The Spanish city has everything from an avant-garde Asian spot to a Catalan-centric wine center with electronic lists. For more great restaurants, check out our guide to the world’s best places to eat.
Dos Palillos’s spring rolls. © Javier Salas
- For nine years, Albert Raurich was executive chef for Ferran Adrià at El Bulli. At his solo venture he serves stylish Asian dishes, from exceptional dim sum to Adrià-inspired snacks like a poached egg in chilled dashi with freeze-dried soy crystals.
- We loved: Sake-marinated monkfish liver with yuzu gelée.
- Insider tip: Try an Inedit, a rich Spanish beer bottled for Adrià and his acolytes.
The city’s top chefs shop at La Boqueria Market, then congregate around Quim Márquez Durán’s tiny counter arrayed with incredible seafood, vegetables and mushrooms. Beyond the fantastic meals, it’s a great place to hear the city’s food gossip.
We loved: Baby squid with fried eggs.
Carles Gaig is one of Barcelona’s most beloved food personalities, but his Michelin-starred flagship, Gaig, was pricey. So he opened this big, affordable brasserie in the Eixample district. One of the New Catalan menu’s highlights: cannelloni with a foie gras–enriched filling.
We loved: Tubular pasta baked with Parmesan cream.
Streamlined bistros by talented young chefs are a big trend in Barcelona, and this diminutive, spare white storefront is one of the best. Chef Rafael Peña uses modern, but not too avant-garde, techniques to create dishes like “souffléed” egg with cured ham cream.
We loved: John Dory with cockscomb, artichokes and walnuts.
Insider tip: Peña’s $24 lunch menu is one of the city’s best bargains.
After working at visionary dessert restaurant Espaisucre, thirty-something owners Santiago Rebés and Fidel Puig recently opened this narrow, tiled storefront. The menu is both high-concept and gently priced.
We loved: Creamy rice with foie gras and cockles.
Hot Food Zone: La Barceloneta
A restored market called Mercat de la Barceloneta has reinvigorated this seaside district.
Àngel Pascual’s casual spot has outdoor tables and a terrific $17 lunch prix fixe with flavorful seafood black rice.
This tapas bar is famous for fast-talking counter-men who deliver crisp potatoes with aioli and spicy tomato sauce.
Regulars line up at this historic, lunch-only tavern for impeccable—and cheap—grilled squid and sardines.
Pascual scored a Michelin star at his minimalist dining room in the market for such modern Catalan dishes as pork confit with mint oil.
Wine Mecca: Monvínic
This tech-loving wine library, bar and restaurant, with its unfinished oak–and–stainless steel interior, is stunning. In the dining room lined with communal tables, computer screens display the eclectic 3,500-label wine list, with bottles from Burgundy, Priorato and even Britain, and dozens of by-the-glass selections. The menu of wine-friendly Catalan dishes is projected onto the walls.
We loved: The salad of rich butifarra garlic sausage and chanterelles.