During the middle of the 19th century, this charming neighborhood – an independent village at that time – had become popular among the families of Catalan upper class. Its proximity to radiant green hills of Collserola, and exceptional climate made it a perfect summer getaway. This explains why in a small neighborhood on the north-western border of the city, Art Nouveau mansions and spectacular villas alternate with each other – but instead of spending warm summer months here, today Barcelona’s wealthiest families settled here permanently.
Those magnificent houses are not the only remnants of that era, when Sarriá still lay outside the city limits. The neighborhood was annexed to Barcelona only in 1921 – and much of the area retained a rustic unsophisticated look. Shops still bear vintage wrought-iron signs; churches cherish centuries-old relics; and time seems to flow here at a different speed than in the rest of the city – no one’s rushing, there are no crowds, and silence appears to be much popular than buzz and clamor synonymous to the central neighborhoods.
By no means, it signifies that Sarriá is boring! The food market (Passeig de la Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 8), reopened in 2007 with modern facilities and original décor of the early 20th century, will please just as much a keen foodie, as an architectural geek. Immense green forest, rich vegetation and an antique small railway make Parc de l’Oreneta (Carrer de Montevideo, 45) a tremendous location for a day off, especially with kids. Although geographically located in the Les Corts district, the Monastery of Pedralbes (Baixada del Monestir, 9) is still within walking distance; and both Tibidabo and Gaudí´s Torre de Bellesguard can be easily reached via public transport.
The neighborhood also flaunts diverse and attractive dining scene. For posh ambiance and great tapas, head to Canalla (Major de Sarrià, 110); authentic Catalan cuisine is at its best in El Vell Sarrià (Major de Sarrià, 93); Bar Tomás (Major de Sarrià, 49) does not strike at first, but rumor has it, they’ve got the best patatas bravas in the entire city. For a sweet tooth, there is iconic Foix de Sarrià (Major de Sarrià, 57; Plaça de Sarrià, 12-13) – ever since 1886 this is where the residents gorge on fanciful cakes, pastries, and luscious chocolates; in summer their ice-cream parlor is an indispensable stop in the area.
FGC Sarrià, Reina Elisenda