Pl. Catalunya is the main central square, the center of the city, Barcelona’s main hub for transportation, shopping and tourism. One would think then that there would be a lot in the way of good eats there, but no, such is not the case.
Because people are going to go to Pl. Catalunya no matter what, restaurants and cafes surrounding the plaza don’t have to try hard to make sales. In fact, I go out of my way to not eat on the square or too near it. However, there are a couple exceptions to this no-go rule where the tapas are fairly priced and tasty and the service is as good as can be expected in Barcelona.
La Ginesta is one of these places. It’s off one of the city’s main shopping streets, Pelai, which juts out off the plaza. On Pelai you’ll find more shoe shops than anything else, but also Zara and Mango and the likes. If you’re shopping this street, and you should, then stop for tapas and a Coke at La Ginesta.
Is La Ginesta classy? No. New? No. Hip? No. In fact, the place has almost zero style. But, it has a long bar and many tables upstairs and downstairs that are almost always full on any given day at lunchtime. Most of the customers at La Ginesta are older locals, which is a good sign to me. It means the place has been around for a while and that the price/quality ratio is good.
I’ve eaten lunch at La Ginesta once. It was fine. Nothing spectacular, just simple home cooking Spanish style. Mostly I stop there for a Coke or a beer and a plate of spicy potatoes, patatas bravas, and maybe some fried squid. Two Cokes, a plate of bravas, and a plate of sauteed mushrooms in garlic and white wine comes to about €10.00. That’s a good deal by Barcelona standards, especially off Pl. Catalunya.
C/ Jovellanos, 3 Barcelona
Post and photos by Regina Winkle-Bryan. See more of her tips on Spain at The Spain Scoop.com