Top Restaurants and Bars in Barcelona
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.
128 Carrer de Sant Pau
It’s as much about the atmosphere as the cocktails at this historic confectioner’s shop turned bar, which retains many of the glorious details of its former life. Display windows now serve as nooks for small tables, the long wood counter has been converted into a bar, and shelves that once held sweets today display bottles of booze. The frescoed ceilings and tile floors dating back to 1912 are still intact. It’s a sophisticated setting for imbibing elegantly crafted cocktails; try a classic old-fashioned or an inventive signature drink like El Confitero—a mix of fig, apricot, egg whites, sherry, and whiskey, served in a jelly jar and tied with a ribbon.
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 Abellán, which takes a refined approach to traditional home cooking without being pretentious. To that end, the narrow dual-level space, a former bodega, is simply decorated with rustic wood furniture, forest-green walls, and a ceramic-tiled, marble-topped bar. The menu is divided into categories of small dishes—From the Sea, From the Mountain, From the Orchard—plus a few versions of classic Spanish stews. Leave room for the homemade desserts: The soft, silky Brie cheesecake is divine. Reservations are essential.
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 mosaics. Each of the four eateries inside has a distinct design and cuisine: La Llotja specializes in seafood; La Brasería is all about grilled and a la plancha meats; La Paradeta showcases Iberian cheeses and cured meats; and the buzziest spot, La Tapería, serves up hot and cold tapas. The central hubs are the Wine Bar and the Beer Bar, where you can sample a variety of local Catalan drafts. And at the intimate circular Oyster Bar, you can taste famed Galician oysters, as well as caviar, Norwegian salmon, and king crab.
38-40 Passeig de Gràcia
Barcelona’s skyline is on full display at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona’s posh rooftop terrace. Soak up views of Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló while sipping a pisco sour and feasting on fresh ceviche and sushi from the Peruvian-inspired menu created especially for Terrat by acclaimed chef Gastón Acurio. Sample a variety of tiradito (spicy raw fish) and maki—the colorful Chalaco Maki, with fried prawns, shrimp ceviche, avocado, and sweet potato in a peppery rocoto sauce is a standout. Terrat is open seasonally from April to October; non–hotel guests can enter after 6 p.m. Tip: Book a table reservation for sunset hour; the sun sinking behind the surrounding mountains is a spectacular sight. If the weather isn’t cooperating, the hotel’s ritzy Banker’s Bar is a great spot to splurge on a cocktail.
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 portioned dishes at surprisingly affordable prices. Start with the salmon tartare with wasabi ice cream or tuna tataki on flatbread; mains include grilled octopus nestled atop sweet potatoes and drizzled in a smoky olive oil, and cannelloni stuffed with traditional butifarra sausage and mushrooms. Prices range from 4.50 to 12.90 euros (approximately $5 to $14). Service is friendly and efficient.
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 doesn’t have a fixed menu; rather, the kitchen offers a daily selection of seasonal, locally sourced small plates. There are Spanish stalwarts like patatas bravas, pan con tomate, and Ibérico ham, but it’s worth trying the specials, which might include a rich dish of braised oxtail atop polenta, or osso buco with sweet potatoes. A small but well-curated selection of Spanish wine, cava, and craft beer is available—if you’re feeling daring (or thrifty), order a 3 euro ($3.35) pinguino, a penguin-shaped carafe of rustic local wine.
Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents, 1 Final, Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 08039 Barcelona, Spain
It’s got trendy cocktails, DJs, and a fashionable crowd, but the real reason to head to this swanky lounge is for the views—of the sea, the sky, and the whole of Barcelona below. Located 26 stories up, on the topmost floor of the renovated oceanfront W Hotel, the sleek bar is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glass; there’s simply no better spot to watch dusk fall and the lights of Barcelona twinkle on than from a coveted window seat here. The cocktail menu changes seasonally, but mainstays include the watermelon martini and passion fruit martini; there’s also a rather good sushi menu. DJs start spinning at 11 p.m. on weekdays, midnight on weekends, and that’s when the party really gets started—after all, nothing happens in Barcelona before 10 p.m. Be sure to reserve a table in advance, and dress smartly.
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 white-marble-topped bar. It’s an ideal spot for a glass of wine—the daily pours are listed on the chalkboard—and pica pica (small bites). There’s also a restaurant at the back with more formal seating. You’ll find a sophisticated take on typical Catalan tapas and dishes (the burger is also particularly good). The bar seating lends itself to solo dining and exquisite people-watching.
Carrer de la Princesa, 14, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Natural wines are all the rage these days, but this interconnected wine shop and tapas bar in El Born was one of the pioneers of Barcelona’s vin vivant movement when it opened in 2013. You can choose from a lengthy list of natural Spanish and European wines; it also stocks some 300 bottles from organic and biodynamic producers. The Can Cisa wine shop entrance is on Carrer de la Princesa, while you can enter the Bar Brutal restaurant directly from Carrer Barra de Ferro. Bar Brutal’s taverna decor is understated—exposed wood rafters, bistro tables, a long bar with high stools—with a few clever touches like mounted heads of a pig, chicken, and cow. The menu is similarly unpretentious, offering local specialties such as anchovies in olive oil and pata negra jamón.
5 Carrer dels Mirallers
Imagine a cross between a laboratory and a cocktail bar and you’ll have the successful experiment that is Dr. Stravinsky. In this dimly lit, dual-level space, surrounded by herb-filled glass jars, bubbling flasks, and test tubes, bartenders precisely pour, stir and shake various ingredients—including house-made tinctures, bitters, and syrups—with the skill of scientists. Expect inventively flavored concoctions like the Camp Nou, a refreshing mix of house-distilled gin and dill, thyme and cilantro syrup, and El Suculento, with tequila, mezcal, pepper syrup, and fresh coriander. No wonder that it garnered 2017’s Best New European Bar at the Mixology Bar Awards.
Av. de Francesc Cambó, 14, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Mainland Europe’s first (and currently only) outpost of Ian Schrager’s trendy Edition hotel brand is topped by one of the city’s most scenic drinking spots. The indoor/outdoor bar, overlooking the red-tiled roofs of the surrounding El Born neighborhood, offers panoramic views that span from the sea to the mountains and include highlights like La Sagrada Familia and the Barcelona Cathedral. Vistas are best enjoyed on the sprawling wraparound terrace: Grab an east-facing daybed for views of the ocean; tables on the western side are ideal for sunsets. There’s a concise cocktail menu, a solid wine card featuring French and Spanish varietals, and several sakes available by the glass.
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 621, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Among the sea of rooftop bars across Barcelona, Azimuth, atop the newish Almanac hotel, is one of the few that can be enjoyed year-round. The glass-enclosed lounge overlooking the Gran Via offers nice city views but it’s out on the spacious wraparound terrace that you’ll want to park yourself, on a cushy white sofa with a stellar perspective of La Sagrada Familia’s striking towers. (Even in winter, heat lamps and cozy fleece blankets keep things warm al fresco.) Along with a well-conceived seasonal cocktail menu, there’s an especially good wine list that features several Austrian and German wines by the glass—rare in this Spanish-wine-dominated city. The low-key, sophisticated space gets a bit buzzier on weekend evenings when local DJs spin tunes until 1 a.m.
Carrer del Dr. Dou, 5, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Though Barcelona is hardly the epicenter of paella (that would be to the south, in Valencia), this hands-on culinary workshop/dining experience offers a fine introduction to what’s arguably Spain’s most famous dish. Set in an appealingly hip Raval-area space featuring soaring ceilings, exposed brick walls, and industrial lighting, the class starts with a welcome glass of cava along with a brief overview of paella from founder Alex Betolaz and chef Alex Villar. Don an apron at your cooking station, but don’t expect anything too labor-intensive; ingredients are, for the most part, already prepared, though you will do a bit of chopping, pouring, and stirring. (You can book your paella preferences ahead of time, and vegetarian options are available.) Then you’ll gather around a long wood table and sample various Catalan specialties along with your paella (and there’s usually plenty of sharing going on). Choose from three different paella-making experiences, starting at €50/per person for two courses and going up to €85 for multiple courses plus unlimited wine.