Deciding where to eat in Barcelona can be a challenge due to the vast number of places to eat in the Catalan capital. Read on to discover our favorite Barcelona restaurants plus a handful of ideal spots for dessert.
Barcelona beckons travelers from around the world thanks to its audacious Gaudi architecture, impressive art museums, legendary market and sprawling beaches. But these aren’t the only reasons to visit Barcelona. In our opinion – the best reason is its food.
Discover the must-eat Barcelona foods.
Food is the primary reason that we ended our 2007 honeymoon in Barcelona. During that initial visit, we dined at a Michelin restaurant (Cinc Sentis), ate dinner at a restaurant (Espai Sucre) that only serves desserts and devoured razor clams for the first time at Pinotxo Bar inside the Mercat de Boqueria. We also paired tinned fish with champagne at La Xampanyeria in El Born and sampled modern tapas at Albert Adrià’s now-closed Inopia.
Times have changed, restaurants have closed and we’ve now traveled to Barcelona again and again. It’s literally taken us multiple visits to crack the culinary nut that is Barcelona’s food scene. It’s been worth our extra effort and we’re far from finished.
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Table of Contents
Our Favorite Barcelona Restaurants and Cafes
We’re finally confident to release a list of Barcelona restaurants that we love though it’s a list that we’ll continue to update.
Some of our favorite restaurants serve cheap eats while others are temples of molecular gastronomy. However, they have a few things in common – they all serve great food, they’re all friendly to food travelers and they’re all open now.
These are the restaurants that excite us and motivate us to return to Barcelona and eat more great food. They’re also the restaurants that we can confidently recommend to our friends, family and readers.
Top Barcelona Restaurants
The dining scene in Barcelona offers many ways to eat that include tapas, paella, seafood, international cuisine and cheap eats sandwiches. You’ll want to experience all of these levels of dining when you visit Barcelona. And, if you have the financial resources (or know someone who will treat you), you should do at least one fine dining meal. That meal will most likely be at a Michelin starred restaurant.
While some some cities sport more starred restaurants than Barcelona, the fact that the city currently ranks 10th for Michelin starred establishments just behind bigger cities like Tokyo, New York and Paris is certainly impressive. The city’s fine dining prowess is likely due to its proximity to the legendary El Bulli (now a research center) just a couple hours to the north and the still open Cellar de Can Roca an hour north in Girona.
Barcelona currently has two restaurants with three stars and a whopping 6 restaurants with ** ratings. In our experience, two-starred Disfrutar is the most difficult reservation to score even though Lasarte and AbAC each hold three stars respectively.
While we haven’t yet eaten at all of Barcelona’s top restaurants, we whole-heartedly recommend the following two where we’ve had wonderful dining experiences:
Cocina Hermanos Torres
We don’t know if a Michelin star, or the number of them, makes a restaurant’s food taste better but we do know that Cocina Hermanos Torres’ calamari dish was one of the most remarkable plates of food we’ve ever eaten. In this dish, a quenelle of super tender calamari topped with caviar sat in the center of a pond of the fine pheasant broth. It was simultaneously simple and divine.
We later learned that, keeping to a zero waste philosophy, the restaurant uses whatever bird du jour is on the menu to craft this liquid from heaven. While its two stars don’t make this dish taste better, the dish validates the double honor after just one spoonful.
Cocina Hermanos Torres’ twin chefs, Javier and Sergio Torres, are traditionalists but with a twist. They utilize 3-D printing as a cooking tool, invented a machine called a gastrovac and maintain the aforementioned zero waste philosophy.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll find a lot of spherification and other gastronomic trickery at Cocina Hermanos Torres. For that you’ll probably want to look toward the El Bulli alums at Disfrutar. The Torres brothers’ food is more rooted in technique from neighboring France.
Sergio Torres worked in the kitchens of Alain Ducasse in Paris while Javier Torres worked in notable fine dining kitchens like the legendary now-closed Can Fabes outside Barcelona.
Open in the Les Corts neighborhood since 2018, the layout of Cocina Hermanos Torres is anything but traditional.
We liken the kitchen, placed in the dead center of a former tire factory, to a well-lit boxing ring. Inside the ring, cooks quietly ply their skills over dishes that evoke life’s greatest moments of both yesterday and today.
Sneakers are the staff’s footwear de rigueur starting with the hostess and all the way to the twin top chefs. However, these trendy sneakers probably cost about triple the price of Daryl’s shoes. Not surprisingly, one of the restaurant’s partners owns a high fashion sneaker company.
During our meal, a tuile sandwich filled with sunflower ice cream rested on a golden sunflower represented childhood while a 3-D printed spiral of green pistachio and almond cream evoked a walk around Collserola, the antena topped mountain that overlooks Barcelona. Meanwhile, a tender, delicate, meaty Iberico rib drew its inspiration from the brothers’ farm where they raise black pigs in Spain’s Extremadura.
We recommend this restaurant, not just for the incredible cuisine, but also for its window into ultra-hip, ultra-edgy, modern Barcelona. It’s the kind of restaurant that you’ll remember long after your leisurely meal is over.
While you can dress casually for a meal at Cocina Hermanos Torres, high fashion is a plus at this stylish Barcelona restaurant.
Cocina Hermanos Torres is located at Carrer del Taquígraf Serra, 20, 08029 Barcelona, Spain.
With three Michelin stars, ABaC may be Jordi Cruz’s shining star but don’t rule out Angle Restaurant. Not only has Cruz helmed Angle since 2007, but it’s also where Cruz earned his first Michelin star in 2008 when he was just 24 years old. Angle later received a second star in 2020.
Similar to ABaC, Angle offers a set menu prepared with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. The opposite of an afterthought or an ABaC copycat, dishes which feature the likes of scarlet shrimp and Thai-style Galician hake excite the senses without breaking the bank.
We dined at Angle in 2015 after the restaurant relocated to the Hotel Cram but before it received its second star. That meal excited us during a parade of twelve courses that started with Bloody Mary Bubbles and ended with Sorbet Lipstick. Each dish in between was nothing short of a revelation.
Choosing to dine at Angle was a no-brainer based on Cruz’s pedigree and Angle’s (back-then) bargain pricing. Not surprisingly, the tasting menu has increased in price since our meal. However, we’d argue that Angle’s current price of 185€ per person (subject to change) remains a tremendous deal for this type of culinary experience. And, without a doubt, we’d win the hypothetical argument.
Additional Top Restaurants
While we enjoyed our meals at both Cocina Hermanos Torres and Angle, Barcelona has more than a dozen more top restaurants that have garnered attention from Michelin and critics alike. Consider the following top restaurants when you’re deciding where to make a special reservation or two in Barcelona:
The above stars represent each restaurant’s current number of Michelin stars.
Solid Barcelona Restaurants
Most food travelers will only want to dine at one or two top Barcelona restaurants during their visits due to the challenges these restaurants place on both the wallet and the waistline. But this isn’t the city’s only restaurant challenge…
Barcelona has a lot of restaurants serving traditional food (both Catalan and Spanish), modern food and global food. While this sounds positive, the vast number of restaurants creates a challenge for those looking for solid Barcelona dining experiences.
We can relate. The number of restaurants in Barcelona can be overwhelming. Now, after multiple visits filled with both dining hits and misses, we recommend the following places to eat in Barcelona:
Most Barcelona tapas restaurants are casual bars where prices are affordable and reservations aren’t necessary. Bar Cañete, which describes itself as a ‘fine tapas’ bar, is a notch up in price.
This El Raval restaurant is far from a hidden gem. After three generations, its reputation has spread from locals to tourists, all who seem to want a table or spot at the bar every day of the week.
Planning ahead, we scored a lunch reservation and quickly claimed a table next to Bar Cañete’s long counter. This spot gave us ample space to view the chefs buzzing just behind the bar.
As we noted, Bar Cañete costs a bit more but it’s worth it. Nutty slices of Jamón Bellota with edges of fat literally melted on our tongues and quickly disappeared from our plate while wine glasses filled with silky smooth Gazpacho transported us to a Catalan tomato garden.
While it would be temptingly easy to order only starters at Bar Cañete, this isn’t the way to eat at this classic Barcelona restaurant. Going this route would mean missing ‘snacks’ like Scrambled Eggs with spicy Chorizo and Veal Cheeks Parmentier served atop creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes and a puddle of savory gravy.
One of us (Mindi) is partial to appetizers but even she agrees that ordering a mix of dishes is the smart move at Bar Cañete. However, she’s willing to return and order more dishes like Beef Tartar and Tuna Tataki just to be sure.
Failing to plan is equivalent to planning to fail when it comes to eating at Bar Cañete. We recommend placing a reservation about a month in advance.
Bar Cañete is located at Carrer de la Unió, 17, 08001 Barcelona, Spain.
Although Paella isn’t a dish that’s ‘authentically Barcelona’, this doesn’t mean you can’t get great versions of the rice dish when you’re dining out in the Catalan city.
Perched above the seaport with a view of Barceloneta on Montjuic, Martinez serves a banging version of the famous Valencian dish along with a menu of other updated Spanish food favorites like Croquettas stuffed with Jamon Bellota, white bean Pochas with clams and Pan con Tomate (listed as Cocas with tomato and olive oil) on the menu.
While you may be drawn to Martinez for its famous rice dishes (which interestingly aren’t called Paella on its menu though that’s what they are), this Barcelona restaurant excels with a menu filled with updated Catalan classics and seasonal cuisine.
Ordering Senyoret rice (what the restaurant calls its shelled seafood paella), an excellent homestyle version of the Spanish pilaf dish, was a no-brainer. While a top layer of whole shelled shrimp and mussels sat on top of a well caramelized layer of bomba rice, the bottom of the pan had the requisite socarrat – a gooey layer of almost burned, intensely cooked crunchy bits that completed our Paella experience.
Not providing an effective scraping tool to lap up the last bits the pan would be our only complaint.
Beyond rice, we loved the restaurant’s Empedrat, a seasonal salad with tomatoes, cured tuna belly, scallop tartare and salmon caviar. Meanwhile, Martinez’s luxurious, creamy Jamon Croquettes were as good as any we’ve eaten on the Iberian Peninsula.
Finishing the meal with an ice cream sandwich was a good move as was washing the meal down with sangria. And, as proof that that life is a circle, the sangria was a special blend produced by Albert Adria, the chef we met years earlier at now-closed Inopia.
Max and Stefano Colombo, two brothers from Italy’s Veneto region with a passion for natural wine, opened Bar Brutal opened in 2013. With the bar’s opening, the Colombo brothers single-handedly spearheaded Barcelona’s natural wine movement, a movement which has since grown exponentially.
Needless to say, we drank natural wine, Planella (a rich red from Monstant) and Ancesrales (a crisp cava from Penedés) during our visit. Since we were pregaming dinner that evening, we limited ourselves to ordering one generous plate of Jamon which did not disappoint.
We loved the large, wide open El Born space and have placed Bar Brutal on our must-return list. Next time, we’ll dive deeper into its full menu that includes a selection of seafood, pork, steaks and sweetbreads.
Bar Brutal is open all day long during the weekends. In other words, you can drink and nibble all day long at Bar Brutal on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday.
Bar Brutal is located at Carrer de la Princesa, 14, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
Bodega La Puntual
Bodega La Puntual has taken some different iterations over the years. Its current iteration is a large dining space in El Born with a tapas and wine bar up front and a large dining space in the back. The menu offers the kind of typical fare that makes for a great dinner in Barcelona.
It’s also a prime spot to drink a wide variety of wines, vermuts and beer before dinner, after dinner or during dinner. Basically, drinking any time here is a good idea.
Options at Bodega La Puntual are extensive, ranging from small tapas plates to larger plates like octopus, pluma (i.e. pork steak) and chuleta (steak) served with piquillo peppers and french fries.
During our visit, we went the tapas route with no regrets. We especially appreciated La Puntual’s Albondigas (i.e. meatballs) served with a deep brown trumpet mushroom sauce. The sauce was good but the tender meatballs were even better. Other dinner winners included golfball-sized Bombas (i.e. meat-filled potato croquettes), Pan Con Tomate and Huevos Rotos (i.e scrambled eggs with Jamon Iberico).
Arrive early if you don’t have a reservation at Bodega La Puntual. This punctuality should score you a table or at least a seat at the bar. Better yet, make a reservation for a guaranteed spot
Bodega La Puntual is located at Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
Some people ask where we find the restaurants we visit and our answers vary. Sometimes we receive solid advice from locals. Sometimes we’ll walk by a place and rely on gut instinct. Sometimes we’ll check the web. Sometimes we use guidebooks and many times we’ll just see cool stuff on TV and take careful notes. That’s how we found Bar Morryssom – specifically while watching an episode of Guy Fieri’s 26th season of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
We don’t know why Guy Fieri visited Barcelona but we’re grateful he did. In this unique episode, Fieri travels to ciutat del sabor (Catalan for flavortown – haha!) where he trades in his vintage red Camaro SS for a Euro-friendly white Chevy. As usual, he hunted down the best homestyle faves and family run restaurants – the kind of roadside food we generally dismiss in the United States but crave in places like Barcelona.
Sometimes we want to eat like locals when we travel. Bar Morryssom, a corner tapas bar in L’Eixample with just a few tables outside and bare bones indoor seating, was an ideal spot for us to accomplish this goal thanks to its array of homestyle, rustic Barcelona tapas options.
Instead of a hostess stand, legs of Iberico Jamon greeted our eyes as we walked into the busy tapas bar. Our eyes were then drawn to an extra tall Tortilla de Patata (Tortilla Española), Russian salad, squid stewed with beans and Bombas the size of softballs. We ordered all of those things and paired them with crisp Estrella beer.
For the record, Fieri ate slow-roasted quail during his visit. The bar’s owner also did a song ritual with a dancing egg. We didn’t experience either of these during our visit and that’s okay. We followed our eyes and instincts and did just fine.
Order a plate of Jamon from one of the legs on the wall. The sample slice we tasted was as good as any we’ve eaten in Barcelona.
Bar Morryssom is located at Carrer de Girona, 162, 08037 Barcelona, Spain.
Pizza isn’t just one of our favorite Italian foods. It’s one of of our favorite foods period whether we’re traveling in Italian cities like Naples or Rome, at home in either Lisbon or New York. The same goes when we’re traveling around the world.
After researching where to eat the best pizza in Barcelona, it was an easy decision for us to take a break from eating tapas to eat in a garage instead. But not just any garage. Parking Pizza converted this particular garage into a serious pizzeria.
This pizzeria’s status as a former garage is no secret. In fact, Parking Pizza would be easy to miss since its exterior still looks like a garage. In some ways, the inside still feels like a garage thanks to its sparse, expansive space and concrete flooring; however, elements like funky yet utilitarian furniture, a big wood burning oven and and an even bigger pile of wood prove otherwise.
Make no mistake. Parking Pizza isn’t fancy. But who cares about fancy when eating pizzas with toppings like burrata, spicy sobradada and black truffle. After eating two pies, the #4 Burrata Stracciatella and the #5 Mallorca Spicy Sobrasada, we only cared about one thing – not missing a bite.
Check out Parking Pita if you’re more into eating falafel than pizza.
Parking Pizza has multiple locations in Barcelona. We ate at the pizzeria located at Pg. de Sant Joan, 56, 08009 Barcelona, Spain.
Sweet Barcelona Cafes
As much as we enjoy eating desserts like Crema Catalana and Leche Frita at Barcelona restaurants, sometimes we crave a sweet treat between meals. And, since we typically walk way more than 10k steps while food tripping in Barcelona, we don’t hesitate to indulge these cravings.
After sampling desserts at Barcelona cafes and churros stands, these are our favorites:
While it’s debatable whether churros were invented in Spain, there’s no debate that Spain makes some of the best churros in the world. Accordingly, eating the sugary fried dough treat in Barcelona is a must as is dipping the crispy pastry into chocolate dipping sauce.
As its name suggests, Xurreria Trébol specializes in frying churros of many kinds. This xurreria sells skinny churros, chubby churros and churros stuffed with an assortment of fillings like dulce de leche (i.e. sweet milk sauce similar to caramel) and melmelada de préssec (i.e. peach jam).
Xurreria Trébol isn’t fancy and it doesn’t have an expansive dining room. That’s okay. We didn’t need to sit to enjoy eating Xurros i Xocolata Calenta (i.e. churros and hot chocolate).
Order a Xuixo if you want to start your morning with a Catalan pastry.
Xurreria Trebol is located at Carrer de Còrsega, 341, 08037 Barcelona, Spain.
When most people think about Barcelona pastries, they don’t typically think of cinnamon buns. The city isn’t like Copenhagen with its slew of bakeries selling kanelsnegl or Stockholm with its kanelbulle shops. It isn’t even like American cities with Cinnabons and diners slinging the rolled, gooey pastries.
Thanks to folks like Oriol (Uri) Inglés Garcia, this situation is rapidly changing in Barcelona.
Garcia opened Candela Canela in February of 2018 in Gràcia. It’s a small space that’s big enough for a range of buns to be baked in back and specialty coffee to be brewed up front. It’s also big enough for a few tables, which is where we enjoyed an afternoon snack that paired a classic cinnamon roll with filtered coffee.
The combo, priced at 4.50€ during our visit, was a bargain considering the quality of the coffee brewed with beans roasted by Onawa Coffee Roasters in Zaragoza. Plus, the bun topped with a lemon-vanilla glaze was finger licking good.
Purchase one or more cinnamon buns to enjoy later if you’re not hungry or in a hurry.
Candela Canela is located at Carrer de Ros de Olano, 48, 08012 Barcelona, Spain.
To be honest, we didn’t go to Sil’s Cakes for its baked goods. Instead, we went to sample the bakery’s specialty coffee crafted with beans roasted locally by Harmony Coffee Roasters. Our plans immediately changed once we arrived at the tiny shop. Ordering one of Sil’s jumbo cookie creations was obviously mandatory.
To be clear, this Gràcia bakery doesn’t just sell cakes. It also sells cookies and brownies. And they’re all gorgeous.
Silvia Gozález, a former lawyer, clearly understands the concept of baking with butter and sugar. She bakes her cakes, cookies and brownies in an American-style seldom replicated in Europe.
Choosing one ooey-gooey cookie posed a challenge due to the range of cookies baked with Nutella, pistachios and Kinder bars. Flipping a coin, we ultimately chose a filled lemon cookie topped with meringue. Big enough to share, it wasn’t a good choice. It was a great choice.
Since Sil’s Cakes doesn’t have any table or chairs, plan to eat your sweet bounty picnic-style.
Sil’s Cakes is located at Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla, 62, 08012 Barcelona, Spain.
We discovered Chök in 2015, two years after the chocolate shop started making Barcelona sweeter in its original El Raval location near Las Ramblas. Resisting the shop’s cronut window display was simply not an option.
Temporarily blinded by a wall of donuts upon entering the shop, we found a happy place filled with all sorts of chocolate – chocolate cake, chocolate bars and drinking chocolate just to name a few. This shop’s tagline is Much More Than Chocolate, Much More Than Pleasure and we don’t disagree.
Don’t skip Chök if you follow a special diet. The chocolate shop has gluten-free and vegan options that you may adore.
Chök has multiple Barcelona locations. We visited the shop located at Carrer del Carme, 3, 08001 Barcelona, Spain.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: May 8, 2022