What are some great places to sample Barcelona’s culinary offerings? It’s hard to choose, with over 2000 restaurants in the city, it can be overwhelming to know your pan con tomate from your patatas bravas. We’re here to help. With a list of over 20 restaurants that have all been tried and tested, you can’t go wrong. From Catalan dishes to Mediterranean fusion food. Slow food and fast food, romantic restaurants, michellin starred spots, and everything in between, plus some tips for dining in the Catalan Capital.
So let’s break it down. Breakfast can be found in any cafe from as early as 7am until around 11am. Usually this consists of a croissant and a coffee, but more substantial fare can be found if you look hard enough. Bocadillos (sandwiches) with ham or cheese or a slice of spanish tortilla (omlette) may also be of interest if you have a big day of sight seeing planned. Finding a full english breakfast during the week may be hard, however Brunch has become increasingly popular here in Barcelona and on the weekends, every cafe and bistro in the city is offering some form of eggs benedict.
Coffee, that all important morning beverage, can be easily obtained in any cafe. The locals like theirs strong and dark, and if you order a cafe, you will be served an espresso. cafe con leche is coffee with milk, a cortado an espresso with milk, an americano is a machine coffee with extra water, supposedly to resemble a filter coffee. We recommend you try the cortado, and, if you are feeling adventurous, you can ask for a carajillo, which is a coffee with a dash of your preferred alcohol. A carajillo with Baileys can be mighty delicious, and on a cold morning or afternoon the perfect hand and tummy warmer.
Of course the ubiquitous cool-city artisanal coffee shops have been sprouting up in Barcelona too, and these days you can find handcrafted filter coffee in a number of hip cafes. Poured expertly, with fresh beans ground just for you, you wont be disappointed with daily caffeine fix. A myriad of cafes offer hario, chemex, aeropress and siphon coffees.
After breakfast and before lunch (which typically starts at around 12 noon and continues until 4pm) you may find yourself peckish. Join the locals in their merienda – this is a light snack between main meals. Especially if you only had a small bite for breakfast. Sometimes people enjoy a merienda after lunch and before dinner which only begins at 8pm, with most restaurants kitchens only opening at this hour, and diners only arriving at 9pm. You will find restaurants closed between lunch and dinner, so make sure you don’t miss their serving hours.
TIP In Spain, the midday meal menu is often half the price of that in the evening. Look for places advertising a menu del dia, which will consist of a starter, main, and dessert or coffee. Most come with a drink and water too. It’s a great way to try more expensive restaurants if you are traveling on a budget.
TRIED & TESTED
- cafe godot – a family friendly bistro in gracia. their menu del dia options are good, and their salad and service to be recommended.
- picnic – a cafe near el arc de triomf, famous for their brunches. try the huevos rancheros on the weekend.
- brunch and cake – a breakfast institution in barcelona, they serve breakfast all day everyday.
- granja petibo – a small cafe with high ceilings on psg sant joan, serving cafe food, fresh juices and good breakfasts.
- can dende – in poble nou, slightly off the beaten track, but somehow still very popular with a queue out the door on weekends. their brunch is worth the wait.
- el nacional – a large and beautiful space, with 4 restaurants and center bar. a bit pricey, but you pay for the ambiance as well as the food.
- cafe emma – french bistro cafe, lookout for the giant fork on the wall inside. a good menu selection and they serve oysters.
- chivuos – branded as slow street food, their burgers and pulled pork sandwiches are delectable. an interesting selection of beers too.
- bacoa – voted the best burgers in barcelona, this spot with self service tables right on the beach is a good bet for a hungry tummy.
- cafe federal – lovely cafe in cool sant antoni on coveted c/ parlament, good brunch and lunches.
- sesamo – vegetarian hotspot. serving fresh vegetarian dishes, this tiny restaurant never disappoints.
- jaime beriestain – beautiful restaurant by the interior designer of the same name, perfect date night.
- el glop – catalan fare, this tavern serves typical dishes, and seasonal greats such as calçots. go with an empty stomach!
- koy shunka – michellin starred restaurant well worth the high price tag, if you like japanese food. you are transported to japan as soon as you step inside.
- el niño viejo – one of the adria brothers newer eateries, they serve mexican tacos, make sure to book ahead of time.
- la paradeta – canteen style seafood. order by the gram, and they cook your food up and call your number. it’s not to be missed if it’s your first time to the city. we recommend the branch in el born, however there is also one near the sagrada famila and another in sitges!
- torre d’alta mar – fancy pants restaunt at the top of the tower next to the harbour. stunning views, this place is good for special occasions.
- pudding –kid friendly cake and tea shop styled like wonderland, full of giant mushrooms and circus tent awnings. you do feel like you have been invited to the mad hatters tea party. a fun spot with good carrot cake!
- hoffman patisserie – fantastic bakery, they also have an indoor terrace upstairs for lunch.
- chez coco – rotiserie with a difference. a gorgeous restaurant designed by lazaro rosa violan who is responsible for a number of gorgeous locales in barcelona, their roasted acron fed chickens are another good reason to visit.
- la llar de foc – traditional catalan food, all wood fired meats, smoked cheeses, and tasty breads.
- batuar in the cotton house hotel – lovely garden terrace restaurant in the hotel, great for a romantic dinner.
- quimet & quimet – a tourist hot spot in poble sec, their tapas and wine are worth the crowd, go for one, and then fill up around the corner on c/ blai, read our post on pintxos in poble sec.
You can find a bunch more tried and tested places to get grub in our downloadable guide