Unlike uneducated London, they serve pretty good coffee here in Barcelona, as indeed, in the other 2 cities I visited. Just about every establishment that has a coffee machine behind the bar can serve decent coffee. Tip: an espresso or short black is a “cafe solo”, while the long black is, as in the UK, a “cafe Americano”. I usually have the latter for breakfast, while I have the former in the afternoon or the evening, after a meal. It’s just my thing.
As there is no coffee machine here in the hostel where I’m staying (albeit breakfast is provided), I’m forced to pop out every morning for my caffeine hit. My first happy find is Cafe de L’Opera (La Rambla 74) located on the left side of La Rambla as you walk from Catalunya metro to the Columbus Monument. It’s an old place and the interior has that greenish tinge as if like patina from decades of service. The cafe has been around since 1929.
Sit in the back room, at the bar, or along the walls up front by the entrance. Here you can let your mind wander just a little, imagining yourself in Barcelona back in years passed. The male waiters, some already in their 40’s or 50’s, dressed in the necessary black and white are still around; even the puffs of smoke that come from every direction.
For an entirely different experience, head over to La Boqueria market and take brekky at the Pinotxo Bar (“Pinotxo” is Catalan for Pinocchio). There are various similar stalls like the Pinotxo within the market itself but this one seems to be the busiest. Maybe because it’s hard to miss, being just to your right as you walk through the main entrance. There’s no better way to experience a simple and cheap breakfast in Barcelona than to sit on a high stool as you watch and listen La Boqueria slowly come alive.
Don’t expect fine food, though, as everything is basic. My omelette (truita de verdures) tasted pretty much like many other omelette’s that came before it. And the two café solos to finish off were OK. All up, €6.70.
If you’re feeling especially like blending in with the local crowd and your liver hasn’t had a workout the night before, then order a glass of red. I mean vino, of course. I asked an English-speaking guy behind the bar why there was a bottle, already opened, sitting there just in front of me. He said, “Well, here in Spain, we have beer or wine in the morning, for breakfast.”
He wasn’t joking. I looked around and these old guys were happily sipping on their glasses of red, all before 10AM!