As one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, it comes as no surprise that Barcelona is also a true foodie paradise. No matter what you’re craving, you’ll find it all — from rustic, traditional Catalan fare to innovative, international fusion and everything in between. In no particular order, here are some picks for the top restaurants in Barcelona for every kind of palate.
Best Breakfast: Granja Viader
Start your day at a classic Barcelona institution that has won the hearts (and tastebuds) of five generations of locals. A traditional Catalan bakery famous for their homemade sweet treats, Granja Viader will transport you back to a simpler time, before we began to rush through (or even completely skip) breakfast. Grab a table in the corner and settle in with a good book, a pastry and a cup of coffee. And if you don’t have a sweet tooth, no worries — they have plenty of savory options available, too.
Best Traditional Catalan Food: Taverna El Glop
When you first step into Taverna El Glop, you’ll almost feel as if you’ve been whisked away from busy Barcelona to an rustic tavern out in the idyllic Catalan countryside. The warm, inviting interior; homestyle dishes and excellent service will make you feel as if you’re dining in the home of a lifelong friend. This place has become a reference for traditional Catalan cuisine, as well as a go-to in a city where picking out the authentic gems from among the tourist traps can be a bit of a challenge.
Best Wine Bar: El Diset
As the capital of Catalonia — home to 11 of Spain’s 70+ wine regions — Barcelona is ahead of the game when it comes to wine bars. With its low lighting and gorgeous modern decor, trendy El Diset is easily a standout. Here, the emphasis is on Catalan wines, with 20 varieties available by the glass. Can’t narrow it down? One of the friendly wine experts on staff will be happy to make recommendations. Their excellent wines pair beautifully with the selection of simple yet delicious tapas.
Best Traditional Tapas Bar: Bar La Plata
Not much has changed in the 70+ years that Bar La Plata has been open. Among the old standbys is the menu, which still consists of the same four tapas they’ve been serving since 1945. That’s right, only four — but as this timeless locale proves, tons of fancy innovation isn’t always necessary and sometimes simplicity is best. Prop up the bar with a tapa or two and a glass of wine poured straight from the barrel to get the full authentic experience.
Best Modern Tapas Bar: Bar Cañete
Several generations of proud family ownership have made Bar Cañete what it is: a timeless, classy joint reminiscent of the glamorous Barcelona bars of the past. That same philosophy holds strong with every tapa on the menu. They put innovative, modern twists on classic Spanish dishes, all of which use locally sourced ingredients and are prepared by expert chefs right before your eyes. Just don’t forget the wine.
Best Fine Dining Restaurant: Torre d’Alta Mar
One of the most exclusive restaurants in Barcelona can be found 75 meters above ground. Set in an old cable car station, Torre d’Alta Mar offers sweeping panoramic views of the city and coastline. The views are just the beginning of an unforgettable experience complete with fresh, elegant Mediterranean dishes that make up two equally fabulous tasting menus. Perfect for a celebratory evening with friends or a romantic, intimate meal with that special someone, it’s an icon on Barcelona’s rich fine dining scene.
Best Paella: Can Solé
Paella is not native to Barcelona—it hails from Valencia to the south. For many visitors, though, the rice dish is synonymous with must-try Spanish cuisine. Skip the tourist traps (identifiable from the outside by their sun-faded posters of bright yellow paella) and head to Can Solé, a onetime fishermen’s tavern-turned-lovely sit-down restaurant. Each paella is masterfully prepared to order, with the seafood varieties using fish caught off the coast just blocks away. It’s the type of place you hope never changes—and why should it, when it’s been doing things right for decades?
Best Brunch: Picnic
A few years ago, mentioning the word “brunch” in Barcelona would have resulted in confused stares from locals. That’s not the case anymore, with trendy cafés such as Picnic serving up excellent brunch menus full of favorites like scrambled eggs, pancakes and mimosas. The place itself wouldn’t feel out of place in New York, but maintains a distinctly European flair. All in all, it’s the perfect spot to kick-start your weekend morning with plenty of good food and good vibes.
Best Vegan & Vegetarian Food: Teresa Carles
Catalan chef Teresa Carles has been a true pioneer on the local vegan and vegetarian food scene for 40 years. In 2011, she opened her eponymous restaurant in Barcelona, which remains a reference for meatless and plant-based dining. In fact, their 100% vegetarian Mediterranean menu (which also includes plenty of vegan dishes) is so tasty that plenty of meat lovers consider themselves fans! In addition to fabulous food, the cozy, inviting restaurant itself brings together rustic and modern touches that will make you feel as if you’re dining in the home of a lifelong friend.
Best International Restaurant: Indochine Ly Leap
Take a trip to Southeast Asia without leaving Barcelona! Cambodian chef Ly Leap has transformed an unassuming corner of the city’s Esquerra de l’Eixample neighborhood into Indochine, an immaculate garden paradise where the flavors of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam come to life. From the jaw-dropping botanical interior to the rich, intense flavors, it’s a dining experience you won’t find anywhere else in Barcelona.