Quality coffee, beastly brunch, lunch and dinner options, not to mention the home-brewed craft beers, Caravelle is your go-to gastro spot at any time of day.
It’s no secret that Caravelle is one of my absolute favourite foodie spots in the Barcelona and you have no doubt already heard me singing their praises over the last year or two.
I love how they always seem to be evolving, constantly striving to do more, to exceed expectations and homemake every element of each dish.
And I get the impression that they do all of this for themselves as much as for their customers. This is not merely a business venture, but a homely hub of creativity, a place of culinary worship, a gastronomic love affair.
The space is bright, crisp and contemporary, the kind of informal place where you can hang out at at any time of the day, whether it’s for brunch with your partner, coffee with your laptop or dinner with friends and a few home-brewed craft beers.
I don’t want to go as far as saying it’s a one-off in Barcelona, there are definitely similar venues around the city, but to me it’s the one that stands out as the most authentic. Yes it’s modern and hip and very “now”, but it remains completely unpretentious.
Homemade everything, capitalising on quality, locally-sourced ingredients…
Staying true to their motto – “we smoke, cure, brew, bottle, pickle” – Caravelle’s culinary offerings now include hearty brunch dishes and creative lunch and dinner options.
But it’s the way they approach each dish and each ingredient with such attention to detail that sets this place apart.
They don’t need to make their own pickles and brioche buns for their burgers, but they do. They don’t need to smoke their own meats and cure their own sausages, but they do. Even the hot sauces are perfected in-house!
“If we can make it, we don’t buy it!” they say. And I imagine they must have to work around the clock to make it happen.
It’s this “we’ll make our own” approach and commitment to going that little bit further to create special dishes that has won the hearts of Barcelona’s food lovers, especially mine, over the last few years.
A meal for carousers, brunch has become an essential element of life in Barcelona and it’s this time of the day that Caravelle shines brightest.
Served daily, you can wake up gently with home-toasted muesli and granola pepped up with yoghurt, berries and almonds, or go all out with hearty corn fritters lavished with perfectly poached eggs, hunks of avocado, chipotle salsa and a dollop of freshly made rocket pesto.
But order the huevos rancheros – light and fluffy and hearty and toasted and zesty – and you’ll soon understand why Caravelle is the place where even your wildest brunch dreams can come true.
Dulce brunch flavours such as the coconut French toast with strawberries and ice-cream also demonstrate the team’s desire to further elevate the classics.
They must spend a very large percentage of their time standing around the kitchen, stroking their chins and asking, “How can we make this dish even better?”.
Dishes to die for, lunch at Caravelle is all about hearty sandwiches filled with scintillating ingredients like slow-cooked pork belly with cheese, mustard and homemade pickles, and the Nashville fried chicken sandwich with homemade crunchy jalapeño slaw and hand-cut fries.
You can also enjoy lusty salads like the roast pumpkin and goat’s cheese salad.
Quality ingredients, inspired combinations.
Caravelle’s tacos are have garnered a somewhat legendary reputation over the last couple of years.
Like little plates of art, these colourful bundles of joy consist of crispy fried fish (my favourite), house-smoked meats, homemade pickles, succulent beef or rotisserie chicken.
The burgers are also feats of mastery, with homemade brioche buns stacked with double patties, bacon, cheddar, homemade pickles and a few gorgeous gluggs of the house special hot sauce.
Proper cakes, crumbles and muffins baked and served with homemade ice-cream – yep, they make that too! – mean you can always get a slice of home-baked beauty in the centre of Barcelona.
Pair with their proper “third-wave” coffee (more on that after) and you’ll soon melt like milk and honey.
As well as perfecting their pickling, baking, curing and smoking skills, Team Caravelle has recently expanded into brewing. I really don’t know where they find the energy!
They’ve had two of their own easy drinking craft beers for a while now and many of us have been wooed by the balanced beauty of the Galactic Pale Ale and Mixtape Lager, both of which draw on hops from Australia and New Zealand to attain a unique character.
Now, having transformed an old storage space into a modern brewery, they will be expanding their range of nuanced beers on-site.
No gimmicks and no trend-chasing, Caravelle’s aim is to brew balanced and drinkable beers that work well with their food.
“If you can’t drink three bottles without getting sick of it, then we won’t brew it,” cofounder Zim tells me.
Like the food, the new home-brewed beers are unpretentious and show restraint, suitable for a few swigs with friends or whilst demolishing a beastly burger. As Zim so eloquently surmised, “You don’t have to smash people over the head with bitterness to show them what hops are all about.”
The Galactic Pale Ale and Mixtape Lager “gateway beers” will now be brewed in-house and complimented by a new range, including the Peachy Keen golden ale, a southern hopped IPA called Midnight Run IPA, and the classic American Royal IPA.
Like I said: constant evolution!
Sourced sustainably from the legendary Barcelona roasters at Nomad Coffee, Caravelle’s beautifully crafted coffee is perfected by passionate baristas on a stunning La Marzocco Linea semi-automatic coffee machine. Unlike 99% of Barcelona’s coffee, it’s all made with fresh milk that’s delivered daily from a farm just 30km outside the city.
Whether it’s a perfectly pulled espresso, an artistic latte, single-origin filter coffee or refreshing cold brew, there’s no better place to while away an afternoon and revive your mind, body and soul
*Photos by Ben Holbrook and Caravelle