The best restaurants in Barcelona: 18 places to eat in the Catalan capital

Got a day to explore Barcelona? Here are the restaurants, bars and markets that are not to be missed.

Updated on • Written By Pete Dreyer

The best restaurants in Barcelona: 18 places to eat in the Catalan capital

Barcelona is a city blessed with a great many things - stunning architecture, great weather, world-class museums and a decent football team, but the city’s food scene is right among the best in Europe too. If you’re a food lover, you’ll find yourself right at home in Barcelona; life in the Catalan capital revolves around meals, from early morning coffee and crema catalana to a gentle lunch, a mid-afternoon snack and a long, leisurely dinner in the glow of the late evening sun. Restaurants in Barcelona truly offer up a sanctuary for tourists and locals alike, whatever the hour you're in need of sustenance. 

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Whether you're looking for high-end haute cuisine, or the best tapas Barcelona has to offer, this city has something for everyone. You’ll find that places to eat in Barcelona really blend the lines between bars and restaurants - locals will rarely if ever go out for a drink without having a snack, so all the city’s wine bars and vermuterias (vermouth bars - vermouth is very popular here!) offer some sort of food alongside, which can be anything from sharing plates of local cheeses and cured meats to classic tapas dishes. Tapas isn’t typical of Barcelona, but it has become extremely popular here and you can expect to find a quality bite pretty much anywhere you go.

Barcelona is also among the most international cities in Spain, and as a result it has a much more varied food scene than most other Spanish cities. Chefs from all over the world now call this city home, and you’ll find a wide spectrum of world cuisine here - indeed, many of Barcelona’s best restaurants aren’t Spanish restaurants at all, and a new generation of chefs are combining Spanish ingredients with new, international techniques at contemporary, forward-thinking restaurants. It’s fair to say, Barcelona is at the cutting edge of modern Spanish cooking.

We’ve also picked out a few must-visit spots for sweet treats, and a handful of bars too - Barcelona’s cocktail bars are regularly named among the very best in the world, so if you’re into immersive drinking experiences, these are not to be missed.

The best restaurants and tapas bars in Barcelona

Restaurants in Barcelona specialise in many things, from tasty tapas to fully-fledged fine dining. Scroll down for a pick of the best places to eat in Barcelona.

LomoAlto

What: Barcelona is a city of pork, fish and seafood, so finding great dry-aged beef here is something special. LomoAlto’s ageing is on point, and different cuts and breeds are marked Hawksmoor-style before being cooked over charcoal. Sure, you pay for it, but the quality is undeniable.
Where: Carrer d'Aragó, 285, 08009 

Vila Viniteca

What: Vila Viniteca is part wine shop and part delicatessen - head for the latter and you might just be able to snag one of the odd tables spread over its multiple mezzanine floors. Vila Viniteca supplies lots of the best restaurants in the city, so there’s no better place to pull up a chair and enjoy a few glasses of wine and platters of cheese and cured meats. Relax, you’re in good hands.
Where: Carrer dels Agullers, 7, 08003 

Virens

What: Barcelona has a varied culinary scene compared to most of Spain, but vegetarian and vegan food is still in its infancy here. That makes Virens even more impressive - Rodrigo de la Calle’s farm-to-table marvel is housed in the 5-star Almanac Hotel, and puts organic vegetables firmly in the spotlight with ingenious, delicious cooking. The Virens bar is also worth a visit.
Where: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 619, 08007

El Chigre 1769

What: Vermouth is a big deal in Barcelona - El Chigre is one of the city’s favourite vermuterias, and it also moonlights as a cider bar too. Head over for a glass of something cold, get stuck into some sharing plates and admire this lovely old building - yes, it has been here since 1769.
Where: Carrer dels Sombrerers, 7, 08003 

A Pluma

What: This is what happens when you combine rotisserie chicken with a former elBulli chef. The specials are pretty far out - there’s a chicken, apple and foie gras cannelloni on the menu, as well as chicken curry and chicken in mole sauce. They’re delicious no doubt, but stick to the classic half rotisserie chicken with roasties and you won’t be disappointed.
Where: Carrer del Rec Comtal, 7, 08003 

Bar Brutal

What: The natural wine and small plates formula at Bar Brutal will be familiar to many Londoners, but Venetian chefs Max and Stefano Colombo do it well, combining Catalan and Italian sensibilities in a seafood-heavy menu. Staff are especially knowledgeable when it comes to helping you pair wines.
Where: Carrer de la Princesa, 14, 08003 

Can Sole

What: Do you love seafood? Do you love rice? You’ll love the seafood rice at Can Sole, then. Can Sole has been serving up beautiful brothy arros caldos and paella for over a century, from a picturesque spot by the coast in La Barceloneta.
Where: Carrer de Sant Carles, 4, 08003 

Bar del Pla

What: Tables at Bar del Pla have become considerably harder to get since Spanish pop starlet Rosalia named it as one of her favourite Barcelona hangouts. If you can get in you’re in for a treat - fantastic atmosphere, excellent tapas at very reasonable prices, and perhaps even a bit of celeb spotting.
Where: Carrer de Montcada, 2, 08003 

The best food markets in Barcelona

Barcelona was designed in such a way that each sector of the city should have its own market to buy fresh vegetables, meat, fish and cheese as well as household items. You'll find good ones all over the city, but these two are our favourites. 

Mercat de Sant Antoni

What: Designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias in 1882, Mercat de Sant Antoni is one of the city’s more beautiful markets. Inside you’ll find meat, fish and cheese counters as well as bars, whilst outside is the place for clothing, homeware and on Sundays, collectible stamps.
Where: Carrer del Comte d'Urgell, 1, 08011 

Mercat del Ninot

What: Mercat del Ninot translates as ‘Doll’s Market’, but not because you’re likely to find any whilst you’re here - the market is named after the wooden figurehead of a ship, that was rescued by a local tavern. Come here for amazing fresh produce, then grab a seat at one of the bars and order a few tapas plates with a beer.
Where: Carrer de Mallorca, 133, 08036 

The best places for desserts in Barcelona

You can't visit this city without digging into a pot of churros and chocolate sauce, but there's plenty more in Barcelona for those with a sweet tooth. 

Rocambolesc

What: Jordi Roca - of the wildly famous El Celler de Can Roca - is the mastermind behind this Willy Wonka-esque ice cream parlour that sells gluttonous, towering ice cream tubs as well as chocolate bars, ice cream pops and sweets. Look out for the Rocanose - a strawberry popsicle made with a 3D mould in the shape of Jordi Roca’s nose.
Where: Teatro Liceu, La Rambla, 51, 08002 

Petritxol Xocoa

What: If you find yourself walking along Las Ramblas, dip onto Carrer Petritxol - Barcelona’s famous chocolate street - and have a look in the treat-laden window of Petritxol Xocoa. Chocolates and pastries abound, but if you're on the move just dip and go with some churros and chocolate.
Where: Carrer de Petritxol, 11, 08002 

Bubo

What: Bubo’s stunning patisserie creations are as much sculpture as they are dessert - as a result, the shop is often full of visitors taking pictures. Fortunately, everything here is as good as it looks, from the gorgeous geometric chocolates to the cakes and macarons.
Where: Carrer de les Caputxes, 10, 08003 

La Donuteria

What: No prizes for guessing what’s on offer here. La Donuteria whips up ten doughnut flavours a day, but don’t expect your usual vanilla and coffee icing - flavours get pretty crazy here. For every raspberry and lime, there’s an apple, bacon and maple syrup, or a curry and mango chutney. Who knew savoury doughnuts were so good?
Where: Carrer del Parlament, 20, 08015 

The best bars in Barcelona

Barcelona might just be one of the best cities in the world for drinks - the city has everything, from trailblazing cocktail bars, to gorgeous wine bars and vermuterias with tasty snacks. 

Dr Stravinsky

What: The Stravinsky team also own El Paradiso and a number of other good drinking establishments in Barcelona, but Dr Stravinsky has a real warmth to it, thanks to wood interiors and bold colours. Almost everything used here is made in house, and cocktails are on the experimental side so go with an open mind.
Where: Carrer dels Mirallers, 5, 08003 

ElDiset

What: Another bougie spot in the heart of El Born, ElDiset is low key but still has a nice buzz. The offering is straight-forward - Catalan wines, mostly available by the glass, and simple tapas. ElDiset is always busy so booking a table is advised.
Where: Carrer Antic de Sant Joan, 3, 08003

El Paradiso

What: Ranked number three in the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2021, Paradiso is quite something - a majestic bar, hidden behind a fridge door in a pastrami shop, where the drinks also double as light sources. If you love a great cocktail bar, Paradiso should be top of your list.
Where: Carrer de Rera Palau, 4, 08003

La Vinya del Senyor

What: Is there a better spot to enjoy a glass of wine in Barcelona than in front of the famous Santa Maria del Mar basilica? If there is, we haven’t seen it. As well as a wine list of over a thousand wines, La Vinya del Senyor also has a huge range of sherries available by the glass, as well as some simple tapas plates.
Where: Plaça de Santa Maria, 5, 08003

Food fanatics may also be interested to know that The Almanac Hotel in Barcelona offers a Barcelona Foodie Package, which costs €2,040 for two people and includes two nights at The Almanac as well as breakfast, dinner with wine pairings at Virens, a private tour of the nearby winery Bodega Torelló, a bespoke three-hour foodie tour of Barcelona and airport transfers to and from the hotel!

SquareMeal visited Barcelona as guests of The Almanac. 

Hungry for a taste of Barcelona but don't have the time to grab a flight? Check out our list of tapas restaurants in Central London.