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Catalan folklore

4 Gats, one of Picasso’s favorite restaurants

Written by Thompson Crowley
Photo by scalleja via

Photo by scalleja via

Barcelona is a city that has always been rich in culture. One of the most splendid moments was between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in which modernism reigned and gave new air and colour to the city’s streets. Today, many locals live with modernism in their facades, floors, ventilation systems, lights, decor; and they don’t even realize it. There are so many hidden gems in Barcelona, discovering it from another perspective is fantastic!

Ready to discover one of them?

Els 4 Gats

This is one of Barcelona’s more historical literary cafés. The origins of Els 4 Gats goes back to the late nineteenth century in Paris. Pere Romeu, a Catalan who worked in a cabaret bar in the French capital, wanted to bring that concept back to Barcelona. And in 1897, thanks to the economic collaboration of Santiago Rusiñol and Ramón Casas, Els 4 Gats opened in a modernist building on Carrer Montsió. All intellectuals of the time let themselves be seduced by the place where “food of the spirit” was served. Antoni Gaudí, Enric Granados, Lluís Millet, and Isaac Albéniz were regular clientele. Picasso, little more than 17 years old, made his first exhibition there.

Related article: Picasso’s life in Barcelona

Photo by scalleja via Visual hunt

Photo by scalleja via Visualhunt

Els 4Gats was always considered a very special place, however, a bit pricey. In June 1903 it closed its doors, to the surprise of many locals. But the spirit still remained, the building becoming the headquarters of the artistic circle of Sant Lluç, until civil war broke out in 1936. In the late 70’s three businesspeople in the world of gastronomy gathered to discuss the possibility of reopening it. Finally, in 1989, it was taken over by Josep Maria Ferrer,  and after a renovation, he began managing a restaurant and Martí House, where it was located.

Related article: Museu Picasso: What to see?

Today Els 4Gats is once again very popular. It’s a premise which has earned its place in history, and it will be treasured for many years to come. Curious tourists from around the world are seduced by the bohemian atmosphere that forever sits within its walls. In addition to a historical experience, the cuisine is also wonderful. They serve simple, yet extremely delicious dishes; typical Catalan breakfasts, and a wider menu of cheeses, seafood, and meats. It’s well worth a visit and will make you see Barcelona from another point of view.


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About the author

Thompson Crowley

Thompson is a musician from the U.K who fell in love with Barcelona. He is constantly discovering new things in the city, which he shares with the readers through his articles.

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