Chinese restaurants in Barcelona

in Tools & Tips

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/auws

Finding authentic and good Chinese food in Barcelona is no easy feat. The city’s not big enough for a Chinatown, but luckily for me, it is big enough to have a couple of pretty good Chinese restaurants. After almost two years of living there, I came upon two favorites:

  • Zhao Yang on C/ Corsega 391′s run by a woman from Hong Kong and serves a delightful fare at an extremely affordable price. Ignore the peeling wallpaper, avoid the Spanish-Chinese classics and dive in. I recommend the steamed fish. (If you need help, ask the owner there, she speaks Spanish, English, Cantonese and Mandarin.)
  • Mingren on C/Napoles 97 is a beautiful ghetto institution near Arc de Triumph that serves everything from small snacks, noodles to seafood (and actually the best thing I had there was the navajas I ordered). There’s quite a rowdy crowd even at 1am.

Both of these places are dingy and swimming in fluorescent light. If you want to head towards something more respectable, I’d recommend:

  • Memorias de China on C/ Lincoln 17 serves a pretty decent Cantonese fare. Portions are small and you might need to reserve in advance (I’ve always been lucky and just walked in).
  • Shanghai 1930 on Buenos Ares 11 has a pretty good selection in addition to the strangest decor in Barcelona: fake Gaudi mosaics side-by-side with fake vintage Chinese bicycles.

If you’re bored of those four, I also tried two Taiwanese restaurants that were pretty good food at a middling price range:

  • Son Hao on C/ Muntaner 66 serves a good dumpling, amongst other things.
  • Hoy on Traverseria de les Corts 281 also does a pretty good job all around, and serves my favorite mango pudding!

If this isn’t enough and you want an adventure, you should definitely head out to Badalona and explore the Chinese neighborhood there. I’ve had two meals there, hotpot and noodles, and they’ve both been pretty good.

Now for the restaurants to avoid, in case you’ve been reading around on the internet:

  • Out of China on C/ Muntaner 100 came up once as a mythical dim sum haven. It is not.
  • Dong Lin on Av. Parallel 152 constantly came up and was highly recommended by multiple sources. What they don’t tell you is that it serves very good Spanish-Chinese food and not really good Chinese food. So head there if that’s your thing.
  • La Xina on C/ Pintor Fortuny 3 is Grupo Tragaluz’s rendition of Chinese food. It’s actually not bad, and the decor is spectacular, but for the price there are much better alternatives in the city.
  • Dos Palillos on Elisabets 9 has a variety of Asian dishes, including some Chinese ones. While it’s not bad, the food is small and they keep trying to repackage Asian food as exotic concepts at the expense of the flavor. Nice place for a drink though.
  • Wok & Bol on Diputacio 294 is a Catalan man trying to do Chinese food. It’s above average for Chinese food in Barcelona, but that’s about it.

Now before the end, I want to leave you with a cultural mystery…

  • Jardin Rosa on Avendia Mistral 54 was recommended by both a Chinese grocery store cashier and an Asian expatriate. It has the trappings of authenticity (a Chinese menu and a family of children running about). But I’ve never eaten anything there I’ve really enjoyed. Let me know if I’m doing something wrong.

…and a nugget I didn’t know where to place:

  • Tetere on C/ del Diluvi 8 sells authentic and high-end Chinese tea, albeit at a very high price.

I hope that covers it. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment below!

By Jason Li

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