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, 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

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

  • 2. Bar Cañete

    $$ | El Raval

    This spot just around the corner from the Liceu opera house is one of Barcelona's best tapas restaurants, with a long bar overlooking the burners...Read More

  • 3. Bar del Pla

    $ | Born-Ribera

    Specializing in Catalan bar food and local, organic, biodynamic, and natural wine, this sometimes-rowdy bar may not look like much from the outside but the...Read More

  • 4. Bar Mut

    $$$ | Eixample Dreta

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

  • 5. Benzina

    $$ | Sant Antoni

    Named for the car-mechanic shop that once stood here, Benzina blends industrial-chic elements with splashes of color and excellent music (on vinyl, naturally) to create...Read More

  • 6. Besta

    $$ | Eixample

    The atmosphere is relaxed but sophisticated and the constantly changing menu is a melting pot of seasonal produce from the Spanish regions of Catalonia and...Read More

  • 7. Betlem

    $$ | Eixample

    Set In a charming Moderniste space dating back to 1892, this bar hits the perfect balance of quality, price, service, and ambiance. The menu mixes...Read More

  • 8. Bodega La Puntual

    $$ | Born-Ribera

    Just down the road from the Picasso Museum, Bodega La Puntual might look like a tourist trap, but it's a classic, specializing in hearty portions...Read More

  • 9. Caelis

    $$$$ | Barri Gòtic

    This restaurant takes contemporary decor and fine-dining style and adds the pizzazz of open-kitchen cooking. It's known for its decadent tastings menus, and the star...Read More

  • 10. Cal Pep

    $$ | Born-Ribera

    It's has been in a permanent feeding frenzy for more than 30 years, intensified by hordes of tourists, but this loud, hectic bar manages to...Read More

  • 11. Cruix

    $$$ | Eixample

    With an eight-course tasting menu priced at just €35, Cruix is the fine-dining restaurant for people who don't want to spend 200 euros on a...Read More

  • 12. DeLaCrem

    $ | Eixample

    For a cool pick-me-up on a hot Barcelona afternoon, you can't beat the seasonal, locally sourced, Italian-style ice cream from DeLaCrem. Expect classics like vanilla,...Read More

  • 13. Deliri

    $$$ | Eixample Esquerra

    Elevated sharing plates made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients are the bottom line at this trendy Eixample eatery. The menu features unlikely combos: artichoke salad...Read More

  • 14. Disfrutar

    $$$$ | Eixample Esquerra

    Three former head chefs from the now-closed "World's Best Restaurant" El Bulli combined their considerable talents to create this roller-coaster ride of culinary fun (the...Read More

  • 15. El 58

    $$ | Poblenou

    A long list of seasonal Mediterranean small plates, ranging from coal-grilled octopus to vegetarian risotto to traditional Catalan sausage stew, is chalked up on the...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. El Vaso de Oro

    $$ | Barceloneta

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

  • 18. Enoteca Paco Pérez

    $$$$ | Port Olímpic

    The sleek white-on-white dining room sets the tone for chef Pérez's contemporary take on Mediterranean cuisine. Tasting menus present around a dozen courses, most with...Read More

  • 19. Fonda España

    $$$ | El Raval

    The sumptuous glory of this restored late-19th-century Art Nouveau dining room has food to match, courtesy of chef German Espinosa, who spent many years working...Read More

  • 20. Gocce di Latte

    $ | Born-Ribera

    If you're looking to freshen up after a long, sweaty day of sightseeing, this artisanal Italian-owned gelateria is just the ticket. In addition to a...Read More

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