After years and years of resting as an old parking structure, El Nacional has turned this ideal space into one of the trendiest, up-and-coming restaurants in Barcelona. Situated perfectly on the buzzing street of Passeig de Gracia, El Nacional is a beautifully designed space in which you can enjoy a beer, cocktails, gourmet tapas, and quality foods from the Iberian Peninsula. Designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán wanted to create the restaurant to resemble the thirties and forties in Barcelona, with the cosmopolitan, luxurious feel that Passeig de Gracia boasts today. The gastronomic space stretches over 3,000 square meters with vaulted ceilings and multiple dining spaces to withhold the capacity of 750 clients. More resemblant to a market than a restaurant per-say, its 85 chefs and 120 staff members on the floor put El Nacional into a category of its own.
The space is intricately divided into different zones in which you can discover the different cuisines from parts of Spain and neighboring countries like France and Portugal. Catalan food is a highlight in El Nacional, but you’ll also be able to taste traditional cuisine from the northern part of Spain, the Basque country. A typical food from this region available for a small bite is an assortment of pintxos — a single portion, 2-3 bite tapa held together by a toothpick and usually stuck onto a slice of bread. In other sections of El Nacional, you can order typical Spanish rices, meats, French oysters, Portuguese-style cod, innovative fusion dishes, and the list goes on. To uphold a dedication to freshness and creativity, dishes change according to the season and the products available. If you prefer to pop in just for a drink, between the sections, there is a “coctelería” where you can try one of the many mixed cocktails with an arrangement of tapas. Don’t miss out on the bar with multiple beers on tap, or the wine bar consisting of a grand selection of pours available, or finally, a space with cavas from Catalonia. In addition, there is a terrace with a coffee shop and tea room where you can also buy certain products seen inside the space.
Restaurant owner Gerard Subirats decided it essential to keep the entire space open from noon until 3 in the morning every day of the year to keep the clients happy and provide a space for people to dine later in the evening without a rush. Myth does hold true that on the weekends, locals eat on essentially no time schedule for dinner — as long as they are enjoying with friends, there is no time clock for having a late evening meal. That being said, stroll in at any time and expect a lively mix of tourists and locals. With only having been in operation a few short months, El Nacional’s stunning design and top-quality cuisine are leaving a rather memorable impact on its clients.
Address: Passeig de Gracia, 24 bis. You can arrive by foot from the Ramblas Building. Simply find yourself on La Rambla, walk up towards Plaça Catalunya, walk through the square to Passeig de Gracia and it will be a few short blocks up.
Hours: Daily from Noon to 3 AM.
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