Catalonia, Valencia, and the Costa Blanca Restaurants

Catalonia's eateries are deservedly famous. Girona’s Celler de Can Roca was voted the best restaurant in the world in 2015 in the annual critics’ poll conducted by British magazine Restaurant, and a host of other first-rate establishments continue to offer inspiring fine dining in Catalonia, which began in the hinterlands at the legendary Hotel Empordà. You needn’t go to an internationally acclaimed restaurant, however, to dine well. Superstar chef Ferran Adrià of the former foodie paradise elBulli dines regularly at dives in Roses, where straight-up fresh fish is the day-in, day-out attraction. Northern Catalonia's Empordà region is known not only for seafood, but also for a rich assortment of inland and upland products. Beef from Girona's verdant pastureland is prized throughout Catalonia, while wild mushrooms from the Pyrenees and game from the Alberes range offer seasonal depth and breadth to menus across the region. From a simple beachside paella or llobarro (sea bass) at a chiringuito (shack) with tables on the sand, to the splendor of a meal at El Celler de Can Roca, playing culinary hopscotch through Catalonia is a good way to organize a tour.

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  • 1. Hostal Restaurant Sa Rascassa

    $$$

    Dine on fresh seafood, grilled meats, and pasta on the tranquil, tree-shaded patio or inside the rustic-chic dining room. From here, it’s a short stroll...Read More

  • 2. La Seu

    $$$

    Under co-owners Fede and Diana Cervera and chef Xicu Ramón, this distinguished restaurant in the center of town continues to reinvent and deconstruct traditional Valencian...Read More

  • 3. Pa i Raïm

    $$$

    "Bread and Grapes" in Catalan, Pa i Raïm is an excellent restaurant set in writer Josep Pla's ancestral family home in Palafrugell. It has one...Read More

  • 4. Arcs

    $$$

    Stone arches dating from the 14th-century frame the tables at this atmospheric restaurant in the historical Part Alta. The cooking is smart and modern, with...Read More

  • 5. Chiringuito

    $$$

    Spelled with a capital C, this legendary seaside spot opened in 1913 and spawned the term that’s given to similar bars dotting the Spanish coast....Read More

  • 6. El Dorado Mar

    $$$

    Around the southern end of the beach at Sant Feliu de Guixols, perched over the entrance to the harbor, this family seafood restaurant offers superb...Read More

  • 7. El Raset

    $$$

    Across the harbor, this Valencian favorite has been serving traditional cuisine with a modern twist for more than 30 years. From a terrace with views...Read More

  • 8. Hotel Restaurant Sant Pol

    $$$

    This casual restaurant with a beachfront terrace serves fresh seafood and rice dishes, plus an affordable three-course lunch menu (€16.50)....Read More

  • 9. La Costera

    $$$

    This popular restaurant focuses on fine French fare, with such specialties as house-made foie gras, fillet of turbot, and beef entrecôte. There's also a variety...Read More

  • 10. La Pepica

    $$$

    Locals regard this bustling, informal restaurant, on the promenade at El Cabanyal beach, as the best in town for seafood paella. Founded in 1898, the...Read More

  • 11. La Taberna del Gourmet

    $$$

    This wine bar and restaurant in the heart of the casco antiguo (old town) earns high marks from locals and international visitors alike. There's a...Read More

  • 12. Les Coques

    $$$

    If you have time for only one meal in the city, take it at this elegant little restaurant in the heart of historic Tarragona. The...Read More

  • 13. Patio de la Fuente

    $$$

    In an intimate little space with wicker chairs and pale mauve walls, this restaurant in the old town serves a bargain Mediterranean three-course prix fixe...Read More

  • 14. Penyora

    $$$

    Come here for good local fare and, if you order from the prix-fixe menu, a bargain. The menu lists daily-changing meat, fish, and vegetarian options,...Read More

  • 15. Restaurant Ibèric

    $$$

    This excellent pocket of authentic Costa Brava cuisine serves everything from snails to wild boar in season. Wild mushrooms scrambled with eggs or stewed with...Read More

  • 16. Restaurant Minerva

    $$$

    Dine on fresh seafood and paella on the terrace with fabulous views of the sea and the castle beyond....Read More

  • 17. Tinto Fino Ultramarino

    $$$ | Ciutat Vella

    A few steps from the Plaza de la Reina, this cozy spots blends the concept of a tapas bar with that of an Italian wine...Read More

  • 18. Vivero

    $$$

    Carved into a rocky point above Playa San Sebastiá, the multi-level Vivero is actually three distinct spaces: a casual, alfresco tapas spot up top; a...Read More

  • 19. El Torreón de Paula

    $$$ | Casco Antiguo

    This pleasant little restaurant specializes in the cuisine of Castile–Léon, especially lamb and suckling pig roasted on a spit in the asador (wood-fired oven), and...Read More

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