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. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 9. Enoteca

    $$$$ | Port Olímpic | Spanish

    Located in the Hotel Arts, Enoteca is the Barcelona outlet for the talents of award-winning chef Paco Pérez. His creative and technically...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Sant Pau

    $$$$ | Spanish

    One of the best restaurants below the Pyrenees, this Sant Pol de Mar treasure is a scenic 40-minute train ride along the beach from Barcelona...Read More

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