth Buenas Migas or the more sophisticated and Instagram-friendly Brunch&Cake.
But let me propose you an alternative for your morning eating routine. I consider Born to be a wonderful kickoff location for your Barcelona discoveries. And in Born, there are four spots that my stomach finds tempting.
Let’s start with Flassaders street. It has double value for me. Firstly, this was the street where the main protagonist of the Gothic novel The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón lived. I can’t resist the temptation of recommending both this book and his The Shadow of the Wind. The setting of both novels is so engrossing, his Barcelona is so vivid on these pages, that you will fall under its spell.
Secondly, at Flassaders 44 you will find the patisserie of the well-known Hofmann gastronomic school, where you can find croissants that would make the confectioners of Angelina in Paris green with envy.
I would suggest to check Hofmann´s working hours in advance, as very often they close their doors on specific dates (fiestas) and also have a siesta-break. Besides, if you want to get your hands on their signature raspberry croissant, you have to come before 12 o’clock; otherwise there is a high risk of being beaten to the punch by more agile customers.
But even if you find the counter already empty, keep your spirits up, because I have a trick or two for you. Try to walk farther down the same street. In a 13th century building that housed Barcelona’s mint from 1441 to 1881 there is a café called La Seca Terrassa, where you can order those same highly-rated Hofmann croissants or tasty sandwiches and savor them with a cup of coffee. And that brings me to another gourmet reference in Born. The coffee they serve in La Seca bears the name El Magnífico. If your addiction to coffee is anything like mine, then be sure to go to Argentería street and find that same El Magnífico harbored in a tiny coffee shop, which over the years has become a destination for coffee pilgrims.
I recommend you to do two things there. First, order a cup of coffee right at the counter and, second, buy some bags of coffee beans or freshly ground coffee as a gourmet souvenir for yourself and your loved ones. Once back home, when you open your suitcase, you will be swept away by the intoxicating aroma of coffee and memories of Born.
And finally I want to top off my breakfast recommendations with La Xocolateria.
This patisserie, where you can literally appreciate the sweetness of the morning, is run by one of the most renowned Spanish pastry chefs, Oriol Balaguer. In case you do not find my praises convincing, look up his Instagram page. He is as innovative as he is conservative.
One of this boutique’s specialties is traditional Spanish fried-dough pastries, churros, with a cup of hot chocolate. Personally, I can not resist his well-known croissants, the fillings of which are renewed every month. They are addictive. They make you wonder what else he might come up with next month. The naming of these croissants is geographical. In August, I tried Costa Rica, which featured pineapple, mint and coconut cream inside. The world map that decorates one of the walls in his boutique reminds us that trying new flavours is not just an experiment for our palates, but a journey for our minds.