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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Moments

    $$$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    Inside the ultrasleek Hotel Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, this restaurant continues the glamour with mod white chairs and glinting goldleaf on...Read More

  • 8. Roca Moo

    $$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    In any space as stylish as Roca Moo, located in the Hotel Omm, there's a real risk of the food playing second fiddle to the surroundings. Fortunately...Read More

  • 9. Suculent

    $$ | El Raval | Spanish

    This is a strong contender for the crown of Barcelona’s best bistro, as chef Antonio Romero continues to turn out Catalan tapas and dishes that...Read More

  • 10. Tram-Tram

    $$$ | Sarrià | Spanish

    At the end of the old tram line above the village of Sarrià, this restaurant offers one of Barcelona's finest culinary stops, with Isidre Soler...Read More

  • 11. Via Veneto

    $$$$ | Sant Gervasi | Spanish

    Open since 1967, this family-owned temple of fine Catalan dining offers a contemporary menu punctuated by old-school classics. Service from...Read More

  • 12. ABaC

    $$$$ | Tibidabo | Spanish

    Jordi Cruz is a culinary phenomenon in Spain. The only choice here is between the two tasting menus, and you can trust this chef to give you...Read More

  • 13. Acontraluz

    $$ | Tres Torres | Spanish

    A stylish covered terrace in the leafy upper-Barcelona neighborhood of Tres Torres, Acontraluz has a strenuously varied market-based menu ranging...Read More

  • 14. Agut

    $$ | Barri Gòtic | Spanish

    Wainscoting and 1950s canvases are the background for the mostly Catalan crowd in this homey restaurant in the lower reaches of the Barri Gòtic...Read More

  • 15. Angle

    $$$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    ABaC may hog the spotlight, but chef Jordi Cruz's second restaurant, the relatively humble Angle, is an oft-overlooked star in its own right...Read More

  • 16. Bar Mut

    $$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    Just above Diagonal, this elegant retro space serves first-rate products ranging from wild sea bass to the best Ibérico hams. Crowded, noisy...Read More

  • 17. Blanc

    $$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    Overseen by feted chef Carme Ruscalleda, Blanc's menu couples traditional Catalan cuisine with her love of Asian cuisine, resulting in combinations...Read More

  • 18. Blau BCN

    $ | Eixample | Spanish

    Despite its name, there's nothing about Marc Roca's restaurant that will give you the blues; its stylish interior featuring black-and-white...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Cafè de l'Acadèmia

    $$ | Barri Gòtic | Spanish

    With wicker chairs, stone walls, and classical music, this place is sophisticated-rustic in style. Contemporary Mediterranean cuisine specialties...Read More

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