Sometimes, you have the opportunity to visit a place which just gives you good vibes. You don’t know why but you feel at home and content, and when you leave you feel as though you’ve enjoyed a unique experience that was worth the visit. This, in reduced terms, is the taste the Federal Café leaves in your mouth.
The Federal Café (Parlament, 39) is a standard of this well-known street in Sant Antoni, and has earned a well-deserved fame due to its delicious culinary offer in a pleasant setting. It enjoys a deserved reputation as one of the most popular places in Barcelona to go for brunch during the weekend, as well as for breakfast, lunch or dinner any day of the week. You can also go for a coffee at any point during the day, or even to take your laptop and work, given that it’s a calm, comfortable space.
Loved by many and hated by a few, the Federal Café is not a place that will leave you indifferent. Despite having an aura of trendiness to it, it’s not exclusively for hipsters, Apple fans and Instagrammers at all.
Right from the start, the Federal Café invites you to come in thanks to a well cared for, minimalist Nordic aesthetic, with wooden furnishings and huge French windows that allow the light to come in and make it incredibly cosy. As a curiosity, these windows are closed in winter, but when the good weather arrives they’re turned into impromptu tables for two, very popular among clients.
The venue is large and divided into two floors, as well as an upstairs terrace area. On the ground floor, there’s a giant table which gives you the option of sharing your lunch with whoever else joins you. I highly recommend heading up the stairs to check out in detail each of the corners on offer, and ending up in the calm terrace which you’ll find at the top. If it’s a nice day and you’re lucky enough to find a table, the Federal Café’s terrace is without a doubt one of the best places in Barcelona to enjoy a brunch.
Federal Café’s brunch: the star of the menu
Despite the fact that you can have breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner any day of the week at the Federal Café, its speciality is the brunch. It offers a very wide, varied menu, with fresh, organic ingredients and extremely tasty combinations that can be accompanied with a plethora of natural fruit and vegetable juices that will revitalise you in a matter of minutes.
For the brunch, you can try anything from bowls of cereals and the traditional croissants, to huge slices of toast combined with all the ingredients you can imagine, passing via hamburgers and eggs prepared in a thousand and one ways (scrambled, fried, poached, etc.). As a dressing, go for a fruit or vegetable shake or traditional cocktails, such as Bloody Maries or Buck’s Fizz.
On the lunch and dinner menu, you’ll find everything from tapas to bite at and salads as starters, as well as sandwiches, quiches and original hamburgers which will tempt any tastes.
As if this weren’t enough, at any time of day you can come to enjoy a creamy coffee and taste the homemade puddings in the form of tarts, muffins and cupcakes that line the glass windows, ready to get any visitor’s saliva going.
The Federal Café is an excellent place to go with friends or your partner to enjoy a brunch any weekend, in a youthful, relaxed atmosphere. That said, it’s a good idea to go early, as they don’t take reservations and it’s very popular.
The price-quality ratio feels very correct to me. Without being somewhere incredibly cheap, they offer main courses and hamburgers between 6 – 10 euros for the brunch, although an interesting factor is that many of them can be customised by adding more ingredients which, logically, make the dish more expensive. But for €12-15, you can enjoy a really decent brunch with a main and a drink. If you add coffees, croissants or a homemade dessert, the bill can go up to €20-25 euros per head.
Personally, things I really liked about the Federal Café include the atmosphere, the decoration and the good feeling it has about it. Obviously, I’d also include the food. It’s somewhere that makes me feel happy and that’s why I’ve made the pilgrimage there on various occasions.
Its popularity and friendly atmosphere do have a disadvantage: it’s getting more and more expensive and complicated to find a table. Also, it’s not exactly a hidden secret, and its proximity to the centre has made it somewhere which more and more tourists are discovering.
Despite this, it’s one of the stylish places to go on c/Parlament, a must for any brunch lover in Barcelona, and without a doubt somewhere you should visit at least once… Once or a million times!
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