Monday, November 2, 2009

The Burger King of Barcelona

I remember when I first came here, it was almost impossible to find a burger made of beef outside the Hardrock and MacDonalds. Why? Because the Spanish thought since it was called a hamburger, it must be made of ham, resulting in a paddy of ground pork that tasted like an undercooked sausage with a fried egg, lettuce and mayonnaise on top. And chances are if you go to a normal Spanish restaurant, this is what you will get.

But over the last seven years, there's also been, if not quite a boom, then a substantial increase of places serving a traditional hamburger, some even going so far as to offer authentic and unique twists on the sole meal most Spanish think Americans live on.

Most of the English Pubs offer some version of a beef paddy. They're normally American size (half a pound) and expensive.  There is also Fosters of Hollywood, which is an American theme restaurant that offers free refills on fountain sodas. But beyond these traditional places, there are also a two smaller restaurants that deserve a mention.

Pim Pam Burger in el Borne has a vocal and loyal following. In fact, many say it's the best burger in town, so much so that they are willing to put up with a staff who have adopted the Soup Nazi persona from Seinfeld and will pop a vein in anger if you disagree.  It's relatively cheap and tasty but with a bit too much mayonnaise for my liking.

My personal favorite is the Jazz Bar in Poble Sec where they jazz up (pun intended) their burgers with bean sauces, guacamole and other extras that make them unique to what else you'll find. Again, the cook is surly for even a Spaniard, making me wonder if they've been watching too much classic Saturday Night Live and John Belushi.


  1. Thanks for listing some off the beaten path spots. For the past month, I have been craving a hamburger! My local butcher does a pretty amazing job with their burgers - mostly beef, with a bit of pork. The best part is they press the ground meat into patties for you to cook at home.

  2. Been meaning to try Pim Pams for a while, I've heard rave reviews! Best burger I've tried was at Betty Fords...