La Plaça: Gastro Market at El Corte Ingles


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El Corte Ingles has needed to update their top-story restaurant for awhile. Even though it matched most El Corte Ingles cafeterias all around Spain, which was boringly just called “La Cafeteria”, The department store’s Plaça Catalunya location decided to up its game on the design and concept.

After all, it IS in Barcelona.

The design is a common trend that I see in Spanish shops like Zara, Mango, El Mercat in Les Glories. If I knew more about interior design, I’d say that dark walls and ceilings with overhead lighting is a Spanish trend. Not a lot of light, but still pleasing to the eye.

La Plaça Gastro Mercat opened this summer and is a central place if you want to get a fantastic view of the city and pretty good food.


It’s got a wide selection of foods, including classics like paella, tapas, different rices, and salads — and additional Italian and Asian fare.


Just like at IKEA, you can grab a multi-tray cart and stack three trays conveniently on top of each other.


You go ahead and grab a tray, then slide it over as you browse the food sections – as most cafeterias work.


I opted for the tasty mongetes, or white beans.

LaPlaçaBarcelona10And also, the paella de mariscos (seafood paella), which honestly was pretty delicious too.


While the Gastro Mercat is a cafeteria-style setting, it also has more goodies on the dining area. It’s got a wine and oyster bar, and even an ice cream area for some after-meal sweets.

LaPlaçaBarcelona7The restaurant area conserved its 240º panoramic view of Barcelona, where you can get an eyeful of the Sagrada Familia and Tibidabo far off into the distance.

It’s got a contemporary display area on one side – nothing for sale, just a few pretty things to add to the decor.


It’s also great for families – it’s got a small play area where kids can run around and be the knuckleheads they are (I got kids, so I can say that.)


I’d recommend La Plaça Gastro Mercat for one, some, or all of the reasons:

  1. You’re in the downtown area, and you happen to be shopping in El Corte Ingles and it’s 2pm, where other restaurants are filling up fast
  2. You’re hungry, you want something to eat, and you don’t wanna wander around the center in search of a decent restaurant
  3. Your expectations of Spanish food aren’t exorbitant, but you want something good
  4. You got small kids to feed, and you want them in a chill environment so you can feel relaxed
  5. You want to get a great view of Barcelona without killing your budget


And that’s it.

Have you checked out the new La Plaça?


By Justine Ancheta

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).

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