Restaurants in Barcelona
In 2002 Barcelona was awarded the title of most gourmand city in Europe by the prestigious Le Guide des Gourmands, the first non-French city so named in the 15 years of the publication's run (at the time). Being the capital city of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, Barcelona's restaurants specialise in the delicious Catalan cuisine, typically flaunting the extensive use of garlic, olive oil and fish for many kinds of meals. It is not uncommon to find fish mixed with red meat in a stew. The pa amb tomàquet (bread smeared in tomato and seasoned with olive oil and salt) is a signature Catalonian delicacy served with every meal in most restaurants. Tapas, now popular worldwide, originated in Spain, and these bite-sized treats are a firm favourite in the city of Barcelona.
Catalonia is a premier wine region for Spain and the birthplace of Cava sparkling wine. Dark red grapes in the region make for the darker 'black' wine, or vi negre, a stronger red concoction. Dry white wines come second to the Cava in popularity among tourists and locals alike.
Barcelona's restaurants usually open around 8am (if they are open for breakfast that is) and typically remain open until midnight. Supper hours are very late, with most residents opting to dine between 9pm and 10pm.
One of the most well known seafood restaurants in Barcelona, Botafumeiro consistently presents the finest regional cuisine of Galicia and prides itself on the freshness of its fish, clams, mussels, lobster, crayfish and scallops, which are either kept in large tanks near the entrance or flown in daily from the coast. The impeccable treatment of customers and the private atmosphere makes this a perfect dining experience for both business and pleasure. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Reservations essential.
Address: El Gran de Gracia 81
Telephone: +34 93 218 4230
For almost a century this restaurant has been a family-run business and today the homey atmosphere still welcomes patrons with its old-fashioned wooden panelling, and time-tested culinary fare. Catalán paintings from the 1950s serve as reminders of Agut's time as a meeting place for artists and writers. The hearty food includes such dishes as sweet and sour wild duck, layers of pastry filled with Catalán sausage and mushrooms, or monkfish with prawns, while desserts are light and creative. Not to be confused with the Agut d'Avignon restaurant nearby. Closed Monday; no dinner on Sunday. Closed in August.
Address: Gignas 16, Ciutat Vella (Gothic Quarter)
Telephone: +34 93 315 1709
On the beachfront, Can Majó serves delicious seafood that can be enjoyed on the outdoor terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. Specialities include paella, but the fish is also superb. Choose from a daily catch including barnacles, prawns, crab, oysters and clams. Reservations required. Closed Monday. No dinner Sundays.
Address: Almirall Aixada 23, Barceloneta
Telephone: +34 93 221 5455
One of the many unassuming sidewalk café bars on Placa George Orwell in the Gothic Quarter, Oviso offers reasonably priced food and an intimate, bohemian ambiance. Good for breakfast or an afternoon snack, this bar restaurant often serves as a place to begin a night out or to end a long day. Great for people watching, Oviso attracts many artists and students and is a good choice for idling away a few hours in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Address: 5 Calle de Arai, Placa George Orwell
Telephone: +34 93 304 3726
Not called Rubi for nothing, this vibrant restaurant and nightspot is ideal for couples and friends looking for a chic but understated modern restaurant. With bright crimson booths, an elegant bar and high ceilings, Rubi has become one of Barcelona's quintessential nightspots. In true Barcelona style, Rubi is friendly and laid-back. Serving contemporary fusion cuisine made from only the freshest produce from local markets, Rubi also bakes homemade breads and desserts. After 11.30pm the restaurant shifts gears and the venue is transformed into a groovy bar with Latin American and funk tunes, heating things up a little. Open for dinner, Tuesday to Sunday.
Address: Calle Banys Vells, 6 bis
Telephone: +34 67 144 1888
For the best sandwiches in the city, and maybe the country, this hole in the wall take-away sandwich shop doesn't put on airs. Surrounded by fine dining restaurants and elegant tapas establishments, staff at Viena simply and quickly throw together the world's best ingredients between two delicious slices of bread and slides it across the counter. The restaurant is open from 8.30am to 11.30pm during the week and 12.30am on weekends.
Address: La Rambla del Estudis 115
Telephone: +34 93 745 0773
Some serious eating goes on here, in a little decorated and unpretentious room at the back of a delicatessen food store. Using speciality ingredients from around the world, gourmet food never felt so exclusive. Despite a city-wide reputation, the tiny restaurant feels like a guarded secret. Can Rovell is open from 10am to 9pm on Tuesday and Wednesday and closes an hour later from Thursday to Saturday. On Sundays this delectable restaurant serves lunch from 10am to 4pm. It is closed on Mondays.
Address: Carrer Arago 313
Telephone: +34 93 457 51 14
Serving creative vegetarian cuisine, with dishes from all over the world and a keen eye for presentation, Amaltea is a well-known and frequented Barcelona vegetarian eatery. The décor is stylish but down to earth, ensuring that all the limelight is afforded to the colourful dishes of food that emerge out of the kitchen. For lunch there is a choice of four starters, mains and various house desserts with a fixed menu. Open for lunch Monday to Saturday and dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Address: Diputació 164 (esquina Villarreal)
Telephone: +34 934 548 613
This very trendy tapas hot spot dishes out extraordinary treats under the creative direction of Carles Abellan. Unusual food combinations are frothed, seared and caramelised until they complement one another. The dishes are more of a tasting experience than a full meal but enough of them can easily add up to a full stomach, and an eclectic way to try local cuisine.
Address: Carrer Comerc 24
Telephone: +34 93 319 21 02
Quimet & Quimet
This old family-run room is not an ordinary tapas restaurant and is on the fly in more ways than one. With standing room only, perfect for fast eats, the chef rolls out seemingly random (but delicious) concoctions from a huge list of ingredients lining the walls. A superb but also random wine list is best enjoyed quickly with the unique snacks before carrying on one's way. Advisable to call beforehand and check opening hours.
Address: C/Poeta Cabanas 25
Telephone: +34 93 442 31 42
The only 1-star Michelin restaurant in Barcelona, ABAC is "el bulli" style, but you can actually get a reservation. The tasting menu (without wine) is about €125-175 per person. The sensory experience and the amazing meal that accompany the price is well worth digging a little deeper into the wallet than normal. ABAC is known as one of the best restaurants in Spain.
Address: Av. Tibidabo 1
Telephone: +34 933 196 600
Our Travel Expert
Tendelle grew up in both the US and Taiwan. She worked a couple of years in New York as a management consultant before deciding to join the tourism industry. She now calls Barcelona home and works at a food tourism company, Foodie&Tours, which aims to find the best gastronomic experiences in Spain and beyond.
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