Cosy Parisian bistro vibes on the idyllic Passeig de Sant Joan
The leafy, sun-struck stretch of Passeig de Sant Joan has been slowly transforming into one of Barcelona’s most delicious boulevards. And now that Cafe Búho has arrived, I think it’s safe to say that the transformation is complete.
Occupying a prime corner location that boasts a spacious terrace, Cafe Búho is a French-themed bistro that’s ideal for everything from lazy brunches to indulgent lunches and romantic dinners.
It’s chic and refined, but still feels warm and inviting. The bare-brick walls are adorned in boho-chic posters from France and vintage mirrors, whilst the window-fronted facade fills the space with natural light and makes it an excellent spot for people-watching.
Rustic wooden tables and big puffy pillows make it all feel more like Paris than Barcelona, and I mean that in a really, really good way. It’s the type of place you could happily visit alone for an indulgent lunch or even just for a coffee with a good book. The staff all seem really happy and proud to work here. There’s a genuine belief that they are doing something special and different, and rightly so. Rodrigo, the charismatic manager and host, oversees service and makes sure his guests are happy and content. His upbeat playlists feature 80s power-pop classics and big band ballads, adding to the positive vibes that simmer under the rumble of happy diners.
Get here early to secure one of the desirable window tables for brunch. Enjoy a pot of strong coffee with proper croissants, bagels and smoothes, or go all out with the house special eggs Benedict, which are fast becoming the stuff of legend.
Pop in for lunch to enjoy light bights such as mixed platters of French cheese paired perfectly with Spanish jamón or the chef’s special “risotto del moment”, which draws on fresh market produce to create the kind of soulful flavours that put a smile on your face. Or, if you’ve got bit of an appetite, go for the hearty pulled pork burger with homemade coleslaw, chipotle and chips.
Búho means ‘owl’ in French, so it’s no surprise that this cosy little corner is a good place to be after the sun sets. I arrived at 8pm to a scene of stylish couples enjoying aperitifs and chatting jovially. “Lots of people come for drinks in the evening, and then they start eating dinner at around nine,” Rodrigo explained to me.
The menu is creative and varied and I was pleasantly surprised to find such interesting and creative ingredients in a place that is so affordable. Start with a tartar de dorada with mandarin and red peppers, and don't miss the rillettes of duck with pistachio and apricot bread from Barcelona’s famous Baluard bakery. The rich meat stews with creamed potatoes are great for those in need of a homely taste of Provencal cooking. For dessert, order a wedge of the “cake of the day” or order the ricotta and pumpkin, which is splashed with honey for a French-inspired version of the Catalan classic mel i mató.
An excellent wine list features references from across Spain and, of course, France. Ask Rodrigo for his recommendation and you won’t be disappointed.
Cafe Búho is a breath of fresh air in Barcelona and is a real treat at any time of day. Go with friends, go alone, or go with business associates and enjoy health-conscious comfort food and good vibes.
By Ben Holbrook of http://www.driftwoodjournals.com/
Cafe BúhoPasseig de Sant Joan, 84, 08009 Barcelona, Spain
Area: Eixample right
Website: Cafe Búho - Barcelona
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10AM-12AM, Monday Closed
Phone: +34 930 23 82 92
Metro/Bus: Tetuan, Verdaguer