Updated Apr 21 2020
Since 2010 and 2011, the Carrer Blai (in English Street Blai), in the Poble Sec district and next to one of the major streets in Barcelona, the Avinguda del Paral·lel, has become a true point of reference for gastronomy in the city. Stretching nearly 500 metres, and also known as the ‘Petita Rambla del Poble Sec’, it has a large range of bars and restaurants, many of which have outdoor terraces, which make it an essential place to visit for anyone who would like to enjoy a good Vermouth, aperitif, lunch or dinner with friends, family or loved ones.
In spite of the fact that it’s really not far from the more touristic areas of La Rambla and the Port Vell (Old Port), Carrer Blai is slightly off the beaten track from these busier parts of the city, so you’ll find that the vast majority of people who go there are locals who live in the city, whether natives or people who have settled there. However, the Street Blai is becoming increasingly popular with tourists, who are either attracted by the recommendations it gets in tourist guides or who are accompanied by friends who live in the city.
The changes that this street has undergone over these past few years have often caused problems for the neighbours, who understandably complain about the noise and disadvantages that the development of the street has caused. We therefore ask you to respect for the locals, so that they can have some peace and quiet, especially at night, and paying particular attention when you leave the bars and restaurants at closing time.
During the week the atmosphere in the street is somewhat quieter, and nearly all the people there are locals. On Thursday evenings it generally gets quite a bit livelier, especially at times of the year when the ‘Ruta del Poble Sec’ is organised, when a pincho or tapa with a beer costs just €2, and of course on Fridays and at weekends the street fills up with people, especially in spring and summer.
Bars and Restaurants in Carrer Blai
Thanks to the amount of bars and restaurants there, it’s possible to find food of all kinds on Carrer Blai (traditional local food, pizzas, Japanese, Arabic food, etc), but the food that has given the street its gastronomic reputation are the pinchos and montaditos bars. For the most part, these are small bars that have a few stools at the bar and a terrace with four of five tables in the street. If you’re lucky enough, you might be able to grab a table on the terrace, but if not you might have to “put up” with eating at the bar or even, worst-case scenario, standing up. However, this little inconvenience shouldn’t put you off going to enjoy the pinchos and the wonderful atmosphere that these little bars have to offer.
Originating in Euskadi, the Basque Region of Spain, pinchos are a type of tapa (which literally means ‘lid’ – it’s a small piece of bread with something on top), but it’s called ‘pincho’ from the verb ‘pinchar’, because you often use a cocktail stick to pick it up. Although every bar has its specialities, you’ll find the same kind of local gastronomy in each, with ‘chistorra’ (a kind of spiced sausage), Serrano ham and other cured meats, cheese, Spanish omelette, anchovies and croquettes all common. It’s also becoming increasingly common for bars to experiment with their own specialities. With regard to the number of pinchos to eat, sometimes you might just have one or two as a simple appetiser before your lunch or dinner, or you could eat more to make a lunch or dinner in its own right.
Pinchos and Montaditos Bars
Blai Tonight 2
La Tasqueta de Blai
The first references to montaditos date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. They are sandwiches made with small bread rolls, filled with typical ingredients from Spain, such as cured meats, cheese, tuna etc.
Other recommended bars and restaurants
Bodega del Fuegos
Bars in the nearby streets
The narrow streets near to Carrer Blai also have various bars, restaurants and wine bars, as well as charming little cafés and tearooms. In some cases they were established long before the gastronomic success of Carrer Blai, but some have been set up because of the increase in popularity of the area.
Recommended bars close to Blai street
Quimet & Quimet
Gran Bodega Saltó
To see Bares y restaurantes Calle Blai in a larger map