Here's where to eat and where to shop for the best food, according to José Andrés.
When I was six, my family moved to the Catalan capital. At 15, I enrolled in culinary school here, and I loved nothing more than visiting the central market, Boqueria, where I really started to understand the complex mix of cultures that make this such a fascinating place. Barcelona is a creative city—so many imaginative chefs, artists and architects have found their inspiration here.
Where to Eat in Barcelona
Bar La Plata: Carrer de la Mercè, 28; +34 933 15 10 09—Get fried sardines and tomato bread with anchovies.
Boadas Cocktails: Carrer dels Tallers, 1; +34 933 18 95 92—This cocktail bar, opened in 1933, is the oldest in the city. Order a dry martini from the waiter in a suit jacket and bow tie.
Bodega 1900: Carrer de Tamarit, 91; +34 933 25 26 59—Albert Adrià is one of the most brilliant minds of the 21st century, and this place is an excellent example of Barcelona’s return to tradition. It feels like a bodega, but with high-end cuisine.
Disfrutar: Carrer de Villarroel, 163; +34 933 48 68 96—Three alumni of El Bulli—Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch—banded together to open this Michelin-starred spot in 2014.
Dos Cielos: Carrer de Pere IV, 286; +34 933 67 20 50—A beautiful restaurant with a view, from the Torres brothers, Javier and Sergio.
Granja Elena: Passeig de la Zona Franca, 228; +34 933 32 02 41—A neighborhood restaurant that serves classic Catalan food. It’s Grandma’s cooking, if your abuela is the best cook in town.
Morro Fi: Carrer del Consell de Cent, 171—A small vermouth bar, the name comes from a Catalan expression for having a refined palate. .
Pinotxo Bar: Mercat de la Boqueria, Carrer la Rambla, 89; +34 933 17 17 31—I went here when I was a kid, and I still love visiting. The legendary owner, Juanito, mans the bar and will take good care of you.
Restaurant Sant Pau: Carrer Nou, 10; +34 937 60 06 62—Carme Ruscalleda is the matriarch of Catalan cuisine.
Rías De Galicia: Carrer de Lleida, 7; +34 934 24 81 52—This classic seafood restaurant shows off the outstanding products from northwest Spain—don’t miss the raw bar inside called Espai Kru.
Where to Shop in Barcelona
Boqueria: One of Europe’s largest and most amazing food markets.
Spotlight on a Dish: Mar I Muntanya
This Barcelona dish is a philosophy of life. You’ll find lobster and chicken, cigalas and chicken, many different expressions where something from the sea meets something from the land—this is the birthplace of surf and turf. Something from the sea and something from the land—that explains Catalunya.
The Best Beach Food on Earth
You find chiringuitos—tents serving fried seafood—all along the Spanish coast. These are my favorites.
- Málaga: Cafetería Bar El Ancla 011-34-952-336-502 (no website)
- Ibiza: El Chiringuito Ibiza
- Alicante: El Cranc Chiringuito
- Girona: Garbet
- Pontevedra: O Loxe Mareiro
- Palmones: Restaurante Casa Mané
Restaurant Spotlight: Alumni Friends
Friends of more than 30 years that I went to school with at Escola Superior d’Hostalería de Barcelona – they all have their own amazing restaurants in Barcelona.
- Núria Gironés: Ca l’Isidre—Núria is the pastry chef, after taking over from her father, the legendary Isidre Gironés. It’s an emblematic restaurant in Barcelona where since the very first day they brought high end service, food, and experience. The canelones are the best in Barcelona.
- Carles Abellán: Bravo, Tapas 24, Suculent, La Barra de Carles Abellán—Carles and I started our careers together in school and at elBulli, and he remains one of my oldest friends. He’s like me, with many different restaurants and concepts around Barcelona.
- Quim Marqués: Suquet de l’Almirall, Pepa Tomate, Paella Bar Boquería—Quim is like my older brother, he entered into the family restaurant business and has been hugely successful. He and his team come to Washington to help us at my restaurants, I will be forever grateful to him!
- Albert Raurich: Dos Palillos, Dos Pebrots—Albert does classic Barcelona and Catalan menu items, with a fusion twist. ‘Palillos’ refers to two things—chopsticks, but also toothpicks—so it’s a fusion between traditional Spanish tapas as well as Japanese cuisine in a harmonious, dense poetry.
- Sergi Arola: Arola—Sergi is a rock star—he was in a band when I first met him. He was one of the first chefs to bring tapas to the next level.