Best Pastry Shops in Barcelona
Continuing with the Best of Barcelona series curated by experts in their fields. This week we feature the pastry chef Manuela Rodríguez Viseras. I first met Manuela in Natas, a pink-walled ice cream shop in 2019. Manuela’s flavours were stealth genius. Like the salt ratio in her mint chocolate ice cream.
Currently, Manuela is the executive chef at Misión Café in Madrid. In addition to this role, she freelances worldwide and is constantly seeking out iconic pastries. Manuela studied fashion before staging in Albert Adria’s Tickets and Jordi Roca’s Rocambolesc. Then it was quickly onto paid work at Hoja Santa, Reykjavik and even an ice cream factory in Atlanta Georgia. CV aside, what sets Manuela apart is her constant striving to learn more through courses most recently one from Stanford University and a monumental curiosity.
Manuela’s Top 10 Pastry Shops in Barcelona list only a couple of the obvious favourites we know. To Manuela, an ice cream fridge set to the ideal temperature for enjoying an industrially produced ice cream sandwich is worth the detour. I can only agree with her.
I discovered Ayub 11 years ago when I was a student at Espai Sucre, I did so out of sheer curiosity for rose water desserts, I wanted to expand my taste buds, and a quick google search led me to their old space in Carrer Hospital 95 and it was love at first sight. They are now on Carrer Sant Pau as of 2016, but the pastries are still as good as back in the day. The pistachio baklava is an obvious choice, it’s probably the best I’ve had in Barcelona, but they’re not just a baklava shop, the Gulab is out of this world and so is their jalebi, but my favourite thing there is the rose coconut cham cham, it’s like a soaked cake but it’s not cake at all, it’s milk! You must try it for yourself. The carrot cake is pretty good, and you know those trendy cakes with an edible portrait and a frosted rim? They did it first. If anything, just go to Ayub, order 10 assorted pastries, write down the names, take them home, go on google and get educated.
Carrer de Sant Pau, 39
Bar Roma opened its doors in 2021. Gala and Jordi have been serving consistently delicious desserts ever since, you can tell that they are both ridiculously talented chefs and that they appreciate the finest, simplest things in life. Go for the Milanesa sandwich but stay for the flan: it’s the best in the city. They serve it with a bit of soft whipped cream on the side to balance out the sweetness. This thing is insane, if you like flan as much as I do, don’t sleep on this one.
Carrer de Valencia, 104
Tel. 932 22 99 25
Instagram Bar Roma
This is a very traditional pastry shop, there’s one in Rambla Catalunya and another one in Sants, which is the one I used to go to. You can find all the traditional things here from fruit tarts to palmiers, sable cookies, chocolate cakes and even sandwiches however, I think the right move at Casa Vives is to get a xuixo, the OG cronut. Flakey, and greasy, with crystalized sugar to scratch the roof of your mouth (just a little) and a sweet custard filling to soothe it all out!
Rambla Catalunya 58, Eixample.
Carrer de Sants 74, Sants.
Founded recently by Argentinian baker Francisco Seubert, also the head of Atelier Fuerza in Buenos aires. I adore Coush Armó! it’s small and cosy, the bread is always on point and the coffee is spectacular. I came here for the ricotta cake a couple of times previously, it’s excellent! However, my favourite bake here is the Iberian fat Media Luna. This is the croissant’s Argentinian cousin but made with pork fat instead of butter. Traditionalists have butter media lunas as well as Argentinian classics such as Alfajores and apricot crostata. They are all excellent. They have recently opened up two additional locations, in Horta and L’Eixample respectively. Run don’t walk.
Coush Armó (3 locations)
Instagram Coush Armó
C/ Sant Marc 19, Gràcia
C/ Bailèn 134, Eixample
C/ Sant Tomás 37, Horta
Forn de pa Vilamala
I love when a place is known for one thing specifically, and in this case, it’s the milhojas, crisp layers of puff pastry enrobing a rich, thick, vanilla custard cream. It is conveniently located across from Vila Viniteca, in case you want to treat yourself to something savoury from one of the best local delicatessens in the city. We took this one to go and ate it atop some rocks by the sea. Mad romantic.
Forn de pa Vilamala
Carrer de Agullers 14
The ice cream sandwich at Kings
Shout out to Kings, the convenience store in Ronda Sant Pau, for having the best temperature in the fridges for ice cream. I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but for the past few years they’ve been consistently stocking perfectly tempered ice cream sandwiches, and I’ll fight anyone who dares say that is not the right temperature. Forget about toothache here, your ice cream sandwich is ready to bite as soon as you pay, and that is something worth mentioning.
Ronda Santa Pau
Oh, Mauri! I could write you a love letter. My first time at this place was as an IED student in 2009, and I’ve been going ever since. A lot has changed in my world, but that chicken lettuce sandwich is just as good! Shredded room temp chicken gets tossed with iceberg lettuce, coated with mayo and hugged between three slices of the fluffiest white loaf bread. Untouchable, to be honest.
I’m also a big supporter of Sarah cake, made in France to honour actress Sarah Bernhardt, it consists of 3 layers of white sponge cake, lightly soaked in syrup, covered by buttercream and slivered almonds and dusted with icing sugar to finish.
Rambla de Catalunya 102, Eixample
Tel. 932 151 020
I love this place, their loaf has a thick crust and the cardamom rolls are probably the best I’ve had in Barcelona. However, the real shining star in this place is the almond tart: topped with stone fruit (in this case plums) and an almond cream that gets baked and topped with slivered almonds. The base has the perfect thickness for it to snap while also keeping the filling well confined.
Carrer de Milà i Fontanals, 9. Gracia
Shunka, (not Koy Shunka) is a very sentimental place for me. A billion years ago, when I worked in fine dining, I always found comfort at the end of a difficult month in the kitchen-facing bar at Shunka. I’d just sit there and space out for a couple of hours while watching the chefs do the finest knife work ever, but the best part after all that raw fish and torched toro was knowing that I’d end my night with a perfectly made strawberry mochi. The mochi at Shunka is stretchy enough to be fun but not rubbery or overly chewy and the filling is airy enough to feel like a cloud in your mouth but not light enough to feel cheap. I always get the strawberry one.
Carrer Sagristans, 5. Gothic.
I’ve been going to Takashi since I was a student, it was probably the first bakery in Barcelona to have mochi, matcha croissants, yuzu flavoured anything and definitely the first to do wagashi. They’ve been doing it since 1983, long before the rise of the oat milk matcha latte and the filled croissant craze that’s taken Spain by storm. The Matcha milkshake is pretty great, but I’m low-key lactose intolerant so I can’t play with that. I always get orange juice and a bad soy milk cortado.
I’m a big fan of the pecan croissant, filled with dense pecan praline and topped with a thick sugar glaze, this is what I got this time. I’m also a big fan of their kasutera cake, but they were sold out. The croissant is flakey but sturdy enough to hold a decent amount of filling, very sweet and not for the faint of heart. I highly recommend a visit to this bakery if you find yourself on this side of the Eixample.
Carrer del Comte Urgell 110
Tel. 934 53 63 83
Ochiai review on Foodie in Barcelona (April 2018)
Best Pastry Shops in Barcelona
Manuela was photographed by Neelam Khan Vela