There are hundreds of restaurants in Barcelona, and there are a number of websites that will help you pick which ones are the best. Here are some these websites to check out:
• Best Hip
• Hardest to get into. This restaurant called Tickets must be booked three months before you hope to go. Alternatively, try their sister restaurant across the street called Bodega 1900, which features the same chef.
Best of the Neighborhood
Our list is more focussed on the neighbourhood surrounding the flat. We have been to all of the eateries listed. Here is what we found memorable about our experience at each of them:
Betlem – Girona, 70
This is a popular place for tapas and late night noshing. It is small, lively and filled with locals. There is a creepy puppet in the upper bookshelves with eyes that seem to stare only at you. It doesn’t take reservations, so go early or be patient.
Gorria – Diputaciòn, 421
It couldn’t be closer and the food is good. The atmosphere is very old world and the waiters are all men wearing black suit jackets. The restaurant has been a fixture in Barcelona for a long time, and you’ll note a number of celebrities have their pictures framed on the wall. The cuisine features the best in authentic Basque fare. Reservations are recommended, and the prices are moderate to high.
Il Birino – Ali bei, 123
Stroll past Gran Via on Sicilia and make a left in front of the bus station to find our new favourite place in Barcelona for pasta. You’ve got to order the spaghetti made in house and boiled in a big wheel of parmesan cheese. Wow!!! We also strongly recommend the lasagna. Both dishes go down even better with one of their local craft beers.
La Pepita – Còrsega, 343
Hip and casual is the ambiance of this well-reviewed place just above of Av. Diagonal toward the Gracia neighbourhood. It’s very popular with locals and stays open late for drinks and tapas. Just a couple of doors away is it’s sister bar called Vermut, which is especially popular for vermouth cocktails.
El Nacional – Passeig de Gràcia, 24 bis
This new palace of Catalan dining has taken Barcelona by storm. It was formerly an underground parking garage and has been transformed into a scene from the 1920’s Great Gatsby era. It’s extremely popular with locals and tourists, and should be experienced as part of your visit. It doesn’t take reservations, but when you get there you will have to pick a food type and get your name on a wait list. There is a section for fish, steak, tapas and lighter fare including dessert. You can wait for your table at the bar where they serve meat and cheese, or at one that offers oysters. Alternatively, they will phone you when your table is available. Just walk or taxi along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes all the way to Passeig de Gràcia and it’s just to the right of the corner. Dress stylish and check out the washroom before you leave.
Cotton House – Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 670
This it the place to blow the budget! The restaurant is part of a hotel that recently refurbished a building that once housed the cotton industry in Spain. The surroundings are a gorgeous mix of old world elegance and modern style. The service is very attentive and the food beautifully prepared and plated. The paté bon bons were particularly memorable. There is an indoor restaurant open for lunch, tapas and dinner. On a beautiful day though, you should head out to the terrace and savour the tropical flowers. Be sure to stop into the library during the day and grab free, homemade marshmallows. At night, they also stock cookies by the reception desk.
Granja Petitbo – Passeig Sant Joan, 82
Follow Arago to Passeig Sant Joan and you’ll find our favourite place for breakfast and lunch. It’s also many other people’s first choice, so get there early or be patient. All you Canadians, check out the old Toronto CFRB radio station map on the wall that shows where all the major allied bombing occurred during WWII.
CHICHALimona – Passeig Sant Joan, 80
This is like two restaurants in one. If you get tired of waiting to eat at Granje Petibo next door, Limona is a solid option for pastries and café con leche. The Chicha side is an excellent choice for lunch and dinner, with a fun menu and great drinks. We especially liked the well designed tinned seafood that is available to purchase and enjoy at home.
Only a block down Sicilia is this wonderful spot, popular with locals, with a delicious Menu del dia for under 10 euros. The daily lunch feature consists of an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Be sure to try the black rice with seafood – a tasty Catalan favorite and usually the most popular dish on the menu. The menu completely changes for dinner, and the Catalan Grill sharing plate is a must.
Yubari – Av. Diagonal, 339 bis
It’s very hip to eat Japanese at this extremely cool and well-reviewed spot. They offer old and new style sashimi, and other tasty delicacies. On the first floor is a large CGI rendered scene of graceful underwater sea life swimming past your table.
La Rita – Aragó, 279
This is a very popular choice for a Catalan-style lunch. Get there early or join the line.
La Taqueria – Passatge de Font, 5
Need a break from Spanish food? Try this Mexican place for “Auténtica gastromia callejara mexicana.” This very casual eatery is also very popular, so make reservations or get there early. If you get tired of waiting in line, walk back to the corner of Passatge de Font and Valencia and go into Cantina la Mexicana. The food is good and they have a number of delicious margarita options.
Our recent favourites:
It’s new and fabulous. You will find it in the upscale neighbourhood of Eixample Esquerra, just down from the Diagonal and just south of Passeig de Gracia. The atmosphere is very eclectic (we especially loved the free vintage video games, including Ms PacMan) and the food is modern, Spanish and delicious (you must order the empanadas). Rumour has that there is even a Messi connection to it’s ownership.
Around the corner from Bellavista is a Bar that also tops the list of Best places for Gin & Tonic in our list above. Inside it, you feel like you’ve walked onto the set of Mad Men (in fact above our chairs the framed faces of Jon Hamm and John Slattery looked over us). The waiters are older men all wearing white jacket and bow ties. But, what was really special were the drinks. There are a number of wacky concoctions, including one that was served in a cat glass with a long tail that doubled as a straw. Our favourite, however, was a simple Gin & Tonic topped with shaved lime sorbet. We had to go back again a few days later because these were so good.
On the other side of town, closer to our flat in Poble Nou, is a fabulous tapas restaurant right on the neighbourhood ramblas. Unlike more traditional looking Spanish eateries, this one is very arty in a Keith Haring kind of way. Most importantly, the tapas are creative and taste fantastic.
This place only reinforces our opinion of Poble Nou as the new coolest barrio in town. Sant Antoni is a close second.