When it comes to eating out, Barcelona puts on a spectacular show, directed by a new wave chefs who are pushing the bounds of Catalan cuisine. See our guide to the city’s top restaurants, chosen by local wine producers…
Top restaurants in Barcelona — recommended by the producers at Decanter’s Spain & Portugal Fine Wine Encounter 2018
Restaurants recommended by Pamela Anzano, from Cava producer Gramona:
Located in the trendy and sprawling L’Esquerra de l’Eixample neighbourhood, the Disfrutar restaurant earned itself two stars in the Michelin Guide 2018.
Following on from its successful sister restaurant Compartir meaning ‘to share’, Disfrutar, ’to enjoy’, captures a similar sense of haut Catalan cuisine paired with laid-back service and hands-on chefs — Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch. The trio cut their teeth at the world-famous elBulli restaurant, before teaming up to create their own restaurants.
On the way to your table, linger by the open kitchen to see the team’s skills in action. There are three tasting menus to choose from, but you won’t find the dishes listed on the website as the chefs believe an element of surprise is key. Book now
The curiously named Tickets is the brainchild of chef Albert Adrià, little brother of Ferran Adrià, of elBulli restaurant fame. Although his name carries a little less pomp than his brother, Albert fuels his menus with the same innovation — transforming several simple bar counters into a Michelin-starred destination.
The atmosphere is leisurely and the cooking is full of experimentation and a sense of fun — including dishes like the ‘mini airbag’ of manchego cheese foam with caviar, ‘crunchy suckling pig taco’, plus ‘mille-feuilles’ made with seaweed and sea urchins. To stave off thirst, Tickets has two sommeliers as well as a mixologist. Book now
La Barra de Abellán
After an afternoon or evening stroll along Sant Sebastià beach, head over La Barra de Abellán, overlooking the harbour side of the Barceloneta peninsula. Here you’ll find fresh seafood delicacies including razor clams, oysters, cockles, eels, sea urchins, squid lobsters and red prawns — a specialty of Barceloneta. If you want something from dry land, there’s Wagyu steak on offer.
It’s named after its owner, contemporary chef Carles Abellán, who’s also behind other Barcelona favourites like Suculent (Catalan spelling) and Bravo, which you’ll find in the Hotel W. Book now
Dos Palillos, or ‘two chopsticks’, is a Michelin-starred restaurant near Las Ramblas, which fuses local Catalan ingredients with Asian-style cooking — focusing on the traditions of Japan, China and Southeast Asia.
The link between the two seemingly dissonant cuisines is the shared idea of using basic utensils to enjoy food — chopsticks in Asia and the little wooden sticks used to spear tapas in Spain.
At the helm is Albert Raurich, a Barcelona-born chef who spent 11 years honing his skills at elBulli. Sommelier Tamae Imachi is on hand to help create interesting wine or saké pairings.
There are a few different dining options: slide your way to the counter by the entrance for casual à carte options, no reservations needed. Or book a spot further inside, where you can sample the extensive tasting menus. On warm afternoons and balmy evenings, there’s also the lantern-lit outdoor terrace.
If you can’t get a table, try its sister restaurant, Dos Pebrots, which is just round the corner and also comes highly recommended. Book now
The name Hoja Santa, or ‘sacred leaf’, harks back to a Mexican adventure involving its founders — chefs Albert Adrià and Paco Méndez, in which they became inspired by the Oaxaca leaf and its role in tamales and mole sauces.
Together they created this Mexican Michelin-starred restaurant in the up-and-coming Sant Antoni, neighbourhood near the south of the city.
There are a choice of two tasting menus, ‘Tenoch’ and ‘Pacific’, with the option of adding beverage pairings. Both are a heady mix of pre-Hispanic and Catalan cooking traditions, including dishes such as pickled nopales (cacti), local red prawns with macadamia mole and fava bean encremada. Book now
Restaurants recommended by Lucas Gailhac, brand amabassador for Familia Torres:
Part of a five-star boutique hotel to the north of the city, ABaC holds three Michelin stars and is led by Barcelona-born chef Jordi Cruz, a judge on Master Chef Spain.
It was noted by Michelin inspectors for its excellent wine list and you can even select your wine directly from the 1000-bin bodega. Visiting the kitchen is also encouraged and there’s a lit walkway for curious guests.
Reserve a seat outside on the garden terrace or in one of the delicately decorated dining rooms. There are two tasting menus to choose from: ‘Our Tradition’ and ‘Our Avant-Garde’. Menus highlights include toasted pine nut ice cream, tuna marrow, Bloody Mary macaroons and floral ice eggs. Book now
Walk through the hotel lobby in the Barcelona Mandarin Oriental, well-positioned on the Passeig de Gràcia, and you’ll reach its two-Michelin-star restaurant, Moments.
You can order à la carte or opt for the seasonally changing tasting menu, which focuses on culinary ‘ecosystems’ — including dishes daringly entitled ‘swamp’, ‘desert’, ‘tundra’ and even ‘aphotic abyssal’ (ask staff for full explanations).
Michelin inspectors noted its ‘particularly interesting wine list’, and ‘personalised’ wine pairing is available with the tasting menu, for an additional fee.
There’s a private chef’s table for serious gourmands, with just 15 seats and is only separated from the kitchen by a broad pane of coloured glass.
The chefs are the renowned mother-and-son team Carme Ruscalleda and Raül Balam. If you enjoy Moments, you can visit Ruscalleda’s other restaurant Sant Pau, located between Barcelona and Girona, which holds three Michelin stars. Book now
Celler de Can Roca
Although not technically in the city, Barcelona’s proximity to this restaurant in nearby Girona makes it worth a special trip. Why? It’s twice been ranked as the number one restaurant in the world, and currently holds no less than three Michelin stars.
Celler de Can Roca’s success comes down to the dynamism of the three Roca brothers, each with his own area of creative expertise. The eldest, Joan, is the head chef and youngest, Jordi, is the pastry chef, together they concoct the seven-course Classic and 14-course Festival menus.
But true oenophiles should make themselves known to middle brother Josep, the sommelier, who provides a wine list that weighs in like an encyclopaedia.
His ‘unique wine cellar with different sensory areas’ received high praise from the Michelin inspectors. Try and wangle a tour if you can, or at least plumb his wine knowledge for unexpected pairings.
The Roca brothers’ three-sided restaurant vision manifests itself in the triangular glass design of their restaurant, surrounding an inner garden. Book now
For a meal with a view, there are few places to match the heights of Dos Cielos, located on the 24th floor of the five-star Meliá hotel. Its glass walls offer a panoramic picture of the mountains, sea and city skyline. There’s also a roof terrace if you’d prefer to eat alfresco.
Brothers Javier and Sergio Torres have created its menu of market-fresh ingredients, which won two stars in The Michelin Guide 2018 — inspectors also complimented its excellent 200-bin wine list and ‘designer setting’. For bookings call +34 93 367 20 70
Basque chef Martín Berasategui is well known for his many Michelin stars, eight in total, of which his flagship restaurant Lasarte holds three.
The restaurant, on the ground floor of the Monument Hotel, was recently redesigned by a team of architects and it’s now filled with silvery lighting and an undulating ceiling. There’s a special chef’s table that seats eight, positioned for close observation of the kitchen action.
Choose from the à la carte menu, or the lavish 12-course tasting option, with wine pairing available from sommelier Marc Pinto. The wine list includes several hundred wines to choose from and was deemed ‘particularly interesting’ by the Michelin inspectors. Book now