Best Girona shopping streets

People who visit often ask me where downtown Girona is. I reply that it doesn’t really have a distinct ‘city centre’ in the usual sense. For shopping purposes there are certain areas that have streets which contain many different shops-I’ve tried to group them in the following way (see below).

Please be aware that store opening times here might be different from your own country. Many of the smaller independent shops close for lunch, which could be for up to 3 hours. Summertime can also be a bit of a hit or miss affair as shops close for their annual holiday-usually in August. Retail related stores are all closed Sundays.

Old town & fringes.

The Rambla de la Liberatat is the wide pedestrianised street that you can access once you cross over the Pont de Pedra bridge from the new part of Girona. A lot of largely smaller shops.

Girona’s La Rambla

At the bottom it doglegs into C/ de les Ballesteries, again the same here, with a few interspersed quirky stores.

Calle Ballesteries

The long, shady street that leads up to the stone bridge (from Via Jaume 1) is C/Nou. It has more than its fair share of shoe shops and opticians.

Carrer Nou

As you walk down here and just before the stone bridge turn left into C/Santa Clara. Clothes shops predominantly.

Head for the Hotel Carlamany, this more modern area has larger shops, chains like H&M, Zara and Bershka. Roads radiating out from the hotel all have stores, or head for C/Migdia.

Retail / Commercial park.

Go south on C/Barcelona all the way to the end as if you were leaving Girona until you reach a large roundabout with a McD’s. Turn off here for 3 large retail sheds. All open late (9pm).

BauHaus-DIY, tools, lighting, paints, bathrooms and garden supplies.

Decathlon- Sports clothing, footwear and equipment for all major sports.

Media Markt-All things electrical, domestic appliances, kitchen gadgets, computers and peripherals, cameras, large range of TV’s.

For shopping mall enthusiasts Girona has Espai Girones in nearby Salt with free indoor/outdoor car parking. The L- 4 bus goes there, catching it from Pl. Marques-Camps. It advertises as having 130 shops with restaurants, a multi-screen cinema and budget hotels. Open till late.

Misc. & Other Girona shops

Wala-Placa Salt,1. Poligon Mas Xirgu. Large, top brands sports clothing and equipment store.

El Corte Ingles-C/Barcelona 106, multi storey branch of this national chain with an extensive basement food hall.

Abacus-C/Barcelona 42. Stationery chain run as a co-operative, order/buy general and school books, educational toys and games, English books section. Become a free member to get discounts on every purchase.

Microgestio- Ronda Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 25. Local official Apple reseller, repairs and training.

Further out of Girona

La Roca designer outlet village near Barcelona

Gran Jonquera Outlet & Shopping, is near the French border with about 50 shops

Cross into France, head for Perpignan and its giant supermarket Ocean for wines, cheeses and snacks that are hard to get in Girona.


Girona wall reliefs

The following wall relief photos are from a tall residential building on the corner of C/Barcelona and Placa Poeta Marquina. The block is several storeys high with a La Caixa bank branch on the ground floor. I’ve walked past this place numerous times and glanced upwards admiring these large coloured decorative reliefs. 

It’s not unusual to find similar examples dotted around the city, particularly in the old town, but these stand out as fine examples. I’ve been unable to discover more about their origin, short of trying to ask someone who lives there.

The first appears to symbolise family with a single young child and its parents and grandparents, all in a group embrace. Such strong family bonds are still a big part of Catalan culture and daily life. Why the child stands atop of a crowned woman is slightly mystifying. My first thought was some royal connection but most Catalans aren’t keen on the Spanish monarchy-past or present. That said, the current King of Spain Felipe VI once held the title of Prince of Girona.

The next one down stretches up to the top and also requires further enquiries. Two young girls are standing either side of a tree (tree of life?). One is holding a small harp, the other appears to be the city coat of arms. Below their feet sits a deer. Digging into deer symbolism it typically means unconditional love, gentleness, grace and good luck. The part of the relief above the tree appears to look angelic, the part jutting out is perplexing. I’m sure there’s a story waiting to be told here.

The bottom two probably have something to do with the Battle of Girona, in June 1808, as  the year is easily definable. This occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The French assault failed, being repulsed by city militia and low and behold, two battalions of Irish infantry in Spanish service. The person holding what appears to be a blunderbuss might be one of the militia perhaps.


Costa Brava beach days-St Feliu de Guixols

Escaping to the beach from Girona is easy by car. Once you’re out of the city and on the C-65 / C-31 road it’s only about 33 km to St Feliu de Guixols. Upon entering the town’s outskirts you can catch a  glimpse of the sea, way down below. 

Just follow the beach (platjas) signs which lead you onto a long straight road that runs parallel to the beach. There’s paid parking here, to your left and right in the blue bays, hard to find though at the peak of summer.

There’s a perceptible feeling of a working town cum one-third resort. Much a place for locals as for tourist visitors. Even off-season and wintertime it still retains a modicum of vibrancy. It has a bustling weekly general market every Sunday worth perusing. All over by mid-afternoon, ready for that perennial problem of where to go for lunch.

The long broad seafront esplanade smacks of a bygone era or former glory. The Casino La Constancia building along here (Rambla del Portalet) stands as a curious testament to the towns’ colourful past. The ‘stuck in the 50’s’ internal decor, it’s still utilised as a social / community centre. Worth taking a peek inside or stopping for a coffee.

Choose a suitable beach plot along the gently curving, well-groomed beach. Glance to your right to an elevated cornucopia of holiday apartment buildings, perched along its pine-strewn promontory. Crank your neck leftwards and the beach ends with the town’s port / marina area. 

If you decide to venture over there it has a worthy seafood restaurant, Sa Marinada. A further 15 minute curving uphill stroll will take you to S’Agaro, a much smaller upmarket chic resort.

If you’re staying in St Feliu for a bite to eat in the evening, stroll through its central areas starting at the Rambla, a short hop away from the beachfront. El Dorado is one favourite we keep returning to, but less so these days, as prices have risen beyond the ‘let’s eat out and not worry about the price’.

Friends who live nearby inform me that the pizzeria la Locanda Di Nonna Flo is also good.

Behind the seaside facade the interior town areas verge on the largely unremarkable scale as a 6. That’s not uncommon and rarely the real reason for a visit. St Feliu fulfills its duty and works perfectly fine as a beach-day-treat antidote to city living.


Girona street art

Street art, graffiti or urban art, it all adds up to the personal expressions or interpretations of an artist. Good or bad, you must decide. Explore the streets, nooks and crannies of Girona and you’ll come across various examples. 

Small and large, strange, mystifying, comical and fantastical. The one enduring aspect is that on many sites they don’t last long. Many a time I’ve ventured back to take a photo and what I originally saw had been replaced with a newer creation.

Girona even holds a Contemporary Urban Art Festival (Festival D’Art Urba Contemporari), it’s 8th edition was in September 2019

Stay tuned for future blog posts with the latest masterpieces as they appear!

No mother-in-law jokes please.
Any ideas? Answers on a postcard please.
Comic fantasy? Troubled childhood? Stuff of nightmares!
Good use of one of the supporting pillars of the rail viaduct.
A long standing feature on the side of an old factory.
A reference to women fighters during the Spanish Civil War.

Costa Brava beach days- St Antoni de Calonge

Part of the appeal of living in Girona is that we’re not too far away from the Costa Brava beaches. So many fine destinations that we’re spoilt for choice-a nice problem to have. 

That said we tend to stick to those beaches due east, from say, St Feliu de Guixols and up north to St Marti d’Empuries. Within this stretch there’s plenty to choose from, and no real reason why we don’t get to the more northerly places like Roses or Cadaques.

A trip to the beach for us is not just restricted to the summer, we go at all times of the year, understandably less often out of season. It’s a great tonic, beaches during the winter are deserted, often windswept and if we’re lucky enough, find a restaurant for lunch or a snack.

The resort of St Antoni de Calonge is about 40 min. drive from Girona, off the coastal C-31 road. It’s very much a seasonal town, full of second-home owners during the summer months and earthly quiet if you visit in winter. Mainly apartment blocks and thankfully not too high rise and some beachfront hotels.

I like the coarse, light yellow, grainy sand here and even in high season there’s room to move. It definitely exudes a ‘this is for us locals’ mood and you’d be hard pressed to hear any other voices except Catalan or Spanish.

It’s popular with Gironians as every time we visit we’re sure to bump into someone we know from Girona. The long seafront is the real attraction, split into three smaller bays by man-made rocky promontories. There’s a wide footpath that runs along the whole stretch and beyond, which will take you to the much larger next door resort of Palamos.

This path is popular with dog walkers, cyclists, joggers, skateboarders and busy with promenaders on a summer’s evening. The place is well served with seafront cafes and restaurants, Refugi de Pescadors (the fishermen’s refuge) and Restaurant Simon are the two most notable for their seafood. Nearby Palamos is an important fishing port with a daily fish market, so you’re bound to get a decent dish. 

When in season, Palamos prawns (Gambas de Palamos) are coveted and expensive. They have a reddish body, firm texture and more akin to a king prawn in size.

The sandy beach areas have lifeguards and roughly centrally located there’s a first aid station and toilet. Out of season the toilet is removed as I noticed when I visited one November. Where do you go if you’re caught short and no cafes are open? I think the local council needs to rethink this one.

We tend to park at the southern end of town as it’s a stone’s throw from the beach with more spaces. Parking within the blue bays is paid, the only annoying thing is that you get a maximum of 2 hours, so if you’re here for several hours it means popping back to keep feeding the meter.

If you fancy a pleasant long stroll then starting here you can keep on the same flat, asphalt, coastal path I mentioned above for the next 2 kms reaching Palamos eventually. It too has beach areas and a ghastly high-rise apartment block, which dominates and blights the beachfront view-in my opinion anyway.

Don’t expect much in the way of nightlife here, you’d have to head off into nearby Playa d’Aro for that. Driving out of here for 4km you might also want to check out the inland medieval hill village of Calonge.


Bridges of Girona

The bridges of Girona may sound like a romantic notion but it’s not exactly a comparison of the same structures as somewhere like Paris or London. Of course any bridge can be romantic I suppose, depending on who you’re with.

I understand that bridges serve a practical function and can also be beautiful in their own right. Especially where river spans allow for the creation of something visually noteworthy. Yes, I hear you say, but what about those exquisitely beautiful small bridges in Venice or Cambridge? Sure, but the world’s most famous and best remembered ones tend to be the grandest.

So what does Girona have to offer? The river Onyar has several bridges moderately spread along its meagre old-town-length. It neatly separates the old Girona on one side, and its more modern ‘eixample’ and ‘mercadal’ areas which fan out west and south.

We should start with perhaps the oldest bridge, the Pont de Pedra (stone bridge) near Placa de Catalunya, which itself also straddles the river. It dates from 1856 composed of three low arches that rest on two pillars. Built from a local stone that looks and feels like granite, topped with cobbles and a stone flagged path either side. Largely pedestrian traffic it’s an excellent vantage point for photos and selfies. A good entry point for old town visitors, it has a row of craft stalls on one side every Saturday.

Going downriver using the Rambla or along C/ Sta Clara you’ll get to the long winded Pont de les Peixateries Velles (the Fishmongers’ Bridge, 1877) or commonly known as the Eiffel bridge. Yes, it’s the same Gusatve Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame in Paris, built some 12 years later. Its wooden walkway enclosed by blood red ironwork creates diamond-framed ‘portholes’ or viewpoints. Again, use them to frame some more photos of the up or down river. This bridge is thoughtfully illuminated every Christmas and must surely be available as a Meccano kit by now, 

Next is the plain-looking Pont de Sant Agusti, which connects the old quarter to Placa Independencia, a popular spot for outdoor dining. Light grey hexagonal-slab pavement with jet black vertical iron railings. Something that wouldn’t look out of place in some communist-era capital. Built to a budget more than for its style perhaps.

Next along the list of pedestrianised bridges is the Pont d’en Gomez with its low strung, long single arch. Also known as the Pont de la Princesa it was built around 1915 replacing a former wooden construction. The drab-grey concrete colour theme persists, more fitting on a cold, wet, rainy day under dark clouds. The ever so slightly different black railings design offers some uplift to this narrow crossing.

Continuing down river and keeping to the riverside path affords several more opportune photo moments. Bright, sunny, sky blue days give a reflective effect and change the hues of the pastel coloured backs of the Onyar houses. Nowhere along our route is the water too deep, and you can often catch sight of large black carp basking in the shallows.

A short hop, skip and jump away is the bridge of Saint Felix, Pont de Sant Feliu. 

Offering pedestrians a wider, almost flat, wooden walkway, it too offers visitors easy access into the old town area with the welcoming view of the St Felix church. Built only in 1995, its metal constituent materials have been left to the vagaries of weather to sympathetically rust. Simple and uncomplicated they’ve succeeded in creating a bridge that works well in linking the old and new Girona.

Just next to it is a rail bridge and slightly further away adjoining a large open parking area is the road bridge Pont de Pedret. That’s pretty much it for the descriptive element as the Onyar winds its way along the thin sliver of Pedret neighbourhood.


Girona day trips-Barcelona

A lot of tourists and visitors do it the other way around. Finding themselves in Barcelona and looking for a day trip away from the city. This one assumes you’re already in Girona. The obvious bit is that the earliest you can get away, the more time you’ll have in the Catalan capital.  While there are many cultural points of interest this informational guide excludes such delights-we’ll cover those in another post.

The quickest and least stressful way is to go on the TGV / Alta velocitat fast train service. Just 38 minutes from Girona without any stops. Buy your ticket and exit the station building (the side facing parc Central) and a short walk over to a stand-alone building (image below). Take the down escalator as the platforms are underground, and give yourself enough time to go through security. This is also the way down to the underground bus station.

If you prefer to drive down the roughly 100 kms distance this is best done using the AP7 motorway toll road (approx. return cost 15€). The free alternative is to use the N-II route but this will probably double your travel time. Once in Barcelona there are plenty of car parks, mostly underground but they aren’t cheap. You can try to find a good deal via a parking app, and the city traffic is busy most of the time.

For me the downside to using the AVE travel option is that you arrive at Barcelona Sants station, which isn’t too bad but I’d prefer to be nearer the centre. Plan B is to take the ‘media distancia’ train from Girona, 1hr.15m  and get off at Passeig de Gracia station-better situated for shopping. That train departs from the platform above ground

Passeig de Gracia is a long wide avenue full of swanky upmarket stores that wealthy tourists flock to. Its famous crowd pulling landmarks include Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, which wouldn’t be out of place in a Shrek movie. Gaze upwards and marvel at the sheer effrontery to normal straight line architecture. Don’t imagine you can just walk straight in, pre booking is highly advisable. 

For the less culturally inclined, exit the station and go towards the large Apple store in Placa Catalunya to restore your capitalist beliefs. Once here you ought to move on to the famous Las Ramblas, a short walk away. A big tourist attraction, this pedestrianised tree lined avenue stretches all the way down to the port area. Be sure to check out the La Boqueria food market, it’s predominantly tourists who funnel through its myriad stalls. Plenty of food and snack options here to tempt you. Locals prefer to shop elsewhere as it has sadly succumbed to the vagaries of mass tourism. I tend to agree.

Aimlessly wandering has its attractions but can lead to a haphazard experience. If you fancy a dip and weather permitting you can make your way by taxi or subway to Barceloneta, the city’s go to place for a beach day. Summertime this long stretch of beach is heaving with visitors. Stretch your legs along the long promenade and chill out in one of the many beach bars.

Feel like you might want to spend the night here then further up along here are two cool 5 star seafront hotels. The Arts Barcelona and the W-Barcelona have the perfect sea views that are hard to beat. This lengthy seafront is a popular evening spot with cool music and cocktails as the big pull.

Feel like you’ve had enough then walk back towards the trendy El Born neighbourhood. It has a laid back hipster approach and youthful vibe. Narrow lanes filled with small boutiques for the curious shopper, and characterful bars to rest your weary legs. 

Keep weaving your way through and you’ll find yourself in the old quarter of Barcelona, Barrio Gotico. The quaintness continues but it’s time for a cautionary word of warning. 

This area, especially at night, requires a degree of alertness as regards petty street crime. Plenty of forums have stories of how tourists have had their bags and backpacks stolen or picked in Barcelona. It even happened to me once. 

I was walking along the street in the old town on my way to a comedy club. Two strangers approached me and my wife, cleverly separating us. They started handing out various business cards for local restaurants. The guy high-fived me and I responded. As I lowered my hand I felt my front pocket and instantly realised my wallet was missing. At the same time the two strangers quickly departed running off into the maze of alleys. I ran after them but to no avail as they disappeared into thin air. 

I started to rustle through nearby trash bins as I’d read that these pickpockets often take the cash and dump the wallet. I flagged down a passing police car who looked unsurprised and told me that I should go to my local police station to report the crime. Alas my comedy club evening was devoid of any laughter.

If you came here by train then I’m sorry but there’s no enjoying any night time fun as the last train back to Girona is at about 9.30pm. Catch it from Sants station or Passeig de Gracia.


4 Good Girona restaurants

In recent years Girona has come under the international foodie spotlight due to the much publicised El Celler Can Roca becoming the world’s best restaurant in 2013 and again in 2015 according to Restaurant Magazine. 

A well deserved accolade no doubt but there are other Girona restaurants worthy of fine dining that deserve a mention. And, less expensive than having to remortgage your house for a meal at Can Roca. Whilst not boasting their 3 Michelin stars or even 1 star (Massana) they offer delicious tasting menus. A good enough reason to dress up to go in search of dining excellence. Plus, who knows, one day they may even reach those same Michelin stellar heights.

A good few of the kitchens here are also staffed by people that had working links with top restaurants in Girona or Barcelona. Girona’s well-renowned Escola de Hosteleria cranks out in-demand catering staff at home and abroad. This school also receives strong support from the Roca brothers who are former alumni.

Divinum, C/ de I’Albereda, 7

We’ve been here a couple of times, old town setting with a vaulted interior. Upon entering the heavily-wooded panel reception, the imposing front desk (yes-wood again) reminds me of some grandiose country house hotel. Just add a couple of stag or deer antlers to complete the picture. The small number of covers, the just right lighting level makes for a cosy couples spot. We chose its tasting menu (menu de gustacio), 3 to 4 starters followed by the same number of mains and desserts. I managed to name-drop one of my students who was a good friend of the chef, which earned us a freebie dish.

Just sit back and let them keep coming, there’s a thoughtful pause between each one and I couldn’t fault the service. Small portions, each accompanied by a different wine.The poor dishwasher must have been working overtime as each plate came with a fresh set of cutlery. I like this way of eating as usually I’m terribly indecisive when faced with a standard menu card. 

Mimolet, C/ del Pou Rodo, 12

Once again it was time to put on a jacket and tie, not a common occurrence for me, living in a hot climate. Down a narrow alley away from St Feliu church past the hotel Llegendes is the unassuming Mimolet. Being a Saturday night we’d booked, and saw walk-ins getting turned away. Same as above, we chose the tasting menu and the house wine. Tasty morsels started to appear on an irregular basis. The fall back position in such cases is to talk and drink more. Ordinary we don’t mind a long drawn out eating session but this time it dragged on a touch too long. The large group of nearby diners were making a night of it. They overheard our English and proceeded to engage in some one-sided entertainment-theirs not ours.

Nu, C/ d’Abeuradors,4

I’d walked past this place many times on my way out for my usual Friday night escape into Girona’s old town labyrinth of night time liquid offerings. Always busy with an equal mix of locals and tourists who’ve no doubt been aware of its top standing on sites like Tripadvisor. The culinary talent pool has links with nearby 1 Michelin star Massana.

So crossing our radar we booked a late Saturday night table. Not too near the front door mind you, as it was a cold December night. A long narrow layout also includes a parallel counter where clients can eat, and get a birds eye view of chefs at work. No pressure then. The de rigueur choice for us was of course the tasting menu. Well presented, well made dishes, I sometimes think how much more the bill would be if this was in London.

Cull del Mon, Vall de St Daniel

A little less of an impact on your pocket, but not by too much, we’ve visited a good few times over several years. One time we even saw Jordi Roca eating here (the pastry chef at Celler Can Roca). This stone built house stands alone tucked away in the sleepy hollow village of St Daniel. Up behind Girona’s cathedral it’s a nice improve-your-appetite stroll up to here, or squeeze your car into its handful of spaces. The bare-stone theme continues inside, bright, contemporary and uncluttered. On a warm sunny day or balmy evening go for its shaded side terrace.

Charming Moroccan owner/chef Lofti and Catalan wife Montse who’s front of house. The menu reflects this fusion of both cuisines which obviously works as they’ve certainly crept up the list of preferred Girona eateries on big review sites. Starters (primers plats) include two favourites, the Catalan cheese selection and the foi raviolis in a mushroom sauce. Mains (segons plats) includes lamb tagine and locally-sourced steak.

On our last visit in June 2020 the hit was just shy of 200 euros for four. That for me falls into the ‘go there once a year category’. If there’s one last thing to add, it’s that the menu hasn’t changed much, if at all for a very long time. I suppose it’s a case of if it works then why change things. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.


Top tapas bars in Girona

Visitors and locals alike all enjoy a cold beer and a tapas to munch on. Bite-sized, snacky and tasty, tapas are a perfect start to a night out. Girona has many bars that offer them, ranging in price and quality.

At the cheaper end of the scale even a bowl of green olives is accepted as a basic tapa. Nothing unusual there but hardly imaginative. Moving further up the scale or originality and ingredients usually means paying a touch more. The following are a selection of Girona bars and restaurants I’ve found to be constantly good. You can easily make a night of it and visit all of them, appetite withstanding.

Txalaka, C/ Bonastruc de Porta, 4

Basque cuisine, it offers a good range of tapas as well as a more traditional menu (la carta). Walk in to be faced with a long wide counter heaving with a tapas selection to suit all tastes. With most of these types of establishments, grab a plate and help yourself. Sit inside, but we prefer an outdoor table when the weather is good. Order a drink and keep going back for more. Leave the cocktail sticks on your plate so the waiter knows how much to charge you. Don’t ignore the dessert section if you have room. My verdict. Good quality and variety, nice desserts but a bit pricey.

Artusi, Placa de les Castanyes, 6

Another quality tapas bar and regular restaurant where you can also choose from a menu of Catalan dishes. Their tapas range is much smaller than Txalaka and it’s mostly standing room only. It does have a few bar stools and a couple of tables outside. As before, order a drink and choose your tapas. The rear dining area which also includes a small enclosed patio is more for those dining al la carte. My verdict. Better known for its more refined diners, tapas are a nice side hustle. Not a place to hang around for too long, keep moving.

Zanpanzar, C/de la Cort Reial, 10-12

Smack in the middle of the old town it’s not too hard to miss for the random strolling tourist. The short street its on has a few other places to test your tastebuds, Indian Taj, Catalan Llevataps or Mexican Maguey. Same as before, pick up a plate and take your pick. Stand by the bar or sit down. This place is what a tourist imagines a typical Spanish tapas bar looks like. A long counter full of plates of different bread-based tapas, rather let down by an uninteresting, boring interior. However, it does a brisk trade on weekends. Sadly, for me I fell foul of the weasel-looking, bonkers barman one night and haven’t returned since. Shame, as we used to pop in as a one-for-the-road type place. My verdict. Run of the mill tapas, inexpensive, just missing sawdust on its floors.

Vinitu, Placa Bell-Lloc, 4,local 2

An unashamed plug for this tiny Girona old town bar enthusiastically run by a young couple, Danny and Carla. No problem with English here too. Rather than individual tapas which aren’t really what’s on offer, I’d recommend their sharing boards or ‘fustas’ of local cheeses or cured meats and ham. If you fancy a mix of both ask for a 50/50, (not on the printed menu). One of my favourites is the newly introduced item ‘pollo rabiosa’, breaded chicken strips with a spicy sauce that Peruvian Danny developed. My verdict. A nice alternative to a typical tapas smorgasbord, friendly welcome and leave with a smile. Oh…you can also take your dog inside.

Can Vidal, Placa de Miquel de Palol, 1-2

Sometimes you find a back street place, frequented by locals and not on your typical tourist trail. This is such a place, local to me, that serves up a good range of Galician based tapas on Friday nights and Saturday lunchtimes only. It’s quite a hit with the Devesa residents. A small menu with a mix of seafood and meat based tapas like ‘cloises’ small clams, ‘pulpo’ octopus, and their patatas bravas are a must try. Get here for about 1.30 to 2pm as it fills up quickly with local families and groups. Closes about 4pm.

Wait at the bar if you have to and order a small plate of something. Genial and friendly host Vidal will come by your table after you finish eating to offer you a free shot of liquor. Not sure what to choose? go for a ‘poma’ apple liquor shot. No English menu or spoken English here, just point or use your Google translate to decipher the menu card. My verdict. Home-cooked food, served promptly but limited to weekends (Sundays-closed).


Let’s do lunch

If it’s lunch you’re looking for in Girona you really should go for the ‘menu del dia’ or set lunch menu, available weekdays at a reasonable cost. 

The two-hour break is another entrenched local custom and many local eateries battle it out to attract diners.

That can be between 10 to 20 euros but don’t expect to be too impressed at the quality and quantity at the lower end. You can however expect a limited choice of 3 courses including bread and a drink. Fewer places offer set menus at weekends and do charge more. 

The drink part of the deal can be a bit of a grey, murky, ill defined area. Some offers include a glass of wine, small beer or mineral water. Others we’ve tried have a more liberal interpretation and will place a full bottle of wine on the table. What’s a person to do, well being from the UK restaurant wine is expensive and no one would dream of leaving any.

Yet here, a decent table wine is far cheaper. Time and time again we’ve noticed that locals think nothing of leaving a half-full bottle. I’ve known friends to accidentally lean over and pinch that bottle.

The overall experience varies widely and the good nuggets are out there. It’s just a matter of trying them out to see what you like. For uncomplicated, home-cooked food it ticks a lot of boxes, it might not leave you full but its time well spent. In my time here the dessert choices often disappoint and the majority appear to be shop bought. Sure, it’s a cost issue so maybe I’m aiming too high.

My current favourite is a too small restaurant, Bionbo in C/ del Carme which I’d heard a lot of good things about and put it on my list of places to eat at. It’s become so popular that it requires booking several days ahead. 

Lastly, I should mention a little well-kept secret amongst locals that I’ve tried twice. I doubt you’d even find this mentioned on sites like Tripadvisor or Apps like the Fork.  

I live opposite the Escola d’Hosteleria i Turisme de Girona which teaches kids how to cook and serve food. It was the place where the now famous Roca brothers started their careers. In order to train their student chefs and waiters how restaurants operate, their dining rooms offer a quality tasting lunch menu at a rock bottom price (last time it was 30 euros). 

Each serving has its own wine choice and this entire meal would easily be double the price elsewhere. Their website features upcoming menus, often influenced by famous Catalan chefs, and it all ends in May when the college closes. Book in person if you want via the door person in reception, expect to wait several days. Just remember to clear your diary after you’ve finished this 3 hour long sojourn!