Eating in Barcelona will activate all five of your senses
Eating in Barcelona is a true sensory experience. And we’re not just talking about taste and smell. Especially in the most creative restaurants, you’ll use every single one of your senses. The focus of the chefs who are part of the new Catalan and Spanish gastro scene is the total and utter satisfaction of every customer. That’s almost always down to the use of exceptional produce and the incredibly painstaking preparation. But sometimes they do it by throwing a curveball, playing with illusions, new flavours and textures, and presentation that looks like something that would be more at home in a modern art museum.
But, as well as this style of restaurant, you can also sample some traditional local fare. The typical food of Barcelona (vincular a URL correspondiente) and Catalonia is served up at classic restaurants that are practically frozen in time.
It’s also possible to enjoy good quality food in Barcelona without your wallet taking too much of a hit. That’s the advantage of visiting a city where gastronomy is a fundamental part of everyday life. In fact, eating in Barcelona is one of the things that attracts millions of tourists here every single year. And, of course, most of them adore the experience, and can’t wait to come back. Bon appetit!
The best restaurants in Barcelona
No fewer than 29 restaurants in Barcelona have been awarded at least one star by the 2019 Michelin Red Guide. That’s a clear sign of the quality and innovation that characterise Barcelonan cuisine. Two of these restaurants have three stars:
- ÀBaC (Avinguda Tibidabo, 1): This is the personal project of the television chef Jordi Cruz (Master Chef Spain). It combines the ultimate creative cuisine (Nuestra Vanguardia menu), with more classic options which let the produce do the talking (Nuestra Tradición menu).
- Lasarte (Mallorca, 259): This is the work of Martín Berasategui, the Spanish chef who, between his different restaurants, has accumulated the most Michelin stars. This restaurant is headed by Paolo Casagrande, who has brought with him the best of Basque chef’s cuisine, adding in a few of his own ideas. The menu is all about the produce, with a clear focus on the natural and the organic.
Alongside these, in Barcelona there are four other restaurants that have been awarded two stars. They are:
- Cocina de Hermanos Torres (Taquígraf Serra, 20): Two other television chefs, Sergio and Javier Torres have focused on creating a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. In fact, every meal is created in a show kitchen, with the tables arranged around it. It’s right in the heart of Les Corts and offers a selection of extremely creative dishes, with clear international influences.
- Moments (Passeig de Gràcia, 38): In charge of this restaurant is Raül Balam, son of one of the greatest Catalan chefs, Carme Ruscalleda. The culinary concept behind this restaurant breaks down borders, with dishes that are just as original as they are tasty, especially those made using fish and seafood caught in the Mediterranean.
- Disfrutar (Villarroel, 163): Three chefs who were once members of the team of El Bulli in Roses (Girona) head up this establishment, which aims to continue the legacy of that legendary restaurant and put what they were taught by Ferran Adrià into practice. One example is the crunchy egg yolk with mushroom jelly.
- Enoteca Paco Pérez (La Marina, 19-21): In the Hotel Arts, this restaurant offers fresh, Mediterranean cuisine. It takes its name from the 700 varieties of wine that can be found in its cellar.
Eating traditional food in Barcelona
One of the best ways of discovering the essence and philosophies of this city is to eat in one of its most traditional restaurants. Some of them are part of Barcelona’s history, and many of them play starring roles in its literature (for example, in works by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Eduardo Mendoza). Some of the most iconic ones are:
- La Cova Fumada (Baluard, 56): This is in one of the city’s most gastro-focused neighbourhoods, La Barceloneta (vincular a URL correspondiente). It’s a good idea to book ahead and be ready to share a table, as it’s always packed. Their ‘bombs’ (croquettes made of potato and mince with two spicy sauces) and their cod are legendary, and their prices are reasonable.
- La Plata (Mercè, 28) specialises in fried fish. But, they’re also well-known for their botifarra sausage and anchovy snacks called montaditos.
- Bodega Sepúlveda (Sepúlveda, 173): Famous for its casseroles, one of the best being the chickpeas with white and black botifarra Llorenç Solá, the chef to King Alfonso XIII, opened this restaurant in 1952.
- Can Vilaró (Comte Borrell, 61): Visit this restaurant, opened in 1967, to sample its meatballs, pork cheeks with mushrooms and offal dishes, such as liver with onion.
Cheap restaurants in Barcelona
The best tip for eating cheap, good quality food in Barcelona is to stay away from the most touristic neighbourhoods, like El Born, the Gothic Quarter (vincular a URL correspondiente), the Port Olímpic or La Barceloneta. However, there are always a few exceptions, even in these areas.
Some of the cheapest options for eating in Barcelona are the following.
- Granja Mabel (Marina, 114): This is unpretentious cuisine made using good produce (a lot of it bought in the La Boqueria Market (vincular a URL correspondiente), with original dishes like inside-out pasta, which are filled with chicken and bechamel.
- La Taquería (Passatge de Font, 5): As you might have guessed, they serve authentic Mexican tacos Their spicy sauces and coriander-based sauces are pretty good too, but the biggest attraction is each portion size.
- Mà de Morter (Travessera de les Corts, 118-120, local 2): Traditional Catalan slow-cooked They’re kind of thing a Catalan mother would dish up, which is where the restaurant gets its name from.
- Gelida (Diputació, 133): Classic Catalan food like cap i pota beef stew, cod and pork knuckle for under 15 euros.
- Cal Cuc (Taulat, 109): People largely come here to enjoy some of Barcelona’s most authentic ramen. On Wednesdays, they sell them for five euros.
- Escairón (En Fontrodona, 5): Galician cuisine served in a relaxed environment, just as if you were sitting in your own dining room. The stars of the menu are the barbecued meats.