2015 update: The pizzas at Ninones are still pretty good but the service has become progressively worse over recent years. Bear that in mind before you visit. And the ‘no truly great pizzeria in Barcelona’ line below is no longer true. Give N.A.P a try.
A quick mention of a local favourite.
Pizzeria Ninones isn’t the greatest pizzeria in Barcelona. Indeed, in my opinion, there isn’t a truly great pizzeria in Barcelona. I’ve lived in Italy, so I’ve probably got unfairly high expectations, but the best I’ve found here has been what I’d class as merely “very good”. I would be delighted if someone could recommend to me somewhere better than La Bella Napoli on the appropriately named C/Margarit, 12, in Poble Sec because, imperfect as it is, that’s the current standard-setter.
Poble Sec’s not on my doorstep though. The Hospital de Sant Pau, however, is. The view from my apartment, mercifully, is of the original modernista masterpiece. It is currently getting a facelift before beginning a new life as a combination of offices, labs and tourist attraction/world heritage site.
The actual hospital functions have been transferred to the ‘new’ Hospital de Sant Pau. If monstrous carbuncles had monstrous carbuncles, they’d look like this: a soulless cement and glass block, rammed violently up the rear of one of Barcelona’s most beautiful buildings. This landmark-defacing, corrupt-contract built, abominably ugly lump hangs off the back of Domènech i Montaner’s masterpiece like a bleached haemorrhoid and is already semi-permanently hung with scaffolding as it falls apart before its even fully operational.
I’m not a fan. You can probably tell.
But while the new building may be the biggest crime against architecture since the Porcioles era, a hospital is somewhere a lot of people end up having to visit for whatever reason and the massive influx of new custom has caused a sprouting of new shops and restaurants around the newly refurbished and renamed Metro stop of Guinardó-Hospital de Sant Pau. (The metro stop next to the entrance to the old hospital is now renamed, somewhat confusingly, Sant Pau – Dos de Maig).
Pizzeria Ninones is right next to the metro exit. It sits on a corner and has two distinct entrances.
It’s got a real wood oven, which is half the battle with pizzas, and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Decent quality, hand-thrown dough is adorned with the usual choice of toppings and shovelled into the fire before being shovelled into the customers.
Prices are around €9 for pizzas and there’s a good-value lunchtime menu at around €10.50 which offers a reduced range of pizzas but includes a starter, dessert and drink. You can also get the pizzas to take away.
Queues here in the evenings can be ridiculous and waiting times are also geologically slow at busy periods. Go early — in fact be there when they open if you want to go on Fridays or Saturdays. I’ve read people complaining on-line about burned pizzas but that’s never happened to me.
The staff are friendly, the pizzas are decent and if you’re visiting someone in hospital but need to get out to eat, I highly recommended it. It’s not worth a special trip but if you’re in the area, Pizzeria Ninones is worth knowing about.