When the Olympic Games come to a city there are varying degrees of the positive impact that are left behind once the final medal has been handed out. Some games such as Athens and Rio have left huge areas of the city as ghost towns. Once thriving with hundreds and thousands of sports fans the empty stadiums and arenas fall into deep disrepair and the city has no money to renovate them. On the other hand sometimes when the Olympic Games come into a city it is totally transformed and wise city planners use the money carefully to resign areas of a city that were once upon a time falling apart. Barcelona is one of these such cases.
During the industrial revolution of the 19th century, Poblenou was the epicenter of Catalan and Iberian industry. Surrounding the extensive cluster of factories stood mostly working class residential areas. When the industrial buzz passed and factories began closing their doors the neighborhood fell into a state of abandon and disrepair. When the Olympic Games were awarded to Barcelona Poble Nou was not an area that you would ever think about visiting. Abandoned factories, dilapidated apartment buildings and closed down shops lined many of the streets. After a period of decay, the neighborhood has undergone a dramatic transformation and it was the arrival of the ‘92 Olympics that was the main trigger for the massive reformation of El Poblenou.
Many of the areas that have been developed including the Vila Olímpica, Diagonal Mar and Fòrum. Barcelona is built on a grid system. There is one road however that cuts diagonally all the way through the city, appropriately named ‘Diagonal’ Completing its original, unfinished plan, the Avinguda Diagonal now stretches from Plaça de les Glòries to the sea. Alongside the newly built, upscale Vila Olímpica and Diagonal Mar areas, many artists and young professionals have converted the former factories and warehouses into lofts, galleries, and shops. Art & Design schools and studios have also opened, making the area known for its creative outlook.
The result of all this is a thriving, young and artistic community that 25 years ago would have been seen as completely inconceivable! The location that Poblenou holds is perfect as a suburban residence as it is close to the city centre and well as the beach. Add to that a huge variety of shopping centers, bars and restaurants. Prices of flats in the area have increased dramatically, although it’s still a nice place to live. This neighbourhood also has many wide open spaces and green parks, not forgetting of course Parc Ciutadella right on its border to the city centre.
Poblenou is not a touristy area of the city. But there are holiday apartments here that are cheaper than more central areas such as Gothic and Barceloneta. Apart from the financial aspect the advantage of living in this area are the restaurants. The dining in this area is for the locals, not the tourists and these are the restaurants you want to be eating in during your stay! So here is a run down of the top restaurants in the Poblenou area.
Pere IV, 272-286 San Martí, Barcelona, Spain
This restaurant is slightly on the expensive side but you pay for what you get because not only is the food spectacular the location is also to die for!
Located on the 24th floor of trendy modern Hotel Meliá Sky Barcelona and managed by twin chefs Javier and Sergio Torres, Dos Celios offers stunning views of Barcelona. The top-level cuisine is no less dazzling, with its unusual Oriental and Latin-inspired flavors. It is a great place for gourmet lovers and people with sensitivity to details and beauty. Visit here for excellent royal blue lobster with citrus honey rice with octopus and sea fennel. If you are on a romantic weekend in Barcelona and want to impress your better half with an evening of fine dining look no further than here!
Placa de Prim, 1, Poblenou, Barcelona, Spain
One of the wonderful things about being by the sea is enjoying the huge variety of fresh fish and seafood that the restaurants here have to offers. Els Pescadors is certainly one of the best seafood restaurants in the area. is located in renovated fisherman’s tavern and provides a mixture of traditional fish recipes with a contemporary interpretation. Els Pescadors welcomes the evolution of cuisine, hence their kitchen adapts to these changes, and that is why it has been so popular. The menu offers an extensive range of wines, cava and champagne, with more than 150 references from local wine cellars. Els Pescadors values authenticity, and the fine quality of drinks serves as a perfect component to boost the flavors of the seafood.
Els Tres Porquets
Rambla del Poblenou, 165, Poblenou, Barcelona, Spain
This restaurant is slightly different in that it does not offer high-end gourmet delicacies, but attracts people instantly with its casual atmosphere. It is similar to a small-sized classical tavern-type venue. It serves great tapas and good wine at reasonable prices. Els Tres Porquents offers no fixed menu, and changes in meals are frequent, as all tapas and plates are cooked using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. The tapas are accompanied by a great selection of local and foreign wines, particularly of French origin. Worth trying are delicious mushroom croquettes as an alternative for vegetarians or juicy and crispy Galician cow sirloin with roasted peppers and garlic.
Raco de la Vila
Ciudad de Granada, 33, Poblenuo, Barcelona, Spain
Located in an old but well-preserved building, Raco de la Vila offers high-quality contemporary cuisine that is inspired by traditional Catalan and Spanish meals. The restaurant has a simple approach and produces classic dishes without superfluity – which is why all raw ingredients go through careful selection and preparation. This place is best visited during dinner hours, as the warm interior looks best in the diffused evening lights, creating a relaxed and intimate feel. While here, try Raco de la Vila’s delicious creamy lasagna with prawns or more sophisticated and gourmet deer civet with chestnut purée.
So even if you are not staying in the Poblenou area do swing through it and have a little wander round you never know what little gems you may come across!