La Nena café – Gracia, Barcelona

La Nena cafe - Gracia, Barcelona

c/Ramon y Cajal, 36

Monday to Sunday

La Nena is one of those places you fall entirely in love with the instant you see it. It looks pretty cute from the outside with its coloured lights and little tables and then inside there are board games, home-made cakes, and the kind of ambience that you couldn’t buy with a hundred interior designers. An old clock dongs the hour (almost accurately) sleepy old-time blues tickles your skin like warm breath on the back of your neck, and customers’ dogs wander around untethered claiming fuss and kisses (if you’re lucky).

The menu is only in Catalan but you fight your way through with a little knowledge, a little intuition or just by throwing caution to the wind.

Healthy things first, you can have teas such as green, chai, pu-erh, earl grey, digestive, mate, green with mint and yogi teas. They are all served with mineral water.

They also have fruit juices that you can combine using the following fruits: orange, lemon, apple, banana, beetroot, and celery . Or (for a little extra) tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, papaya and fresh ginger.

There are milk shakes which are available with soya milk in mango, papaya, banana etc and cost from €3.80.

There is a choice of hot chocolates such as Spanish style (thick), Swiss style (with cream), Russian style with vanilla ice cream, Brazilian style with coffee and a bikini line wax and French style –which they offer no explanation of so I therefore quite rightly (probably) assume is served with a striped top, a beret and onions.

Coffees are all organic and can be served with soya milk, rice milk, or skimmed milk. And they even serve a caffeine free coffee made with cereals.

There is also toast, served on white or brown bread with toppings such as nutella, butter, jam, honey, olive oil, tomato, goat cheese or mozzarella.

Sandwiches are also available on brown bread but also on rice cakes! First time I’ve seen that in these parts for sure.

Nena’s downfall for me (which is probably what makes it attractive to others) is that the back room is a children’s area and so a source of much hysterical squealing. If you’ve got kids and/or like the sound of metal being cut, then you won’t mind. And to be honest, it didn’t entirely destroy my enjoyment of La Nena thanks to a black Labrador and a young mixed something who didn’t seem to know or care what breed it was.

La Nena might not have wi-fi but it does have an ambience oft-lost in time, and is completely dog friendly. Which is preferable – in my world – to the internet. Maybe you can do something else like play with dogs.

Love this place apart from the ululating undertall banshees in the back room.


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