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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Cal Xim

    $$ | Spanish

    This ordinary-looking village restaurant is the preferred dining place for many winemakers in the Penedès region, less than a one-hour drive...Read More

  • 8. Can Culleretes

    $ | La Rambla | Spanish

    Just off La Rambla in the Barri Gòtic, this family-run restaurant founded in 1786 displays tradition in both decor and culinary offerings....Read More

  • 9. Embat

    $$ | Eixample | Spanish

    An embat is a puff of wind in Catalan, and this little bistro is a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stuffy Eixample. The highly affordable...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Etapes

    $$ | Eixample | Spanish

    By concentrating on sophisticated execution rather than groundbreaking creativity, the family-run Etapes provides a reliably satisfying dining...Read More

  • 12. La Flauta

    $ | Eixample | Spanish

    The name of this boisterous restaurant refers to the staple flutelike baguettes used for sandwiches here. There is also an infinite number of...Read More

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