A FOODIE’S GUIDE TO 8 BEST RESTAURANTS IN BARCELONA
Sun-kissed golden beaches, alluring architecture, buzzing markets and high-energy nightlife – Barcelona is a killer city break escape. But it’s not just the spectacular sights that will draw you in, the world-renowned cuisine of the Catalan capital is a magnet for travellers. From amazing tapas bars and chiringuitos to upscale bistros and traditional Catalan restaurants, Barcelona holidays are foodie heaven - here are the 8 best restaurants in Barcelona - and they're sure to satisfy your taste buds!
Less of a restaurant and more of an upscale beach club-cum-chiringuito, W Barcelona hotel’s Salt restaurant offers the perfect meld of inventive cooking and creative mixology. Enjoy exquisite cocktails and California-inspired cuisine at the breezy terrace or the beach lounge, which features live music by the resident DJs.
Try their gourmet burgers, interestingly named ‘Beef Worshipper’ and ‘Salt Icon’ burgers. Entreés include beef carpaccio with deep-fried oysters and nasturtium flower gazpacho, grilled prawn salad and Wagyu steak grilled over a volcanic stone at the table.
Foodie tip: For a more laid-back experience, hit the beach lounge, where you can park yourself on string armchairs, sink your toes into the sand and enjoy ginger mojitos while gazing out at the azure Mediterranean.
ENOTECA PACO PÉREZ
Image: Hotel Arts Barcelona / Facebook
The in-house restaurant of Arts Barcelona hotel calls itself the ‘heart and soul of Mediterranean cuisine’, and its two Michelin stars rightly justify that. Overseen by renowned chef Paco Pérez, Enoteca takes the essence of traditional Mediterranean cooking and reinvents it with a contemporary flair. The kitchen uses farm-fresh products with an emphasis on fish and seafood. Better still, its 700 bottle-long wine list and the theme in the decor, the restaurant truly lives up to its name – a ‘wine library’.
Foodie tip: The à la carte options are great, but the tasting menu priced around €170 is the real deal.
Image: Can Culleretes / Facebook
An absolute bargain! If you’re interested in traditional Catalan cuisine, this 200-year-old family-run restaurant is your go-to spot. Founded in 1786 just off La Rambla, Can Culleretes is Barcelona’s oldest restaurant and the kitchen serves Catalan specialities. Seafood is another highlight; enjoy a three-course spread starting with garlic shrimp and steamed shellfish, followed by assorted fried fish, and concluding with grilled prawns, scampi and baby calamari.
Foodie tip: Opt for the signature 1786 Special Menu (around €32) and the Agut-Manubens Family Menu (around €24), which feature the restaurant’s most celebrated dishes.
QUIMET Y QUIMET
Image: Quimet Y Quimet / Facebook
If you want to eat with locals, come to this hugely popular tapas bar that serves exquisitely prepared plates of tapas. The standing-room-only restaurant bustles with visitors throughout the day, but food is worth elbowing your way through. The best thing to try here are montaditos (tapas on a slice of bread) made to order.
Foodie tip: The place gets extremely crowded, so if you can arrive before 1:30pm and 7:30pm (except Sundays when it’s closed), you might grab a stand-up table.
Looking for a beachfront shack where you can feast on seafood while gazing out at the Mediterranean? Barraca is the perfect place for you. This faux beach shack restaurant in La Barceloneta boasts a great seafront location that sets the mood for enjoying excellent seafood dishes such as mixed shellfish, cod fritters and chilli-infused clams, cockles and mussels. Sample paellas and patatas bravas – both house specialities – and wash them down with organic wines and cold beers. The restaurant uses locally sourced organic produce and fresh fish, which means health-conscious diners are in safe hands. Try the organic vegetable paella; it’s as delicious as the seafood paella.
Foodie tip: Sit alfresco on the terrace that overlooks the bustling Sant Sebastià beach.
Located off the famous boulevard of La Ramblas is the largest and most iconic food market in Barcelona, La Boqueria. The bustling stalls are a sure bet for food-lovers looking to fill their baskets with fabulous local delights (including the city's finest chefs) and once you take the time to wander this maze-like market, you'll soon see why the city is renowned for its must-see market culture. Step through the grand iron gates and you'll be met by a sea of different colours, smells and snacking opportunities – including everything from fresh fruit and seafood platters to hanging meats and tapas treats. Your best bet is to go early in the morning and avoid the local and tourist crowds that form around 2pm.
Foodie tip: Food prices are similar to what you would find in a quality restaurant, but you can find fresh fruit juice and smaller snacks for as little as €1 if you look.
The decor of this fun basement restaurant is modelled on yesteryear’s tapas bars featuring long counters, high stools and strip lights. From the classic patatas bravas or croquetas de pollo rostido (roasted chicken croquets) to the inventive McFoie burger (hamburger topped with foie gras), you’ll be spoilt for choice! Another must-try is the signature ‘bikini’ grilled ham and cheese sandwich with black truffle, or if you arrive for breakfast, go for ous estrellats (fried potatoes with broken fried egg).
Foodie tip: The restaurant is constantly crowded and you can’t book ahead, but the food is worth the wait.
Image: Cinc Sentits
Literally translated as ‘five senses’, the Michelin starred Cinc Sentits appeals to your senses with its fusion of traditional Catalan fare and haute cuisine. Choose from a 6-course and a 4-course tasting menus consisting of small, experimental dishes, paired with exclusive Catalan and Spanish wines. There is no à la carte, although dishes can be tweaked as per your requests. If you’re not in for the elaborate tasting menus, there’s a 3-course lunch menu on workdays.
Image: Cinc Sentits
Foodie tip: Don’t miss Artal’s signature dish – foie gras – which he prepares in a dozen different ways, depending on the season.
Header Image: Cinc Sentits