Walking through the center of Barcelona, we often see “familiar faces” in the shape of clothing stores and food chains that can be found anywhere in the world. Mango, MacDonald’s, Zara, Pull&Bear, Burger King, Jack&Jones… the same old brands pop up in the main shopping streets like Passeig de Gràcia, Las Ramblas, and Portal de l’Àngel.
But Barcelona is much more than the center. It’s made of the little streets we have to squint to read the name on the map, the lovely cafés tucked away in the back of unknown alleys, the hidden treasures we stumble upon when we get lost.
One particularly interesting street off center is Carrer d’Astúries, located immediately to the left of the subway stop Fontana, in the district of Gràcia.
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Start your walk with a good meal
If you are walking this street close to lunch or dinner time, Macchina is a good place to start. This modern-looking pasta bar proudly produces its own fresh pasta every day. Their sauces are 100% homemade and the produce they use is bought daily not at supermarkets, but at local markets.
Address: Carrer d’Astúries, 17
The Quick Greek
Another good place to eat, especially if you want your food to go, is The Quick Greek. Belonging to the chain of Greek Restaurants called Dionisios, one of the most popular purveyors of Greek food in Barcelona, The Quick Greek offers the same high-quality food, prepared with products imported directly from Greece. This take away venue offers options for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans, so everyone can find something to eat.
Address: Carrer d’Astúries, 67
After your meal, swing by Chök to get your sugar fix. There are plenty of places to have dessert in Barcelona, but Chök is like none other! It is a delightful world of chocolate where you can find anything from cronuts and donuts to potato chips and pasta made with this delicious sweet. Their products are so mouthwatering, there are usually people taking pictures of the sweets on the display cases or the windows outside.
Address: Carrer d’Astúries, 93
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Shop for unique items
Olokuti is a wonderful store that sells ecologic, biologic and fair-trade products. At Olokuti you can find items like adult and children’s clothing, decoration pieces, notebooks, games, food products, cds, dvds, books and an assortment of useful, nature-friendly items. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, the store is worth a visit for its inviting ambiance, music, and the secret garden in the back, where you can sit and enjoy an afternoon snack. Check Olokuti club’s schedule to learn about the activities being held at the store.
Address: Carrer d’Astúries, 38
Women of all ages will be delighted by Be Free, a store that sells a colorful variety of objects. There are decorative plates, paintings, key chains, wallets and other articles that contain inspirational and heart-warming messages or beautiful designs, all of which make perfect gifts for that female friend of family member who is about to have a birthday.
Address: Carrer d’Astúries, 39
L’Encant de Gràcia
This is a quaint little store where you can find a variety of hidden treasures if you only take the time to look. L’Encant de Gràcia sells second hand items at ridiculously low prices. The store was founded in 1998 by ACIS, a non-profit organization which gathers funds from the sales to give to cultural centers and to other foundations that help children and young adults. The store is run mainly by volunteer senior citizens, who sort through all of the donated items and tag them so that buyers can purchase anything from paintings and books to doilies and antique figurines to help others in need.
Address: Carrer d’Astúries, 44
If you are in need of a new and pleasant smell in your life, go a little further down the road and pay a visit to Labperfum. In this beautiful store, they create their own perfumes, not selling products from any other brands. Walking in, you will see shelves with large tinted glass containers with golden faucets, which give the place a beautiful rustic charm.
Address: Carrer d’Astúries, 52
Carrer d’Astúries is truly one of the most delightful streets in Vila de Gràcia, with a lot discover and enjoy.
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* Main photo by infocatalonia via Visualhunt