Where to eat, from urban street food to Michelin-starred tasting menus
Today, Eater returns to Barcelona, Spain to discover the newest drinking and dining destinations the Spanish city has to offer. Like last time, freelance writer Isabel Conde reveals her picks for the hottest bars and restaurants in the city, and it’s been a busy season: no fewer than 15 new openings are on her radar.
Vegetable-forward menus are having a moment in Barcelona, with several high-concept projects dedicated to all things green and leafy (Céleri, Quatre amb Cinc Mujades). On the other end of the spectrum, several nouveau steakhouses have emerged (in the form Solomilloand Lomo Alto), while Restaurant Estimar brings seafood to the forefront. And because no visit to Barcelona is complete without a little flair, there’s Opera Samfaina, a “culinary amusement park” featuring, among other concepts, an ice cream shop from Ale Rivas and celebrated pastry chef Jordi Roca (of El Celler de Can Roca).
Here now, and in geographic order, the Eater Heatmap to Barcelona:
At Restaurant Celeri, chef Xavier Pellicer — who was chef Santi Santamaria’s former right-hand and who has run several Michelin-starred restaurants — develops his most personal culinary project. Each menu features high-concept dishes made with only seven to eight seasonal vegetables, with three versions for each recipe: vegan, vegetarian, and with animal protein. If you pay a visit in the early winter, meet Barcelona’s green fever with leek, green bean, potato, pumpkin, tuber, cauliflower, and eggplant dishes. Besides the seasonal offerings, consider the beetroot gazpacho, the Chinese cabbage, and the green beans with potatoes must-taste dishes.
5, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
+34 932 52 95 94
2 Bellavista del Jardín del Norte
The very well-known Futbol Club Barcelona player Leo Messi is one of the main partners in this family restaurant located in the center of Barcelona. Thematically, Bellavista aims to represent any and every village in the world, creating a place where guests of all culinary trends and traditions could feel at home. How could they do that? By including some spaces which regularly are part of every village: the fountain, the shop, the cinema or theater, the church, the main square, the gardens, etc. Almost anything you can imagine is on the menu, from salads to hamburgers to dishes from Japan, Argentina, India, Italy, France, and more.
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
+34 938 56 29 49
3 Auto Rosellon
An old car garage can also be a great restaurant. Mediterranean ingredients and international influences from Italy to the Middle East are present in this charming spot, whose food is defined by its chef as “no tag cuisine.” As an additional clue to the restaurant’s bona fides, according to some information recently released in the Spanish press, this is one of the restaurants chef Ferran Adrià has visited recently.
182, Barcelona, Catalonia 08008, Spain
+34 938 53 93 20
Gresca and its brand new Gresca Bar are the best places to understand the meaning of the word “bistronomic”: Like the French “bistronomie,” the phrase refers to great food served at good prices. Ten years ago Gresca opened its doors, and now it’s reinventing itself. Just one kitchen feeds two concepts: the restaurant, with daily menus and tasting menus; and right next to it, a more casual bistro/wine bar with great wines. Please note that if you choose the wine bar you don’t have to resign yourself to “tapas”: You can also enjoy some dishes from the original Gresca, like mackerel with soybean and yogurt and the eggplant with parmesan cheese.Gresca/Instagram
230, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Also created by Enrique Valentí, at Solomillo (“Sirloin” in Spanish), the menu is entirely based meat and its most popular sides. Actually, you can choose almost any kind of meat and choose among a great offering of side dishes such as carrots, mashed potatoes, or green beans. Assemble your own favorite dish by choosing the meat, the breed, and the cut.Facebook
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
6 Restaurante Lasarte
The brand new three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Barcelona recently reopened its doors to the public after a big restyling. In terms of space, the restaurant acquired a sophisticated, modern look: more space, more light, and definitely more class, which helped satisfy a few more parameters in the red guide. The top tasting menu flaunts the signature of founding chef Martín Berasategui, but it also includes the personal touch of head chef Paolo Casagrande, especially present in some new dishes like royal red curry with scarlet shrimp and artichoke.Facebook
259, Barcelona, Catalonia 08008, Spain
Urban street food was the inspiration to open this brand-new restaurant in Barcelona. Ingredients and recipes from all around the world — from Korea to South America — inspire flavors in dishes such as the tempura salmon with seaweed (“Abriendo la lata,” which translates to “opening the can”), the crispy and caramelized General Tso Chicken, the grilled scallop with tupinambo purée and violet potato, and the Korean pork jawl ssam. Both chefs and waiters are dressed up in “orange-jail” jumpsuits because they are “prisoners of their cooking passion.”
Barcelona, Catalonia 08037, Spain
8 Lomo Alto & Lomo Bajo
Meat is all around. In this restaurant located very close to Paseo de Gràcia, it is all about dry-aged meat and beef under controlled conditions. The chef behind this innovative project is Carles Tejedor (culinary director of El Nacional and Oil Lab) and even the modus operandi is surprising: The waiters show the different parts of the meat to the guests and provide information about aging time, weight, breed, and price.
283, 08009 Barcelona, Spain
The same chef behind the Louis 1856, Jordi Vilà, is the creator of the new Alkimia. Originally located in a very residential area, his Michelin-starred restaurant is now located in the upper floor of the building next to Moritz beer manufacturing site. This tasting menu restaurant serves high nouvelle cuisine in a very unique space — a mix of modern and traditional — in which the flavor is the main character. Consider this must in your visit to Barcelona.
41, Principal, Barcelona, Catalonia 08011, Spain
Located in the basement of the Barcelona’s beer manufacturer Moritz, this restaurant is a typical brasserie, understood as place where beer is made and tasted with some very representative French dishes: pâté en croûte, gougère, and even the Omelette Surprise for the dessert. Re-discover the best of the Parisian culinary culture from the last century: Are you willing to travel in time?
41, Barcelona, Catalonia 08011, Spain
11 Dos Pebrots
Chef Albert Raurich, the mastermind behind the Michelin-starred restaurant Dos Palillos, has opened this new and more casual concept. Dos Pebrots offers traditional Catalan and Mediterranean recipes from decades and even centuries ago which the chef, Albert Raurich (Restaurante Dos Palillos), has rediscovered and reinvented thanks to his research with the Bullipedia project. Want a unilateral pinenut omelette with garum or some “salting sauvage” salmon with hazelnut oil? It’s definitely far away from the clichéd tapas menu of croquettes and patatas bravas.
Barcelona, Catalonia 08001, Spain
12 Restaurant Estimar
If you feel passion for sea products, Estimar is the place to go. Chef Rafa Zafra worked for the el Bulli restaurant machine for a long time, and now manages this family restaurant in Barcelona where the raw materials, mainly from the sea, are the main character. Don’t miss the smoked mussels with onion and vinegar vinaigrette and the scampi carpaccio.
3, Barcelona, Catalonia 08003, Spain
13 Opera Samfaina
Opera Samfaina is not just a restaurant, it’s a culinary amusement park — set up like an upscale food court with fantasy-world touches — located in one of the most emblematic theatres in Barcelona, the Liceu. Along with a very casual and fun tapas menu, you can also enjoy the unique ice cream creations from the youngest Roca brother, Jordi Roca, and his wife Ale Rivas, in the Rocambolesc ice cream shop.
14 Quatre Amb Cinc Mujades
In Quatre amb Cinc Mujades, vegetables are the main character and the animal protein — present in stocks, sauces, and garniture — is just a complement. Barcelona has recently been getting greener in terms of food: healthy, vegetarian concepts are rising all around. Don’t miss the pil pil topinambos, the “trinxat” croquettes, and the “callos sin callos” (a classic casserole of veal tripe and chickpeas — but served here without the veal tripe). Who said vegetables were boring?
Barcelona, Catalonia 08001, Spain
15 Marea Alta
At Marea Alta, submit to the charm of the best grilled fish and city views in town: It’s located on top of the Columbus Monument. Enrique Valentí, entrepreneur and chef, has created this restaurant in front of the sea, so you definitely cannot miss seaside recipes like “Donosti (Basque Country region) style fish stew” and the grilled sardines with tomato.
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain