Although the Barcelona food scene is most commonly know for it’s packed tapas bars, where you eat on foot while enjoying drinks, or the other end of the spectrum, it’s many outside cafes and beachfront establishments, there’s a whole world or dining in between to be explored.
Understated setting and chic presentation make this my top choice for fine dining. Some not to be missed items on the menu are the amazingly rich grilled foie in a cream of calcots, the duck breast salad with mixed greens and berries, the grilled ahi tuna, the bacalao three ways and the house specialty chocolate desert created by famed Catalan pastry chef Oriole Balaguer. If it’s your first visit, you’ll need to try the patatas bravas, as La Taverna del Clinic has modernized this typical spanish tapa in presentation to fit with it’s fine dining counterparts on the menu.
Address: c/ Rossello, 155 Phone: 934 104 221
One of my favorite tapas bars, where it’s a must to enjoy various canned seafood options, the salmon, bacalao, and mussels, as well as the many pintxos (tapas on tiny pieces of toasted bread) and the goat cheese stuffed peppers, all washed down by Xampanyet (the house sparkling wine). It’s the perfect place to start the night before hitting the bars in El Born and more time than not, it’s more of a packed bar / standing room only setting itself.
Address: c/ Montcada, 22 Phone: 933 197 003
Great local neighborhood restaurant where you can try various typical tapas or a must, the ous estrellats amb pernil (runny fried eggs mixed with sauteed pototoes and surrounded in iberian ham) and the pimientas padrones. Sit at the bar, stay a while and make friends with the locals and the best staff in Barcelona.
Address: Rambla de Catalunya, 100 Phone: 932 154 894
One of the oldest restaurants in the city and situated in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, Los Caracoles is an institution in Barcelona. This tiny bar area in the entrance way leads its way back into an expansive multi room restaurant that feels more like dining in a historical home. What to ask for on the menu, the caracoles (snails) for a starter and the suquet de pescadores (typical Catalan mixed fish stew).
Address: c/ Escudellers, 14 Phone: 933 012 041
The “Couture” version to La Bodegueta’s “Ready To Wear”. Similar menu, but spruced up a bit in modern presentation and more gourmet ingrediants, while the casual but industrial chic décor is welcoming but trendy. Not to be missed are the pulpo gallego, the brie stuffed mushrooms and the risoto.
Address: c/Provenca, 223 Phone: 932 151 725
People watching at one of the most vibrant open air markets in Europe. Find yourself a stool at either Bar Central down the main central aisle towards the back, past the fish section or Kiosko Universal, off to the left about 2 rows back, order a drink, a seafood parillada (grilled seafood), grilled vegetables with pan con tomate and enjoy! Need I say more.
Address: Rambla 91, Mercat de la Boqueria Phone: 934 121 215
The local’s favorite for paella by the sea, although technically the best seats in the house are inside. The gigantic oysters and sepia a la plancha are some of the best in town as well, so definitely do starters, but save room for the paella de mariscos.
Also, while waiting for your table, wander the restaurant’s tiny rooms checking out the numerous celeb photos they have posted of their VIP visitors over the years.
Address: AlmirallCervera 34, 27 Phone: 932 215 033
The perfect beachside restaurant to pass a few hours in the afternoon lingering over lunch. Ok, ok, so the paella isn’t exactly as great as Salamanca’s but you’re actually dining right over the sand, with fantastic people watching on the beach and the tranquility of the waves crashing in the background. Arenal can be a tad pricey, so choose the menu del dia for an exceptional value of a 3 course meal with wine.
Address: In front of l’Hospital del Mar onPasseigMaritim Phone: 932 210 810
The freshest seafood apart from catching it yourself. This market style setting with rustic tables is great for any seafood lover and has become so popular that often times you’ll find a line down the block. Multiple locations, but El Born is home to my top choice as it’s in the perfect neighborhood to enjoy some barhopping the delicious meal.
Address: c/ Comercial, 7 Phone: 932 681 939
Local VIP Faves:
Josep Maria Ferret Guasch
Founder, CAVA JOSEP M FERRET GUASCH
Address: Barril’Alzinar, 68 (Bústia 25) E-08736 Font-Rubí (Spain) Phone: 93 8979037
Chic and trendy fine dining experience. Must tries: Espuma de patatasbravas and Costillas de conejorebozadas
Address: C/Rosal, 34 Phone: 933 249 046
Address: C/Diputació, 201 Phone: 934532352
Address: C/Poeta Cabañas, 25 Phone: 934423142