Barcelona’s Best Chiringuitos
Originally a beach shack serving drinks and a few snacks, the chiringuito (or xiringuito in Catalan) has evolved from its humble beginnings, but the essential experience remains the same – a bar or restaurant on the beach to have a cool drink and chill out in. DestinationBCN delves into Barcelona’s Best Chiringuitos.
Chiringuito roughly translated as “beach bar” but doesn’t quite come close to describing the experience. Each May, these temporary wooden structures pop up on the beach, often festooned with pretty lights, wooden umbrellas, chairs and tables. Chiringuitos can be anything from a basic beach shack which serves up drinks and simple tapas, to more formal affairs with gourmet food and day beds for lounging on.
Chiringuitos were originally designed as a simple place for fishermen to cook up their catch whilst enjoying a beer after their day’s work. Kitchens tend to be small, so the focus is on simple, fresh food and affordable drinks. Although the quality of the food can vary from place to place, one thing that is common to all is that they all serve up ice cold Moritz or Estrella beer and freshly made Mojitos. Relaxing with a drink in hand and the sand between your toes while watching the wonderful mix of Spanish beach-goers (the naked kids playing in the sand, the topless moms alongside the elderly couple sunbathing and the teenagers playing bat and ball in the waves) is an experience you won’t forget after a trip to Spain. Barceloneta beach is right in the centre but often packed with city dwellers, tourists and people selling things. Do what the locals do and jump on a train heading up the coast. Some of Barcelona’s Best Chiringuitos are just outside of the city and are well worth making the trip for.
(Playa del Llevant, Barcelona).
This great spot offers a variety of tapas, burgers and sandwiches. Inspired by the relaxed beach bars of South-East Asia, Bambu is a great place to relax in a sun lounger or dance the night away. There’s an extensive cocktail, wine and beer list and host lots of social events throughout the summer.
Located 30 minutes by train outside of Barcelona, Castelldefels Beach is a long stretch of sand dotted with many chiringuitos. Just 10 minutes walk from Castelldefels Platja station is Ibiza Chiringuito which is a great place to enjoy a drink or lunch in between sunbathing and swimming. The food here is basic but well prepared – goat’s cheese salad, pan con tomato, burgers, fresh seafood and really good mussels. There’s also a great area for the kids with toys and little plastic houses to play in. If you’re coming out from Barcelona, catch the train from Sants or Passeig De Gracia. Note that there are two train stations in Castelldefels – if you’re coming from Barcelona, get off at the second one – Castelldefels Platja station.
(Bogatell Beach, Barcelona)
Located in Bogatell Beach, this beach restaurant is one of the best places to have paella in Barcelona. They also have seasonal seafood (the sardines and Galician style octopus are to die for) and excellent appetizers (the cured Spanish ham ‘airbags’ are a must). They also have a selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Make sure to leave room for dessert, because you can’t leave the table without having tried one of the cakes or sweets prepared by the Escriba family’s bakeries.
One of Barcelona’s most picturesque beaches, Ocata is a 30-minute train ride up the coast, towards the Costa Brava. With its clear waters and wide open beach front with white sand, it’s where the locals come to escape the crowds in summer. It’s also famous for its chiringuitos such as Chiringo Calima which has a great selection of delicious salads, tapas, homemade burgers and more. Staff are friendly and prices are reasonable. You can easily catch the train from Arc de Triomf station or Plaza Catalunya.
(Bogatell Beach, Barcelona)
Can Fisher is also owned by the Pantea Group and has something of a California in the 1950s vibe. Its clean modern design and large open terrace makes the most of the panoramic views of the ocean. Here the emphasis is on fresh, delicious and sustainably caught seafood and locally grown products. There is a “Raw” bar featuring delicious fresh salads, ceviche, tuna tartar as well as an impressive selection of seafood and paella.
(Sant Pol de Mar)
Sant Pol de Mar is a beautiful fishing village 1 hour North of Barcelona. Home of the famous Restaurant Sant Pau by Michelin-starred chef Carmen Ruscalleda, Sant Pol de Mar is a quiet place with lots of charm. Warm, pebbly sand offers plenty of room to lay back and relax without the chaos of the city beaches. At the corner of the main beach (just across from the train tunnel) is a Terrassa Voramar chiringuito, with its wooden furniture, and a dining area shaded by lush green vines trellises. Food focuses on locally caught seafood – think of freshly grilled sardines washed down with a crisp white wine or homemade paella stuffed with locally caught seafood.
(Bogatell Beach, Barcelona)
The Pantea group has a reputation for some of Barcelona’s best chiringuitos, including Pai Moana, located in Bogatell Beach. Once evening falls, candlelit tables and ambient music combine to create a beautiful atmosphere. Pai Moana regularly hosts some of the city’s best beach parties with well-known DJs spinning tunes until dawn. Inspired by the Easter Islands, its name comes from the language of the Isla de Pascua Rapa Nui and means “blue sea”.