Federal Cafe Barcelona

Federal Cafe Barcelona

Federal Cafe is a new lunch spot – restaurant – bar which has just opened this week and is located on Calle Parlament 39, xaflán with Comte Borrell, very close to the old Sant Antoni market building. Named after a small town in Australia, the two Australians that run this new place should seem familiar, being part and parcel of Papabubble. Three floors of absolute heaven and culinary bliss. The windows are completely open, so one can sit and comfortably watch the street. The structure has been organized so that cross currents of breeze sweep through each floor, allowing for a very agreeable temperature, even in the heat. Every detail has tender, loving care, from the bouquets of raspberries boughs placed in jugs to the open-plan coffee area to the recycled napkins. There are several newspapers and magazines available, even the New Yorker!

Federal Cafe

Federal Cafe

Federal Cafe Barcelona

Federal Cafe Barcelona

Federal Cafe opens up like a storybook or a layer cake, each level holding new visual impact and quiet corners. The second floor is more calm, away from the bustle of the main activity. The colour palette is easy on the eye, with slashes of red to add a dash of excitement. This is the perfect place to have a morning read over coffee and the lovely “breakfast” menu. I ordered fruit toast with ricotta and truffle honey. The pieces of dried fruit in the bread were enormous, the ricotta was a perfect state of fluffy creaminess and the truffle honey added just the right dose of smoky, woody sweetness. Yes, there are cupcakes, (complete disaster to have cupcakes available right beside home), but I decided to try something else for a change.

Federal Cafe Barcelona

Federal Cafe Barcelona

Federal Cafe’s secret lies right at the top, where a rooftop terrace awaits to be filled with fun and laughter. A tiny oasis right in the middle of the city. A careful selection of plants and small trees share the space with several tables. Speakers add musical ambiance and the light is perfect. This is the perfect space for brunch in Barcelona.

How soon is too soon to go back? There is only one problem… Federal Cafe lies directly between my house and the gym, which I can already foresee will be a problem!

Opening Times:

Monday to Thurs – 08:00 to 23:00

Friday – 08:00 to 01:00

Saturday – 09:00 to 01:00

Sunday – 9:00 to 17:30

Update 04/10/2014

Since Tommy and Crick sold Federal Cafe, things just haven’t been the same. I went back twice and the service was sloppy and the food wasn’t as good as before. You can skip this and try other options. It’s always full of obnoxious people, the essence of Federal is now gone.

28 replies
  1. Alexandra
    Alexandra says:

    Just the place I was looking for! Lovely place to go alone, with friends,
    …… you feel relaxed , the menu is just perfect as you can find exactly
    what you need at any time. Great atmosphere , lovely terrace( when the word
    spreads it will be difficult to find a table ..!!!) .I enjoyed eating Tommy’s
    carrot cake with all that cream topping and the cappuccino.
    Congratulations to the owners. Good luck !

  2. sara
    sara says:

    just discovered your blog through fabulous baking co facebook, i also live in sant antoni area, love cupcakes and have been to federal many times already and i’m convinced this is just the beggining of the “barrio’s” awakening, i’ll try and visit other places that sound interesting from your blog. keep up the good work!

  3. Rose Sedó Alonso
    Rose Sedó Alonso says:

    Vera, your “backstory” is really interesting, kind of similar to mine: both my parents are also from Spain but I was born and raised in New Jersey. I moved to Barcelona 9 years ago and am bilingual too :)

    I don’t live too close to Sant Antoni but when I’m in the neighborhood I will have to try this place! I miss cupcakes!

  4. Jose
    Jose says:

    Sí, el sitio es encantador. Una pena que todo lo empaña la atención altiva y de desdén de los camareros. Pensé que sería un mal día que tenían, pero he vuelto para darle una segunda y tercera oportunidad, y cada vez que he ido me han tratado como si les debiera algo..

  5. Brian
    Brian says:


    I recently moved to Sant Antoni and was so relieved to discover Federal. Going for coffee was getting very traumatic with burnt coffee, boiled milk and UHT milk, so it’s wonderful to finally find a place that knows what they’re doing. And of course, the food is fantastic too.

    Maybe Sant Antoni isn’t so bad after all! What else would you recommend in the barrio?


    • Vera Ciria
      Vera Ciria says:

      Hey Brian.

      I can imagine you had a hard time finding a good coffee! Federal is great and I probably go there way more than I should! The Sant Antoni neighbourhood is great as it connects directly to Poble Sec and Raval both filled with great bars and restaurants. Right here in the “barrio” you should check out Bar Jacinta which is on Calle Tamarit with Calle Comte Borrell. I would suggest arriving right at 19:00 when they open as that’s the only way to get a table on the street terrace. Don’t be put off by the grotty appearance. The wines are excellent, the place is always popping and there is a lovely selection of tapas from Asturias. On the other corner, actually on Calle Comte Borrell is Bar Ramon. This is a great rocker bar, great ambiance. The people behind the bar are not all that friendly, but the tapas are great.

      I’m starting to think that maybe I should do a Sant Antoni week on my blog to show all the different things that are in this neighbourhood!

      If you try these two out, just let me know what you think.

  6. Paco
    Paco says:

    Respecto al comentario de José, tengo que decirte que no eres el unico :-(. Es una pena que un lugar tan original y especial no tenga la armonía con su personal. Tambien le he dado mas de una oportunidad para ver si mejoraba la atención de los camareros pero el común denominador es una arrogancia irónica no necesaria en este tipo de lugares. También poseo un negocio y mi personal sabe que una excelente atención al cliente da como resultado un usuario contento y un cliente que vuelve una y otra vez. Sonrisa, amabilidad y cortesía son actitudes que los camareros deberían aplicar, las cuales, por cierto, no cuestan nada.
    Gracias a este maravilloso blog por darnos la oportunidad de conocer cosas nuevas y expresarnos al respecto.

    • Vera Ciria
      Vera Ciria says:


      Me sabe mal que ya sois dos que encuentra un aspecto negativo en los camareros del Federal. Nunca he tenido este problema allí, pero entiendo tu postura y más si tienes un negocio y sabes que quieres de tu personal en cuanto al trato del público.
      Por otro lado, muchas gracias por tu comentario sobre mi blog, me alegra mucho poder exponer sitios y cosas nuevas para probar. Y sobre todo encantada que la gente pueda expresar lo que siente sobre sus experiencias.

  7. Brian
    Brian says:

    Hey Vera

    thanks for the tips! Will definitely check them out. I have a soft spot for Bar Radio on the corner of Viladomat and Sepulveda. Nice people working there with a pretty good coffee by Spanish standards. And of course I’m sure you know Rekons on the corner of Urgell with Floridablanca – fantastic empanadillas.

    PS went back to Federal today and had to wait 15 minutes for a table – it’s clear proof that there is a demand for more quality places in the barrio….

    • Vera Ciria
      Vera Ciria says:

      I don’t know much about Bar Radio, I’ll have to check it out. Rekons is a usual place for weekend breakfasts and really well priced! I prefer making my own empanadillas at home though!
      Every time I pop over to Federal it’s usually full. Definitely a success! Have you been to Bar Seco en Poble Sec? That’s another really great place to check out.

  8. eddie crane
    eddie crane says:

    Paco cariño, si algo no te gusta no vuelvas tres veces. Seguramente el problema lo tienes tú. Yo por mi parte siempre he encontrado una sonrisa y un trato muy correcto, diría más, mucho mejor que en la mayoria de sitios a los que suelo ir. Pienso que eres un poco prejuicioso y haz una cosa, vuelve un dia soleado, pídete un café y una tarta y ya verás que a gusto te encuentras.

  9. Carla
    Carla says:

    Try LA PUBILLA , you will love it!
    Fresh , market catalan food , they serve daily menu for 12 euros
    and gorgeous “esmorzars de forquilla” ( catalan brunch…)

  10. Veljko
    Veljko says:

    In the sunny morning, just before leaving Barcelona I enjoyed a cup of coffee in
    the Federal. Really enjoyed. Nice and friendly place to observe other people*s habits and talk I didn*t understand. And there was a woman with a baby drinking
    her capuccino on the street while waitor kept her company. Very relaxing and professional. Congratulatons to designer and staff. Ola.

  11. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Hi Vera,

    Nice post – love this place, especially the coffee. Excellent photos also.

    Your blog looks very informative and interesting – I’ve subscribed! Keep up the good work.


  12. Maite
    Maite says:

    Si hay algo que me gusta de Barcelona es que, aunque no lo parezca, sigue teniendo ese saber hacer de pequeña ciudad. Cadenas que en otras urbes triunfan en nuestra ciudad tienen que cerrar. El precio, pero sobretodo el trato, es algo a lo que las personas de Barcelona aún le dan mucha importancia. A lo moderno también, sí; pero no hay tanto moderno sin maneras para aguantar tanto local cool. O se ponen las manos a la obra y atienden a la gente como hace falta o, en algunos momentos, has echado del local a comisarios de exposiciones de grandes museos con un “puerta!” ( 21-11-11, un descerebrado con un flequillo tipo “Algo pasa con Mary”). Sinceramente, eso, en Barcelona, y demos gracias a quién se las quiera atribuir, sucede en muy pocos establecimientos. Esperemos que se perpetúe.


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