From bustling local tapas bars to high class modern restaurants, Barcelona offers a type of cuisine and dining experience to suit every kind of traveler and their budget. If you steer clear of the tourist-targeted restaurants in the main vacation resorts which tend to serve nothing more exciting than cheeseburger and fries, Barcelona can take you on a delightful gastronomic adventure you’ll never forget.
Whether you’re up for trying something new or prefer to stick with what you know, here is our selection of the best places to eat in Barcelona which are sure to put a smile on the face of even the fussiest eater.
Quimet i Quimet
When it comes to a sophisticated and modern take on traditional Spanish tapas, you can’t beat the magnificent dishes served up at Quimet i Quimet. Located in Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, this small tapas bar offers standing room only, but it’s worth being stood shoulder-to-shoulder with an eclectic mix of Barcelona’s locals for the opportunity to sample what will surely be some of the most innovative tapas you’ve ever set eyes on.
The intoxicating tapas display features unique flavor combinations, such as: salmon, honey and truffle; tuna, caviar and balsamic vinegar; and cheese, olives and compotes. If the dishes on offer are a bit too out-there for you, Quimet i Quimet also provide diners with a selection of more commonplace tapas, including mussels, croquets and cured meats. The server behind the bar will be more than happy to create a mixed tasting platter for you if the diverse tapas assortment leaves you feeling a little bit lost.
The bar itself is decorated from floor to ceiling with an envious collection of wines and spirits sourced from all over the globe. Whilst these bottles aren’t available to order, Quimet i Quimet do offer an extensive range of local and international wines and cavas. Beer drinkers are well catered for with a number of blonde, brown and black beers available on tap, in addition to the bar’s own label Belgian beer.
For Local Food:
Some of the very best restaurants in Barcelona are found within top end hotels, a statement which is certainly true when it comes to Saüc. Located inside the five-star Ohla Hotel, this Michelin-starred eatery has changed and adapted its cuisine according to the very latest gastronomic trends and fashions over the years, yet always stays true to its charismatic Catalan origins.
Offering a sparkling collection of inventive, state-of-the-art cooking heavily rooted in the foundation of the classics, Saüc has always boasted the reputation of being a reliable modern bistro since it first opened its doors to the public. Today the menu is overflowing with sturdy, honest dishes which have been brought straight into the 21st century with a number of ingenious twists and changes.
The signature dishes are truly divine, although the titles might result in only the bravest and open-minded foodies delving in with gusto. Diners travel from all across the country for the opportunity to savor their famous tartare of smoked eel with herring caviar and confit of lamb neck signature dishes. Although the a la carte menu is truly spectacular, the magic lies in the tasting menus, which round up a number of the restaurant’s most popular and delectable dishes for a reasonable price.
It may not be pretty, it may not be classy, but La Paradeta is up there with the best of them when it comes to incredible seafood in Barcelona. This restaurant forms a quarter of a chain of eateries, but thanks to the unique atmosphere and design of each venue, it really doesn’t show. La Paradeta in Sants – the original restaurant in the chain – is the best choice to avoid the lengthy waits that you’ll normally get by visiting the other venues, which are located close to various tourist attractions in the city.
When you enter the eatery, your eyes will immediately be drawn to the vast array of freshly-caught seafood prominently on display, giving you the feeling that you’re actually strolling through a fish market, not choosing a table for dinner. And to be honest, the ordering process will give you the same impression, too.
Diners are encouraged to work their way along the seafood display, laden with everything from crab, shrimp and mussels to squid, lobster and oysters, choosing what they want and how much of it. The server will place it all on a tray for you and send it to be cooked, giving you a numbered ticket in return. Then it’s your turn to grab a tray for your drinks, cutlery and napkins and find yourself a table. When your number’s called over the tinny P.A. system, it means your seafood is ready.
Whilst it’s certainly not fine dining, enjoying a meal at La Paradeta is a unique experience in itself and provides the perfect casual surroundings for families and couples alike to savor top quality seafood which is as fresh as it comes.
Carnivores won’t want to miss the opportunity to dine at Alba Granados. Situated along Carrer Enric Granados, this superb eatery has succeeded in establishing a glowing reputation as one of the finest restaurants in the whole of the city. Instead of focusing on the presentation of each dish or the cooking techniques behind them, Alba Granados concentrates on only using the very best seasonal ingredients available, resulting in unparalleled taste sensations in each and every mouthful.
Whilst the extensive menu covers everything from tapas to paella, the eatery specializes in a variety of hearty meat-based dishes which no one can beat. The iconic steak tartare, grilled T-bone ox steak and beef steak with foie gras and caramelized onions are three dishes that really cause a stir and with a good right, too. Always cooked to perfection, the meat is served crisp and flavorful on the outside, whilst the inside remains butter-soft and juicy.
The décor is a stylish mixture of traditional steakhouse and modern bistro, creating the ideal surroundings whether you’re having a formal corporate business lunch, a romantic candle-lit dinner for two or a casual family meal out. There are more than 150 different varieties of excellent Spanish red wine available, pleasing the palate of even the most discerning wine connoisseur.
For Vegetarian Dishes:
Whilst the north of Spain might be internationally-renowned for its amazing seafood, there is a fantastic range of vegetarian eateries scattered throughout Barcelona which serve avant-garde and delicious meat- and fish-free dishes. La Bascula is nestled into the maze of winding medieval alleyways of El Born and provides a wonderful dining experience that not only shows consideration toward the well-being of animals, but toward the prosperity of the environment in general.
Everything you see, touch and eat inside this small and friendly café is eco-friendly from start to finish. The tables are made from repurposed doors, the plates and utensils are biodegradable and all the ingredients are organic. The laid-back menu matches the décor and features a selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes, with the most popular of which being the warm seitan sandwich served on wholemeal bread with brie, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. You’ll also find an interesting selection of fruity and herbal teas, smoothies and milkshakes on offer, all of which are made fresh to order.
Ironically, the health-conscious restaurant which prides itself on its nutritious fare is located on a site which used to be occupied by a chocolate and candy factory.
With so many fantastic restaurants located throughout the city, a trip to Barcelona isn’t complete without sampling the local cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for mussels, fancy a fillet steak or crave croquettes, you’re sure to find the perfect restaurant for you in this colorful city.