Many strange and interesting people visited the restaurant during its long history, among them Josep Casas, a well-known Catalan of 19th century who built an enfilade of buildings in Isabel II Boulevard and canaries who sang there in 20th century when this place became a music café. You’ll see history everywhere: in white tail-coats of waiters, old-fashioned table setting and menus some of which were held by Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, and his wife Queen Sofia.
Where: Pg. Isabel II, 14 M: Barceloneta
This restaurant opened its doors 228 years ago. It is included into Guinness World Records as the oldest restaurant of Barcelona. According to the legends its name derived from a Catalan word ‘culleretes’ (spoons) as this is the first place in Barcelona where metal spoons and forks came into use. Since 1786 lots of famous people visited the restaurants. Some of them can be seen in the pictures decorating the walls. The owners of the restaurant often say: “We’re like a museum of photography”.
Where: Quintata, 5 M: Liceu
Els 4 Gats
As a good dinner without a glass of wine can’t be imagined as you can’t tell the story of Barcelona without mentioning its “4 Cats”. It was opened by Pere Romeu who had worked for several years in a restaurant of Paris. He wanted to make it something like Le Chat Noir cabaret and the idea was supported by local Bohemia. This is the place where young Picasso had his first exhibition. Now Els 4 Gats is more visited by tourists than by artists but it keeps its special aura.
Where: Montsió, 3 M: Catalunya
Two chiefs of Moments Carme Ruscalleda and her son, Raul Balam, won two Michelin stars for it. They can transform any food into the finest and most delicious. So, if you want not to eat but to enjoy food you should definitely visit the restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hotel where the first lady of cuisine rules.
Where: Passeig de Gràcia, 38 M: Passeig de Gràcia
In a small restaurant not far from Sagrada Familia Jordi Villas rules. At the beginning of 2000s he was a pupil of a pastry cook at Baixas de Barcelona and now he is one of the youngest and most advanced cooks of Europe. The menu of Alkima depends on the season of the year. The only constant thing here is aesthetics of minimalism. And even medium-rare beefsteak, stewed assorted fish and sea food are under its reign.
Where: Indústria, 79 M: Sagrada Familia
The name of the restaurant’s chef is Rafael Pena. He is one of the Catalan whose love to the traditions helps him to create something new. He uses different techniques such as contrast for example. Visitors and culinary critics assure his strange dishes including foie gras, octopus, botifarra and bananas is very delicious. They also advise not to leave the restaurant without tasting his signature dish pigeon with.
Where: Provenca, 230 M: Diagonal
If you want to visit a real Catalan restaurant at the sea, you should go to Can Solé. Opened in 1903 it is one of the most reputable restaurants of Barcelona where locals like to have their meal. Being offsprings of seamen they are experts in octopuses and squids. The second part of its visitors consists of French tourists who like to have rice and sea food there. This is the place where you can try real paella!
Where: Sant Carles, 4 M: Barceloneta
This is the place where you can try giant lobsters which have just been taken out of the waters of Costa Brava. All of them are made according old Catalan recipes which are never changed in order to please fashion or somebody’s taste. The restaurant is always full with tourists taking tables on the terrace to sip wine, have tasty sea food and watch beautiful lamps of Queen’s Square made by young Antonio Gaudi.
Where: Placa Reial, 8 M: Drassanes
Cal Pep is one of Barcelona stamping grounds. Every evening you can see a long queue at the restaurant door. Lots of natives and tourists want to enter this empire of shell fish, octopuses and jamón. Attractive prices are also a good motive for food lovers to visit this place.
Where: Placa de les Olles, 8 M: Jaume I
Opened in 1929, in a short period of time this restaurant became very popular among local Bohemia who came here to have dinner after performances at Teatre del Raval. Then and now this restaurant is popular with its perfect Catalan cuisine: sea food, beef steaks, and grilled vegetables. The interior of Can Lluis looks like the one of a restaurant in the 1900s: the portrait f Don Lluis and his wife on one of the walls and the trace of the bomb thrown by anarchists in 1946.
Where: Cera, 49 M: Sant Antoni
Thick wooden beams, lamps made of steering wheels, colored tesseras showing scenes of pastoral life. This restaurant appeared on the map of Barceloneta in 1921 due to the efforts on nowadays owner’s Grandfather. Senior Paco usually sits at the bar counter meeting visitors. He personally came up to those who visit the restaurant for the first time and asks them what they want to order. His son also works here, he’s a waiter. You should visit this place if you want to feel an aura of a family restaurant.
Where: Almirall Aixada, 12 M: Barceloneta
The mistress and the soul of the place, Rosa Gilles, is a granddaughter of that Leopoldo whose name we see on the sign. She often tells the story of the restaurant opening when just one visitor came to it but twice. Casa Leopoldo is worth visiting especially if you want to taste something like stew of bulls’ tails which is really perfect here.
Where: Sant Rafael, 24 M: Liceu
This restaurant began to habituate Barcelona to tasty and health food in 1980s. It was difficult to believe the restaurant to be a success. It seemed that Ramblas with its paella smell on the right and Sant Antoni with its pork cult on the left gave no chance Biocenter to survive. But it is still alive and is known as a fashionable vegetarian restaurant with attractive prices and Monday Tango lessons.
Where: Pinor ortuny, 25 M: Catalunya
Rasso Terra is the place that should definitely be visited by those who think is something boring and tasteless. Local chef and her team are real masters of cooking. They break stereotypes and think that food should bring not only some physical pleasure but aesthetic one. You’ll understand what we are talking about when see purple potato in Pesto sause.
Where: Palau, 5 M: Liceu
Cat Bar is a vegetarian bar where you can try a delicious meat free hamburger and Catalan tap beer. The prices are affordable and cuisine is really good here. After lunch at Cat Bar your walk round El Born will be funnier and merrier.
Where: Boria, 17 M: Jaume I
You will be surprised but they don’t have sushi at all. With a discreet smile they are waiting for those they are waiting for those who want to try the everyday dishes of the Japanese: miso soup, rice with chicken and eggs and noodle soup with pork and vegetables. Wine list also breaks stereotypes and contains Shōchū, liquor made of rice, barley or batata.
Where: Diputació, 140 M; Urgell
If you have a desire to go to India but you can’t, visit Rangoly. Its mission is to get Barcelonans acquainted to Indian food that comes from different regions f the country. Their chef will help you to have a perfect trip. His dessert list is worth clapping. And what about lamb or chicken mad in a real tandoor with Indian spices?
Where: Pg. de Joan de Borbó, 78 M: Barceloneta
This Argentinean restaurant celebrated its 15th birthday last year. Big but cozy with the hall empaled by stairs and a bar. The restaurant’s cuisine is vast and marvelous, so, it won’t be an easy task to choose a dish when you see the menu for the first time. We advise you to try their 300-gram entrecote. By the way, the meat is delivered directly from South America.
Where: Princesa, 53 M: Jaume I
Composer Gaetano Donizetti entered world culture history with his operas and the restaurant having his name is famous among Barcelonans due to its pasta and carpaccio. The restaurant’s menue changes from season to season. Autumn brings mushrooms, summer adds asparagus, and winter menu includes ravioli with meat and cheese, pasta with sea food and Caesar salad. And what tasty Tiramisu they have!
Where: Diputació, 137 M: Urgell
Les 3 Pommes
This French café is very popular. We think the thing is their pan cakes. They are absolutely like those cooked by Grannies in Brittany or Normandy. They are open in evenings, from 8 till midnight. If you are very hungry, order some cheese, pate or salad. In this case waiting of the main course won’t be long. They offer lots of fillings for their pan cakes of buckwheat flour: from cheese with ham, to chicken braised in apple cider.
Where: Arago, 150 M: Hospital Clinic
Walls are decorated with animals’ skins and lamps made of copper, tables are covered with colored cloths on which glasses full of cherry compot stand. Over the tables light smell of Romanian chops flows. It’s amazing but all these can be found in the very centre of Sants.
Where: Provenca M: Sants Estació