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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Bar Cañete

    $$$ | El Raval | Spanish

    A superb tapas and platillos (small plates) emporium, this spot is just around the corner from the Liceu opera house. The long bar overlooking...Read More

  • 4. Ca l'Estevet

    $$ | El Raval | Spanish

    This restaurant has been serving up old-school Catalan cuisine to local and loyal customers since 1940 (and under a different name for 50 years...Read More

  • 5. Cera 23

    $$ | El Raval | Spanish

    Top pick among a crop of modern restaurants putting the razzle back into the run-down Raval, Cera 23 offers a winning combination of great service...Read More

  • 6. Dos Palillos

    $$$$ | El Raval | Eclectic

    After 10 years as the chief cook and favored disciple of pioneering chef Ferran Adrià, Albert Raurich opened this outstanding Asian-fusion restaurant...Read More

  • 7. En Ville

    $$ | El Raval | French

    With pan-Mediterranean cuisine and reasonable prices, this attractive bistro 100 yards west of the Rambla in the MACBA section of El Raval is...Read More

  • 8. Quimet & Quimet

    $ | Poble Sec | Spanish

    A foodie haunt, this tiny tapas place is hugely popular with locals and in-the-know visitors alike; if you show up too late, you might not be...Read More

  • 9. Tickets

    $$$ | Poble Sec | Spanish

    Ferran and Albert Adrià of former "World's Best Restaurant" elBulli fame are the ringleaders behind this circus-themed big top of creative tapas...Read More

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