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The Best Restaurants in Barcelona

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Part of Barcelona's undeniable allure is its food: Catalan cuisine has romanced travelers with its greatest hits: paella, tapas, late-night dinners, tissue-thin slices of ham, street food, churros, breakfasts that stretch into afternoon, and Spanish wine. In the years since Ferran Adrià shook the food world awake with the experimental cuisine of his tiny El Bulli, Spanish cuisine has found new respect and attention, from its smallest rustic bodegas to spectacularly modern dining rooms. 
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Carrer de Tamarit, 91, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
The man behind this humble sliver of a restaurant is none other than Albert Adrià, who, with his brother, Ferran, introduced molecular gastronomy to the world at El Bulli. That famed three-Michelin-star spot shuttered in 2011, but the chef...
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Carrer de Pujades, 187, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
Escape the hordes of tourists and head east of the city center to Poblenou, a quiet, leafy, residential neighborhood that boasts a number of excellent under-the-radar restaurants. Among them is this gem just off the Rambla del Poblenou—a...
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Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 30, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
For oceanfront dining, Agua is a good bet among the tangle of so-so restaurants lining the city’s beaches. The Mediterranean menu focuses on fresh, simply prepared seafood, and there’s also a quality selection of Spanish rice dishes,...
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Carrer d'Enric Granados, 147, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
Set on one of the city’s prettiest streets, the café-filled Carrer d’Enric Granados, this trendy bistro is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—but prime time is early evening, when locals stop by for a drink at the long...
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Rambla del Raval, 45, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
In the increasingly gentrifying El Raval neighborhood, along the leafy main avenue of Rambla del Raval, a whole host of restaurants, cafés, and bars are popping up. Among them is this intimate bistro from noted Catalan chef Carles...
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Carrer de Floridablanca, 140, 08011 Barcelona, Spain
You can grab pizza, pasta, and salads here, but most folks come to El Laurel for just one thing: the empanadas. Mix and match among 15 different varieties priced at just 2.20 euros (about $2.50) each. The flavor combinations are far from typical:...
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Carrer de la Palla, 8, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Set among the labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter, this café offers a delicious selection of cakes, tarts, cookies, and other desserts—all baked by nuns from convents and monasteries around Spain. There are truffles from the...
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Passeig de Gràcia, 24 Bis, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Tucked inside a renovated former 19th-century factory near Passeig de Gràcia, this temple to Spanish gastronomy is housed in a breathtaking modernist masterpiece, with soaring vaulted ceilings, vintage lighting fixtures, ceramic tiles, and...
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Carrer de la Marina, 19-21, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
It doesn’t get more traditionally Spanish than tapas and vermouth, and Arola offers a great introduction to both. Reserve a table on the breezy terrace—with views of the ocean and Frank Gehry’s iconic fish sculpture—and...
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Carrer de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats, 18, 08012 Barcelona, Spain
Set in the trendy Gràcia neighborhood, this lively, convivial tapas bar is a magnet for hip locals seeking a modern twist on traditional Catalan cuisine. The creative young kitchen staff turn out an array of fresh, inventive, generously...
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Carrer del Roser, 82, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
After a day spent exploring Montjuïc's gardens and museums, this cozy corner restaurant in nearby El Poble-Sec makes for an ideal dinner stop. Simply decorated, with bright green walls, a long wood bar, and a handful of tables, La Platilleria...
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Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 17, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Restaurants abound in the heavily touristed Gothic Quarter, but few of them are particularly good. Irati is one of the exceptions, a bustling spot popular with locals thanks to its excellent pintxos, traditional Basque tapas served on bread and...
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Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
Forget Google Maps: You’ll quickly locate this venerable tapas bar in El Poble-Sec by the line out the door. With standing-room-only space for just 20 people, this sliver of a spot fills up fast—and stays that way until closing time....
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To my taste, the best restaurant in town at all levels: the food is exquisite, they have a large traditional Catalan menu, the service is excellent (waiters know the menu and the wines very well), and the decoration is carefully thought out,...
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A lot of the best places to eat on the cheap in Barcelona are a little out of the way. For a truly local experience, and the fastest tapas in town at ridiculously cheap prices, try on La Esquinica (the little corner) for size. Do as the...