Barcelona is considered to be one of the best cities in the world when it comes to good food, and it is indeed in several aspects. Choice of afternoon tea is very limited though, the El Palace Hotel Barcelona is the only venue that serves a proper traditional afternoon tea, which we’ll review below :
The El Palace Hotel Barcelona Setting ★★★★★
Located near Plaça de Catalunya, the hotel decoration is stunning, the epitome of classicism and elegance. The lobby is especially sumptuous, featuring classic furniture, mirror panels and fireplaces.
The Ritz Barcelona (now the Hotel El Palace) grand opening was in 1919, hence the splendid classic decoration. It underwent extensive renovations between 2007 and 2009, but still retains the grandeur of a Ritz establishment.
I find this century old style much more fitting to an afternoon tea than modern decorations. In that regard, the El Palace is the polar opposite of the Mandarin Oriental.
The Bar 19/Nineteen ★★★★★
Guests can enjoy the afternoon tea in the Bar 19/Nineteen which is adjacent to the lobby, see pictures 6-8 below. I assume it may be possible to request service in the lobby but I like having my tea on a proper table, it’s much better for the back.
The Rooftop ★★★★★
After the afternoon tea, I would suggest going to the rooftop terrace to grab a cocktail, the view of Barcelona is well worth it ! Too bad the tea is not served up there, it would be smashing.
In the unlikely event that you have enough appetite, it is possible to have dinner there, the view and the restaurant are visible in the first two pictures below.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆
There is a good selection of loose leaf teas from Damann Frères, with several Black, Wulong and Green teas as well as a few infusions such as Rooibos. In total, that’s a total of 13 teas to choose from, quite nice despite the absence of white teas (my favourite kind).
Teas were brewed at the proper temperature and the staff was always making sure we had enough to drink. Guests can also chose to order coffee, the Spanish way!
The Savouries ★★★☆☆
Four savouries : “Citrus scented smoked salmon & cream cheese”, “Egg & watercress with wasabi mayonnaise”, “Roasted chicken with mustard mayonnaise & honey” and “Arugula, tomato, cucumber, pesto & tapenade”.
I appreciate the attempt at making the savouries feel a bit more exotic but I’m afraid some of these may be an acquired taste, such as the egg & watercress sandwich. The flavour of the wasabi mayonnaise, at least in such proportions, is just too strong to be enjoyed with tea.
Still, the “Citrus scented smoked salmon & cream cheese” was a delight, might even be the best salmon sandwich I ever had.
The Scones ★★★★★
Despite their appearance, these are not muffins but deliciously moist scones coated with brown sugar. It makes the scone taste so good, you may even consider eating it as such, without any jam or cream.
The plain and fruit scones are served with strawberry preserve, orange marmalade and clotted cream. The latter was not as thick as it should have been, but was tasty all the same.
The Pastries ★★★★☆
Coincidentally, the best pastries are the ones with a Southern European touch. The “Gypsy’s arm cake” (a Catalonian light sponge cake shaped like a Swiss roll) and the “Cannoli”, (a cream & pistachio dessert from Sicily) are so tasty that you’ll ask for refills!
The “Macaroon” was delicious was well, crisp, soft and chewy at the same time (as a proper French macaroon should be). However the “Chocolate & cherry cake” was the main disappointment, a bit average compared to the other pastries.
The Service ★★★★☆
The staff is courteous, efficient and always available for refills or recommendations. Even better, they displayed great knowledgeability regarding the Damman Frères tea collection.
The hotel policy requires the guests to book and prepay in advance which is a pity, though the procedure is straightforward and the reservation team highly responsive.
Below is a video detailing the full contents of the Afternoon Tea, you’ll see that the staff speaks great English:
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★☆
As far as I’m aware, this is the best afternoon tea in Barcelona and despite the lack of competition, it does a great job and even surpasses a few of its British counterparts. The hotel is sumptuous, the tea selection is solid and the food delicious.
Unfortunately I cannot give it a full mark due to the prepayment policy. Even though I understand the logic behind it, full prepayment 48 hours in advance is simply too restrictive.
+: Beautiful hotel, great location
+: Stunning view from the rooftop terrace
+: Delicious Scones & Pastries
+: Efficient service
+: Excellent value for money (28€/person)
-: Must be booked 48 hours prior
-: Full prepayment
Phone number: 93 510 1130.