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. Can Solé

    $$$ | Barceloneta | Seafood

    With no sea views or touts outside to draw in diners, Can Solé has to rely on its reputation as one of Barceloneta's best options for seafood...Read More

  • 2. El Asador de Aranda

    $$$ | Tibidabo | Spanish

    It's a hike to get to this immense palace a few minutes' walk above the Avenida Tibidabo train station—but it's worth it. The kitchen, featuring...Read More

  • 3. El Vaso de Oro

    $ | Barceloneta | Spanish

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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 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. Els Pescadors

    $$$ | Port Olímpic | Seafood

    Northeast of the Port Olímpic, in the newly fashionable Poblenou neighborhood, this handsome late-19th-century dining room has a lovely terrace...Read More

  • 10. Els Quatre Gats

    $$ | Barri Gòtic | Spanish

    The Four Cats" was founded in 1897 by a quartet of Modernista artists—the bohemians of their day—whose work still graces the walls. The restaurant...Read More

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  • 11. La Palma

    $ | Barri Gòtic | Café

    Behind the Plaça Sant Jaume's ajuntament (city hall), toward the post office, sits this cozy and ancient café. An old favorite of 20th-century...Read More

  • 12. Mundial Bar

    $$ | Born-Ribera | Spanish

    Opened in 1925 and still decorated with murals of old-time boxers, Mundial no longer packs the punch of years gone by when it served some of...Read More

  • 13. Casa Calvet

    $$$$ | Eixample | Spanish

    It's hard to pass up the opportunity to break bread in a Gaudí-designed building. Completed in 1900, the Art Nouveau Casa Calvet includes a...Read More

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