Eixample Esquerra: Barcelona without Tourists

Barcelona, Spain

7 places
Kristina Shvets

Everything located to the left of Paseo de Gracia or to be more precise Balmes Street, is called Eixample Esquerra or Left Eixample. The quarter is mainly inhabited by LGBT folks that's why some joke that the area is now called Gayxample. Some say there is nothing to look at but Parc de Joan Miró, Placa d'Espanya,Parc de l'Espanya Industrial and a Galician food venue serving the best octopus in town are all pretty good reasons to visit Eixample Esquerra at least once.

Brunch & Cake

A minute walk from Universitat de Barcelona, Brunch&Cake is the tastiest and fanciest spot in the heart of L’Eixample district. At first sight it may seem that only tourists eat here, but in fact it is frequented by expats, students or new residents of the neighborhood. The interior is simple: white walls, wooden tables, iron chairs and flowers everywhere. Sundays are hangover students time – waiters are running like mad to feed their food craving. As for food – 8 euros and you will get a boat filled with salad, bread and sauce – impossible to finish even if you’re starving. Sandwiches are also giant and served with baked potatoes or salad or both. Everything is originally cooked as they care about eating healthy. Better order everything to share to leave room for a dessert – be it a carrot cake or a cheesecake that taste heavenly!

Parc de Joan Miró

This park is set close to Placa d'Espanya and Arenas shopping mall and actually used to be a slaughterhouse. Now it is a city library and a school named after the famous painter Joan Miró. Here you can also see one of his latest sculptures – a 22-meter tiled statue Woman and Bird.


The mall itself is nothing special – the usual selection of local favorites – Mango, Desigual, Calzedonia, Intimissimi and other popular mass market brands. The highlight is a rooftop observation deck offering an awesome panoramic view of Spanish Square and Montjuic.


If you want to try real Catalonian food in appropriate setting ("the menu was all Catalan, I had no idea what I ordered and it turned out to be delicious"), visit Semproniana! It's best to come here in time for lunch, when you can get a nice table and won't have to pay too much for a dinner. A standard menu del dia will cost you 15 euros, including a dessert and alcohol.

Parc de l'Espanya Industrial

Parc de l'Espanya Industrial on the left side of L’Eixample was designed by a talented Basque architect Luis Peña Ganchegui and is really different from other city parks due to ten futuristic watch tours around a faux lake with waterfalls, giant stairs and water streams.

Morro Fi

This tiny vermouth place looks spooky – a cellar with shelves packed with homemade vermouth and canned olives. Definitely not a lunch place, this is an ideal spot to have a drink with anchovies and olives. Grab one, feel comfortable on the terrace and watch Left Eixample residents. Take a bottle of homemade Morro Fi as a souvenir or a before-bedtime aperitif.

O Retorno

O Retorno is one of those places where wobbly tables, well-used forks and a crowd at the entrance only make it more charming. It is a true Galician restaurant specializing in seafood, in particular polbo a galega, or Galician-style octopus – a boiled octopus served on potatoes with red pepper and sea salt. A whole serving is meant for at least a family, so order a half for the main course, then jamon as an appetizer, some grilled shrimp, and if you still have some room, mussels in tomato sauce.


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