Barcelona has been one of the world’s food capitals since the ‘90s, when some of the finest Catalan chefs began traveling overseas and showing off what they could do: José Andrés, Ferran Adrià and his brother Albert, and Carme Ruscalleda are the living proof of this.
Today, Barcelona is home to both amazing fusion cuisine and some of the most traditional cooking in Spain. (Along with the Basque country, the city has one of the richest and most complex culinary histories in the country). There are even combinations of the two. The selections on the list below cover all these categories.
Fine dining in Barcelona can be expensive, especially if you decide to indulge in a good bottle of wine along with your meal; the best restaurants here have cellars stocked with top vintages from all over the globe. But even so, if you compare the final price with similar experiences in London, New York or Paris, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
This is simply one of the best tables in the city. Albert Adrià’s "tapas with a twist" are always a sure bet in Barcelona, and the restaurant itself—a kind of a circus with tributes to film and theatre—is worth a visit in itself. My recommendation: Ask for the tasting menu and choose a good bottle of Priorat (Cims de Porrera 2006 or 2007 for example) as accompaniment.
The Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona has always been a good place to eat. They have a couple of great restaurants and one of these is Moments, which serves the traditional Catalan cuisine of chef Carme Ruscalleda, along with some unexpected extras. Ask for the tasting menu (twelve courses) and you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not feeling 100 percent, order the VGA, a special menu curated by a popular Spanish doctor to restore your body-mind balance.
I adore this place. The cooking is fresh, daring and delicious—and different from anything else you’re likely to find in Barcelona. The chef, Oriol Ivern, works with seasonal produce and combines his knowledge of Catalan tradition with a wonderful Asian touch that shows up in every dish. Try the mushrooms at any time of year; they’re sensational.
This restaurant is a Barcelona classic and a fantastic excuse for a great meal. Its cooking is based on an absolute respect for old-school Catalan cuisine, cooked to perfection and served in a superb location (in summer and spring, book a table on the terrace). I like to ask for the six-course menu ($130 per person, including wine). The incredible scallop burger is impossible to forget.
This is possibly the biggest underdog in Barcelona when it comes to excellence in cooking. The chef, Isidre Soler, has worked with the best cooks in Catalonia and his restaurant is a kind of résumé that shows off everything he has learned along his culinary journey. I’d say that his cod ‘pil-pil’ is one the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. Go there one day for lunch and try the fixed-price menu; you’re sure to come back.