Casa Leopoldo is a restaurant that was founded more than eighty years ago in the heart of Barcelona, in the El Raval neighbourhood.
More than a restaurant, it has been and still is a place where the culture of the city and country has gathered. It is a space that has remained untouched, a reflection of a city and generations that, despite having changed in styles, personalities and thoughts, has continued to be a meeting place for artists and famous and influential personalities like Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Manel Serrat, Joan Colom, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Lola Flores, Terenci Moix, Josep Maria Pou, Núriaa Espert, Joan Marsé, Joan de Sagarra, Maruja Torres, Salvador Távora, Eduardo Mendoza, Domenèc Reixach, and people from the world of bullfighting like José Tomás, Paquirri and Paco March, among others.
￼Elvira and Leopoldo in the doorway of Casa Leopoldo
Leopoldo Gil, standing to the right, in July 1936
The Rosa Gil family lived well in the town of Puerto Mingalgo, in the Bajo Mestral, logging until one day there weren’t any trees left and they had to leave in search of a better future. That is how the grandfather, Leopoldo, from the region of Teruel, arrived in Barcelona with his family at 12 years old in a wool cart and was fascinated by the city. They moved into shacks, with several families living on one floor – warm floors where some went to work while others rested in the same bed.
Leopoldo was a railway worker affiliated with the CNT but as a group they decided that the situation was unsustainable and in 1929 they founded the legendary Casa Leopoldo, a winery on Carrer de l’Aurora.
Years later, in July 1936 (two weeks before the start of the Spanish Civil War) they moved to the Carrer de Sant Rafael, where the restaurant is still located today. Leopoldo, Rosa’s grandfather, was a strong man, but he was bitter with life. Nevertheless, he adored his mother, grandmother Tomasa, with all his soul, and he would do anything he could to see her happy. He found his own happiness in a young woman from his neighbourhood. A young, capricious and fiery love for a dancer and singer. Tomasa put a stop to it: this girl is not the one for you, Leopoldo. And he relented, abandoning his own will to comply with that of his mother and later marrying Elvira Sancho Julián, the grandmother of Rosa Gil and daughter of Carmen Pastor Artero de Castellón and Enrique García Vidal San Fernando de Henares. Elvira worked as a maid in the house of the wealthy politician Francesc Cambó.
Rosa Gil and Leopoldo
The Gil family in the doorway of Casa Leopoldo