This city leads the way in cutting-edge international cuisine, but also retains its rustic roots with local tapas eateries on every corner that have been around since – well, forever – and yet have stood the test of time with both the locals and tourists.
We’ve picked out the best places to eat and drink in Barcelona, so you can spend your day tucking into tapas and sipping on sangria without a care in the world.
The best restaurants in Barcelona
Once a dusty car parking facility, El National is the product of an utterly amazing transformation, making it the first multi-space restaurant in Barcelona.
You’ll be utterly blown away by the quirky interior design of this space, and for traditional Spanish dishes made with high quality, local products – this is the place to go.
You’ll not only be wowed by the food, but the building itself – this impressive structure reflects the industrial architecture of the 1920s, and yet it serves up a unique atmosphere with its all-new concept of dining.
Combining four restaurants in one stunning space, you can take your pick from eateries specialising in meat, fish, tapas and rice, not to mention a choice of four distinctive bars serving local beer, wine, cava and cocktails. It’s a gastronomic experience like no other.
Els Quatre Gats
Catalan for ‘The Four Cats’, prepare to truly step back in time in this historic restaurant. This delectable café is most famous for being the meeting place for artists of the modernist period of the late 1800’s – including Pablo Picasso himself.
Located in the Gothic Quarter on a charming medieval side street, Els Quatre Gats is the perfect place to dine for a superb ambiance, fresh food, local wine and friendly service.
Tuck into the catch of the day – be it monkfish or langoustine – or anything from mussels in a rich garlic sauce to prime pork and perfectly-cooked calamari.
The Art Noveau interior is what makes this dining experience all the more special, and makes for very pleasant conversation for anyone into their art – especially as Picasso made his first two exhibitions in this restaurant.
Soak up the history of this bohemian venue as you admire the charm and character of its decorative flair – all whilst tucking into some of the tastiest food around. It’s a win-win!
Located in the bustling heart of La Boqueria Market, Bar Pinotxo is a truly authentic eatery. You’ll find it has rather limited seating – a handful of stools in front of its impressive food counter accompanied by a few tables and chairs – so you might have to wait a minute or two to grab a seat. But trust us, it’s worth it.
For a traditional Catalan meal, Bar Pinotxo can’t be beaten. For a start, you’re situated in the home of fresh produce, surrounded by colourful cured meats, top-notch seafood and just about every flavour you can imagine. So top that off with impeccable service and an atmosphere to match, and it’s clear you’re onto a winner.
Anyone who’s been here before will tell you to try the chickpeas – how amazing can chickpeas be, right? Even simple items here are bursting with flavour. Get ready to tuck into hearty, traditional fare, or if you fancy something sweet, the sugar-coated, custard-filled pastries are not to be missed.
This really is a unique dining experience – the delightful sights and sounds of this enchanting market, combined with amazing, fresh food. What could be better?
The best bars in Barcelona
Don’t let the name of this bar fool you – it couldn’t be any further away from a swanky London bar. Instead, this unpretentious, laidback local serves up a truly authentic Spanish atmosphere, often accompanied by live music from popular musicians within the community.
Situated just off La Ramblas, you’ll find there’s nothing flashy about this hidden gem. In fact, from the outside, you might not even think to venture in – but once you enter, you’ll soon realise why this little, loveable bar is so popular.
We’re talking about mojitos to die for and super-sized G&Ts, all at reasonable prices. The rustic décor makes you forget all about the big city just outside the door, and acts as the perfect retreat to retire from all the hustle and bustle of La Ramblas.
London Bar is one of Barcelona’s oldest bars, and art enthusiasts will be pleased to know that some truly interesting and philosophical conversations were once held here – it’s another venue that was frequently visited by Picasso!
Say hello to one of the most famous cocktail bars in the world. Dry Martini first opened its doors in 1971 and, surprise surprise, served only Dry Martinis!
God of the martini world Javier de las Muelas took on the running of the establishment in 1996, and you’ll find his menus and branding around the world, from Thailand to Rio and even London.
The cocktail menu has come on quite a bit since the bar first opened, now serving delightful drinks such as the ever-popular Gin Fizz, the firm favourite Margharitas and a wonderful Whisky Sours. You’ll also find a range of crazy concoctions on the list, too.
Dry Martini is your classic cocktail bar – with the leather, wood and brass décor adding to the stylish and sophisticated atmosphere. Bond himself wouldn’t look out of place here.
Its popularity even gained it a place on a list of the World’s 50 Best Bars, and they’ve served over a million martinis – so we’re pretty sure they know how to get them right.
Exotic cocktails and 360-degree views of the city? Sounds good to us! If you’re after endless drinks and simply stunning views, then this is the place to go.
This slick and colourful bar and restaurant is located in the Barceló Raval hotel, so it’s up to you whether you delve into the fantastic fusion cuisine on offer or simply stick to drinks.
From May to October however, the winning feature has to be the rooftop terrace, providing the most spectacular views over the entire of beautiful Barcelona.
Sit back, cocktail in hand, and be mesmerised by the stunning scenes before you. Or you can always use the binoculars to get a closer look at all the landmarks and monuments!
Things to do in Barcelona
Now that you know just where to go for the most fantastic food and drinks, you might be wondering what else there is to do in this superb city. Take a look at our guide on things to do in Barcelona!
Time to set sail?
If you’re ready to get going on your next adventure then take a look at our favourite itineraries heading to Barcelona here.