Carrer dels Escudellers
POINTS OF INTEREST
Carrer dels Escudellers
Named for the terrissaires (earthenware potters) who worked here making escudellas (bowls or stew pots), this colorful loop is an interesting subtrip off La Rambla. Go left at Plaça del Teatre and you'll pass the landmark Grill Room at No. 8, an Art Nouveau saloon with graceful wooden decor and an ornate oak bar; next is La Fonda Escudellers, another lovely, glass- and stone-encased dining emporium. (At neither—alas!—is the food especially good.) At Nos. 23–25 is Barcelona's most comprehensive ceramics display, Art Escudellers. Across the street is Los Caracoles, once among the most traditional of Barcelona's restaurants and now mainly the choice of tourists with deep pockets. Still, the bar and the walk-through kitchen on the way in are picturesque, as are the dining rooms and the warren of little stairways between them. Another 100 yards down Carrer Escudellers is Plaça George Orwell, named for the author of Homage to Catalonia, a space created to bring light and air into this formerly iffy neighborhood. The little flea market that hums along on Saturday is a great place to browse.
Take a right on Carrer de la Carabassa and walk down this cobbled alley. It is arched over with graceful bridges that once connected the houses with their adjacent gardens. At the end of the street, looming atop her own basilica, is Nostra Senyora de la Mercè (Our Lady of Mercy). This giant representation of Barcelona's patron saint is a 20th-century (1940) addition to the 18th-century Església de la Mercè; the view of La Mercè gleaming in the sunlight, babe in arms, is one of the Barcelona waterfront's most impressive sights. As you arrive at Carrer Ample, note the 15th-century door with a winged Sant Miquel Archangel delivering a backhand blow to a scaly Lucifer; it's from the Sant Miquel church, formerly part of City Hall, torn down in the early 19th century. From the Mercè, a walk out Carrer Ample (to the right) leads back to La Rambla. Don't miss the colmado (grocery store) on the corner of Carrer de la Carabassa—La Lionesa, at Carrer Ample 21, one of Barcelona's best-preserved 19th-century shops: a prime location for Spanish wines and liquors, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie. At No. 7 is the Solé shoe store, with handmade shoes from all over the world. You might recognize Plaça Medinaceli, next on the left, from Pedro Almodovar's film Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother); from the scene featuring the heroine's dog and her aging father.