Hattie Lloyd 11/03/18
The Best Restaurants In Barcelona
Main image: El Vaso de Oro
Barcelona’s in a part of the world that’s always been keen to share its food.
That’s why they invented tapas.
So it would be rude not to take a committed tour of the culinary offerings of the area. As the city that spawned elBulli – the triple Michelin starred restaurant from Ferran Adrià, awarded World’s Best Restaurant a record five times – its reputation for traditional tapas is all but matched by its revolutionary experiments in avant-garde cuisine.
So without further ado, we present the must-visit spots in the city, from adventurous, 40-course tasting menus to century-old institutions: the best restaurants in Barcelona.
PS You can explore all of our favourite restaurants, bars, hotels, and things to do in our full Barcelona City Guide
Alkimia | Sant Antoni
Served in a gorgeous dining room where state-of-the-art interiors intersect original floor tiles and ceiling murals, Alkimia is the experimental restaurant from laurelled chef Jordi Vilà. Dishes can be ordered à la carte or as part of two set menus, which include the likes of sea urchin with rockfish white suquet, and jellied cava for dessert.
Details: Mon-Fri 1.30-3.30pm, 8-10.30pm | Ronda Sant Antoni, 41 | €€€€
Bar Cañete | El Raval
There are two front doors to this place; one leading to the restaurant, and one to the bar. Choose the latter and you’ll be rewarded with counter seating overlooking the chefs’ prep stations, from which you’ll be handed delicious dishes like fried aubergine in sugar-cane honey; anemone with cured Iberian bacon; and anchovies in sherry vinegar. It’s excellent.
Details: Open Mon-Sat 1pm-12am | Carrer de la Unió, 17 | €€€
Tickets | Sant Antoni
Quite literally one of the hottest tickets in town, this restaurant from the lauded Adrià brothers will blow your mind in one way or another – whether it’s by the deconstructed tapas-style cuisine (like spherificated liquid olives and flaming aubergines), or the eccentric decor, which attempts to tie together Broadway paraphernalia, the Virgin Mary, and giant hanging strawberries.
Details: Tues-Fri 7-10.30pm, Sat 1-3pm, 7-10.30pm | Ave. del Paral⋅lel, 164 | €€€€
Chaka Khan | El Raval
Living up to its namesake, Chaka Khan is every restaurant. Combining flavours from as far afield as Brazil, Kenya and Korea, downstairs restaurant Chaka serves up a pan-global take on tapas, with dishes like jerk wings, banh mi and injera rubbing shoulders on the menu. For a more intimate experience, head up to the chef’s table in Khan and pick one of the tasting menus.
Details: Mon-Fri 5pm-2.30am, weekends 12pm-2.30am | Carrer de l’Hospital, 104 | €€€
Bormuth | El Born
A super popular tapas spot, Bormuth combines the interiors of a minimalist ski chalet with the sort of things you’d be pleasantly surprised to find in a ski chalet; namely, a seemingly endless list of well-made (and fairly priced) tapas, and vermouth on tap.
Details: Open daily 12.30pm-1.30am (2.30am Fri/Sat) | Carrer del Rec, 31 | €
Milk | Gothic Quarter
Milk, with its wacky 70s style decor, is nothing short of a Barcelona institution these days. Come for the cocktails, come back for the recovery brunch – served daily until 4.30pm. Ease yourself into the day with chorizo hash, breakfast burgers and raspberry vodka & rosé cocktails.
Details: Open daily 9am-2am (2.30am Fri/Sat) | Carrer d’en Gignàs, 21 | €€
Rilke | Eixample
The team behind La Confitería, the bar in an old confectionery store, have managed to create something even sweeter – this place. Up front they still knock up some pretty excellent cocktails in a decadent wood-panelled, stained-glass-ceilinged room; but towards the back you’ll find where the real culinary magic happens. Expect dishes combining Catalan traditions with Mediterranean ingredients, plus a beautiful secret dining room hidden behind what appears to be a mere fridge.
Details: Open daily 1.30pm-2am (3am Fri/Sat) | Carrer de Mallorca, 275 | €€€€
Els 4 Gats | Gothic Quarter
This tapas restaurant and brewery was first opened back in 1897 by Pere Romeu, a former waiter at Le Chat Noir in Paris, and was a hotspot for Modernist artists and bohemian types back in the day. Unfortunately, his penchant for doling out free drinks led to the place closing a few years later, but it’s back again – and an excellent place for traditional tapas.
Details: Open 9am-midnight daily | Carrer de Montsió, 3 | €€€€
Aguaribay | Poblenou
Taking inspiration from good food around the globe, Aguaribay’s one condition is that it be vegetarian. And, presumably, goes well with the house-brewed vermouth and punch-packing coffee they serve. Come for the set menu at lunch – but be prepared to fight the locals for a table.
Details: Open daily 1-4pm, plus 8.30-11.30pm Thurs-Sat (11pm Thurs) | Carrer del Taulat, 95 | €€
Xiringuito Escribà | Poblenou
As a restaurant set right on the beach itself, the Xiringuito Escribà is pretty well acquainted with grains of sand. But it’s what they do with grains of rice that’s so impressive, stewing them into vast, aromatic pans of paella dotted with cuttlefish, mussels, green veg, and more.
Details: Open daily 1-10.30pm | Ave. Litoral, 62 | €€€
El Bar | La Nova Esquerra de l’Eixample
A sleeve of a space with low, timber-beamed ceilings, El Bar is really the sort of place you need to know about to find. The tapas here are elevated beyond the realms of traditional fare; expect dishes like octopus served with violette potato and chorizo cream; and fried codfish gnocchi with red pepper jam – but leave room for the well-stocked cheese cart when it comes rolling around.
Details: Tues-Sat 1-4pm, 7.30-11.30pm, Sunday 1-4pm | Carrer de Calàbria, 118 | €€
La Cuina d’En Garriga | Eixample
The produce stocked in this deli-grocers is some of the freshest, locally-sourced stuff around – but just to prove it, they’ll also cook it into a menu of Mediterranean dishes for you to enjoy right next to the shelves. Order the Santa Pau beans with cod snout – mainly to see what on earth a cod snout looks like.
Details: Open 9.30am-11pm Tues-Sat, closed Sun-Mon | Carrer del Consell de Cent, 308 | €€€€
Enigma | Sant Antoni
Engima oozes mystery. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a fine dining experience that takes the best part of 4 hours to go through, takes place in six rooms with cloud ceilings, and features 40 courses. One of which is frozen caviar.
Details: Tues-Fri 2-4pm, 4.30-9pm, Sat 12-5.30pm, 6.30-9pm | Carrer de Sepúlveda, 38-40 | €€€€€
El Vaso de Oro | Barceloneta
El Vaso de Oro is famous for three things. 1) The excellent tapas. 2) The excellent beers. 3) Future you going there and having the best time ever.
Details: Open daily 11am-midnight, closed 1st-22nd Sept | Carrer de Balboa, 6 | €€€€
Disfrutar | Eixample
Coming to you from 3 former elBulli chefs (a triple Michelin starred restaurant that won World’s Best Restaurant five times), Disfrutar is a madcap caper through avant-garde cuisine. In beautifully modern surroundings, they serve dishes like carbonara made with translucent gelatine pasta, and deconstructed whisky tart – which involves washing your hands in whisky to smell them as you eat.
Details: Service 1-2.30pm and 8-9.30pm, check dates online | Carrer de Villarroel, 163 | €€€€€
Auto Rosellon | Eixample
Opening a restaurant inside a garage is tricky. It can be hard to work out the mechanics. But Auto Rosellon seem to have succeeded, creating a Scandi-inspired minimalist dining room, in which they serve a cracking brunch and adventurous concoctions with traditional ingredients.
Details: Mon-Wed 8am-1am, Thur-Fri 8am-2am, Sat 9am-2am, Sun 9am-12am | Carrer del Rosselló, 182 | €€€
Tapeo Del Born | El Born
Headed up by a husband and wife team, Tapeo’s the spot for well executed tapas that’s a little more on the contemporary side. The dishes – like cuttlefish pasta or chocolate sauce served with bread, salt, and olive oil – go down particularly well with lashings of the house sangria.
Details: Open Tues-Sun 12-4pm, 7pm-midnight | Carrer de Montcada, 29 | €€€€
Can Culleretes | Gothic Quarter
Lined with old-school murals and signed photos from celebrity diners, Can Culleretes is one of Barcelona’s oldest restaurants, harking back to 1786. And today, you can tuck into the 1786 set menu; a feast of traditional dishes like broad beans with blood sausage and bacon; wild boar stew and Catalan cream.
Details: Open Tues-Sat 1.30-4pm, 8-10.45pm, Sun 1.30-4pm | Carrer d’en Quintana, 5 | €€€
El Pescadors | Poblenou
Els Pescadors have been plating up their seafood dishes here since 1980, and their food philosophy goes back even further. They refuse to pander to trends, instead focussing on high quality ingredients, local sourcing, and slow cooking. All of which, coincidentally, are now very trendy.
Details: Open daily 1-4pm, 8-11pm | Plaça de Prim, 1 | €€€€
PS Looking for a nightcap spot? Check out our guide to the best bars in Barcelona
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