Barcelona Restaurants

Barcelona's restaurant scene is an ongoing adventure. Between avant-garde culinary innovation and the more rustic dishes of traditional Catalan fare, there is a fleet of brilliant classical chefs producing some of Europe's finest Mediterranean cuisine.Catalans are legendary lovers of fish, vegetables, rabbit, duck, lamb, game, a
Barcelona's restaurant scene is an ongoing adventure. Between avant-garde culinary innovation and the more rustic dishes of traditional Catalan fare, there is a fleet of brilliant classical chefs producing some of Europe's finest Mediterranean cuisine.Catalans are legen
Barcelona's restaurant scene is an ongoing adventure. Between avant-garde culinary innovation and the more rustic dishes

Barcelona's restaurant scene is an ongoing adventure. Between avant-garde culinary innovation and the more rustic dishes of traditional Catalan fare, there is a fleet of brilliant classical chefs producing some of Europe's finest Mediterranean cuisine.

Catalans are legendary lovers of fish, vegetables, rabbit, duck, lamb, game, and natural ingredients from the Pyrenees or the Mediterranean. The mar i muntanya (literally, "sea and mountain"—that is, surf and turf) is a standard. Combining salty and sweet tastes—a Moorish legacy—is another common theme.

The Mediterranean diet—based on olive oil, seafood, fibrous vegetables, onions, garlic, and red wine—is at home in Barcelona, embellished by Catalonia's four basic sauces: allioli (whipped garlic and olive oil), romesco (almonds, nyora peppers, hazelnuts, tomato, garlic, and olive oil), sofregit (fried onion, tomato, and garlic), and samfaina (a ratatouille-like vegetable mixture).

Typical entrées include faves a la catalana (a broad-bean stew), arròs caldós (a rice dish more typical of Catalonia than paella, often made with lobster), and espinacas a la catalana (spinach cooked with oil, garlic, pine nuts, raisins and cured ham). Toasted bread is often doused with olive oil and rubbed with squeezed tomato to make pa amb tomàquet—delicious on its own or as a side order.

Beware of the advice of hotel concierges and taxi drivers, who have been known to falsely warn that the place you are going is either closed or no good anymore, and to instead recommend places where they get kickbacks.

Aside from restaurants, Barcelona is brimming with bars and cafés, the latter of which can serve as an outdoor meeting spot or a place to socialize and enjoy a cocktail. Be advised that the sidewalk cafés along La Rambla are noisy, dusty, overpriced, and exposed to pickpockets.

Catalan wines from the nearby Penedès region, especially the local méthode champenoise (sparkling white wine, known in Catalonia as cava), pairs perfectly with regional cuisine. Meanwhile, winemakers from the Priorat, Montsant, Empordà, and Costers del Segre regions are producing some of Spain's most exciting new wines.

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  • 1. Au Port de la Lune

    $ | Eixample | French

    The stereotypical decor of this French bistro (think Serge Gainsbourg photos) verges on parody, but the authentic food is no joke. "There's...Read More

  • 2. Bardeni

    $$ | Eixample | Spanish

    This "meat bar" doesn't take reservations; instead it offers a walk-in-and-graze tapas menu of items like steak tartare and aged filet mignon...Read More

  • 3. Blue Spot

    $$ | Barceloneta | Mediterranean

    An architect-designed dining room with jaw-dropping views (up and down the coast, in this case) is all too often a predictor of humdrum cooking...Read More

  • 4. Ca l'Isidre

    $$$$ | El Raval | Spanish

    A throwback to an age before foams and food science took over the gastronomic world, this restaurant has elevated simplicity to the level of...Read More

  • 5. Can Solé

    $$$ | Barceloneta | Seafood

    With no sea views or touts outside to draw in diners, Can Solé has to rely on its reputation as one of Barceloneta's best options for seafood...Read More

  • 6. Céleri

    $$$ | Sant Gervasi | Mediterranean

    When a fine dining chef with as many Michelin stars on his resume as Xavier Pellicer decided that what he really wanted to do was cook vegetables...Read More

  • 7. Cinc Sentits

    $$$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    Obsessively local, scrupulously sourced, and masterfully cooked, the dishes of Catalan-Canadian chef Jordi Artal put the spotlight on the region...Read More

  • 8. Coure

    $$$ | Sant Gervasi | Mediterranean

    Cuina d'autor is Catalan for creative or original cooking, and that is exactly what you get in this smart subterranean space on the intimate...Read More

  • 9. Disfrutar

    $$$$ | Eixample | Eclectic

    Three former head chefs from the now-closed "World's Best Restaurant" elBulli have combined their considerable talents to create this roller...Read More

  • 10. El Asador de Aranda

    $$$ | Tibidabo | Spanish

    It's a hike to get to this immense palace a few minutes' walk above the Avenida Tibidabo train station—but it's worth it. The kitchen, featuring...Read More

  • 11. El Celler de Can Roca

    $$$$ | Spanish

    Diners who can plan far enough ahead to deal with the waiting list for tables at this multiple-time winner of Restaurant magazine's World...Read More

  • 12. El Vaso de Oro

    $ | Barceloneta | Spanish

    A favorite with gourmands, this often overcrowded little counter serves some of the best beer and tapas in town. The house-brewed artisanal...Read More

  • 13. espai Kru

    $$$ | Poble Sec | Eclectic

    What happens when one of Barcelona's most venerable seafood restaurants joins the creative cooking revolution? The answers can be found at espai...Read More

  • 14. Gresca

    $$$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    Chef-owner Rafa Peña applies the skills he honed in the world's most celebrated kitchens in this phenomenally good-value restaurant and its...Read More

  • 15. Hisop

    $$$ | Sant Gervasi | Spanish

    The minimalist interior design of Oriol Ivern's small restaurant is undistinguished, but his cooking is stellar. This is budget-conscious fine...Read More

  • 16. La Cova Fumada

    $ | Barceloneta | Spanish

    There's no glitz, no glamour, and not even a sign on the wall, but the battered wooden doors of this old, family-owned tavern hide a tapas bar...Read More

  • 17. La Mar Salada

    $$ | Barceloneta | Seafood

    This restaurant stands out on a street of seafood specialists by offering creative twists on classic dishes at rock-bottom prices. Traditional...Read More

  • 18. La Pastisseria

    $ | Eixample | Bakery

    This stylish pastisseria looks more like a designer jewelry store than a bakery. Rows of world-class cakes and pastries gleam temptingly in...Read More

  • 19. Lasarte

    $$$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    Martin Berasategui, one of San Sebastián's corps of master chefs, placed his Barcelona kitchen in the capable hands of Paolo Casagrande in 2006...Read More

  • 20. Manairó

    $$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    A manairó is a mysterious Pyrenean elf, and Jordi Herrera may be the culinary version; his ingenious meat-cooking methods—such as filet mignon...Read More

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