Eat Breakfast Like a Local in Barcelona

If you found this post whilst searching for of a list of the best places to eat brunch in Barcelona you may want to click the back button now! Let’s face it, as much as I enjoy hash browns, French toast, huevos rancheros or broccoli and cheese frittata. The truth is, the majority of Barcelona residents don’t do brunch.

A typical Spanish breakfast in Barcelona consists of a sandwich, orange juice and coffee

Typical breakfast in Barcelona

How to Eat Breakfast Like a Local in Barcelona

Most people start the day with a cup of coffee, either at home or in a bar on the way to work. Later in the morning, at around 10 o’clock, they stop whatever they’re doing to eat a second more substantial breakfast.

This second breakfast normally consists of a pastry or a small baguette sandwich accompanied by coffee and perhaps a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Other popular breakfast items include bikini (a toasted cheese and ham sandwich), pa amb tomàquet (bread rubbed with tomato, garlic and a drizzle of olive oil) or a slice of Spanish omelette.

At the weekend, you might go to a granja or xocolateria and have a cup of thick hot chocolate (xocolata desfeta) accompanied by melindros (sponge fingers) or churros. You could also try a suizo, which is hot chocolate topped with a generous cap of whipped cream.

The best known granjas in Barcelona are Dulcinea, Xocoa and Granja la Pallaresa, all located on Carrer de Petrixol.

Alcohol at breakfast time is also perfectly acceptable in Barcelona. While not exactly the norm, it’s not uncommon to see someone enjoying a glass of beer, a cigaló (coffee with brandy) or a shot of anís for breakfast.

Traditional Spanish breakfast - a cup of coffe and an omlette sandwich

A selection of omelettes

How to Drink Coffee Like a Local in Barcelona

Most visitors are familiar with café con leche which is the milky white coffee commonly drunk at breakfast in Spain. In fact there are half a dozen different ways to get your daily dose of caffeine:

1.Cafè Sol (Café Solo)

A single espresso coffee, drunk throughout the day and in all situations. Coffee in Spain is good quality and strong.

2. Tallat (Cortado)

A tallat is an espresso with a dash of milk and is commonly drunk after meals or in the afternoon.

3.Cafè amb Llet (Café con Leche)

White coffee made with a double dose of coffee and an equal quantity of milk. Commonly drunk for breakfast, the waiter will normally ask you whether you want the milk hot or at room temperature. As you travel around Spain you will discover that the amount of milk added varies from region to region.

Coffee and a pastry, a popular choice for breakfast in Barcelona

Coffee and a pastry, a popular choice for breakfast in Barcelona

4. Cafè bombó (Café bombón)

Sometimes called simply coffee with condensed milk, Café Bombón is just that. Too sweet and sickly for some it’s normally served in a small glass so that you can see the condensed milk which settles to the bottom of the glass. You stir the two parts together before drinking.

5. Cafè amb Gel (Café con Hielo)

Popular during the hot and humid months of summer, and best enjoyed sat in one of Barcelona’s charming plazas. Cafè amb gel is served in two glasses, a small glass with a hot cafè sol and a second larger glass with a one or two ice cubes.

The idea is that you stir the sugar into the hot coffee before pouring it over the ice in the larger glass. You might expect the ice to melt leaving a tepid and insipid mess but, due to the laws of physics, the coffee gets very cold while the ice cube(s) remain almost in tact.

6. Cigaló (Carajillo)

Cigaló is an espresso topped up with alcohol, normally brandy, commonly drunk for breakfast although it can be ordered at any time of day. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s typically drunk by old men sat at the bar.

A late breakfast consisting of bread, cheese and coffee is best enjoted in a sunny plaza in Barcelona

Breakfast in a sunny plaza in Barcelona

Where to Eat Breakfast Like a Local in Barcelona

The best way to enjoy breakfast like a local is to eat breakfast with the locals. For this reason, instead of listing my favourite places, I’m going to recommend that you eat breakfast in one of the small bars or restaurants close to your hotel or apartment. If you see that one of them is frequented by locals – go there!

Best Brunch Spots in Barcelona

Not convinced? If you prefer a more gourmet or gastronomically extensive breakfast, check out these lists of the best places to eat brunch in Barcelona compiled by 7 of my favourite Barcelona foodie and travel blogs.

Best brunch spots in Barcelona, a carousers guide by Ben of Driftwood Journals

Brunches in Barcelona, where to eat breakfast in Barcelona by Caitlin of The Vegan Word

10 best brunches in Barcelona as per fellow expats by Claudia of Coffee & Brunch BCN

My top best spots for brunch in Barcelona by Claire of Tales of a Backpacker

Where to eat brunch in Barcelona, by Renee from Devour Barcelona Food Tours

Barcelona’s best brunches, food for slow starters by Melissa from The Culture Trip

Barcelona’s best brunch spots, by Barcelona Metropolitan


2 thoughts on “Eat Breakfast Like a Local in Barcelona

    1. Richard Post author

      Hi Becky,

      Good choice although I have to confess that it takes at least one cup of coffee to get me up to speed in the morning.

      Thanks for reading!


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