Breakfast, lunch and tapes the way the locals like it
Folks, this is a nice find. Every seasoned tourist knows that finding good food and friendly service at decent prices in a tourist hot spot is not all that difficult. You simple get away from the main tourist drag, head for the side streets, and find a place where locals far outnumber the tourists (if any).
Bar Rafel is such a place — even though it is “hidden” in plain sight.
You’ll find this family-run tapas bar in the center of Blanes’ old town shopping district. Once you visit, you’ll understand why this is a favorite with the locals.
What to eat and drink at Bar Rafel
We often start our day with a walk to Bar Rafel, where we get a sandwich and some coffee. It is a great, relaxing start of the day
The menu here is simple. Tasty sandwiches, hot or cold. High-quality coffee. Good beer.
And of course a range of tapas, including patates braves, battered and fried calamari a la romana, and anchovies.
Homemade vermut, Cava de Blanes (a Spanish sparkling wine made in the same way as champagne).
Sangria, Tinto de Verano (a cold, wine-based drink popular in Spain. It is similar to sangria and is typically made up of 1 part of table red wine and 1 part soda, usually lemonade.)
Act like a local
A word to the wise (and to louts): If you’re the type of tourist who enjoys being loud, rambunctious, and underdressed, Bar Rafel is not the place for you. Find something more in line with your lifestyle in the seedier parts of the tourist district.
Don’t be in hurry. Though service is fast and efficient, this is not a fast-food place. Simply act like a local, and Rafel, Anna, and Carlos will take good care of you.
Bar Rafel’s building is a listed monument
The building that houses Bar Rafel has three facades: at carrer del Raval, on la plaça de la Verge Maria (where you find a nice outdoor terrace), and at carrer dels Mercaders.
La plaça de la Verge Maria (The square of the Virgin Mary) is popularly known as Plaça del peix (fish square). That is because the building that houses Bar Rafel used to be the fish market.
The fish, freshly caught, was displayed on those stone slabs in-between the columns. The fish counter carries the date 1901.
The building has been home to Bar Rafel since 1953.
Plaça de la Verge Maria
Plaça de la Verge Maria includes a small gate, with a glass-covered alcove that feature a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Blanes was a walled town in medieval times. All that remains of the old walls is this gate, which was the northern entrance to the town.