Our neighbours to the north are renowned for their creative cuisine, and these five spots are our favourites for bringing the finest of French cooking to Barcelona.
The best restaurants in Barcelona for French cuisine
Au Port de la Lune has reopened in the Eixample. And although the new space might not have the charme of the old location in the Boqueria market, you'll still dine on great French cuisine. Their lunchtime menu is varied, with an excellent paté and steak tartare. At night, the menu offers a wider range of this menu, and you can feast on 'rillettes', patés, and French cheeses at a price that will make your wallet as happy as your stomach. Guy Monrepos still takes a regular trip to southern France – also called le Midi – in search of gourmet products.
Le Bistrot de Pierrot is a highly recommendable example of a popular French classic trying to spread the word by the best means possible, through its flavourful dishes. Owner Pierre Verchére is from Lyon, the French capital of gastronomy and home of exquisite food and cooking with butter, but he wanted to combine ‘the influence of home with specialities from all around France, so people can discover dishes from Lyon but also from the Alps, the south-east, and so on’, creating a kind of greatest hits under the bistrot's roof. This is a place to eat seriously and well.
Chef Julien Rioiron and his colleagues in the kitchen, Christophe Almodovar, and in the dining room, André Despacha, boast unbeatable credentials: they're from the gastronomy capital of France (Lyon), and they've got experience with traditional cooking as well as in kitchens that have earned Michelin stars both in France and in Barcelona. You'll notice their ambition in the French lunch menu comprised of precise and refined, yet down-to-earth, dishes. For example, a cauliflower purée with a cod micuit and capers. At night their menu expands to include ten dishes, among them rillettes and French croquettes (with reblochon cheese!), purely home-made with their own spin on everything.
At Cafe Emma two Michelin-starred chefs, Romain Fornell and Michel Sarran, have come together and entrusted their kitchen to Daniel Brin, who previously worked in the gone-but-not-forgotten Maison du Languedoc Roussillon. A true bistrot, Cafe Emma offers a daily set lunch menu featuring traditional French cusine. Among their top dishes are the 'blanquette de veau' (veal stew), the punchy onion soup, the onglet with challots, the macaroni with lobster and the steak tartare.
The goal at L’Atelier is to offer traditional French bistro cuisine that's simple, quick and very tasty. They offer a well-priced set lunch menu on weekdays, and from the regular menu, well-executed dishes that deserve special mention include the starter of duck rillettes – tender, well-crafted and served with excellent bread, and the onglet – a juicy cut of beef with glazed shallots and very French mashed potatoes with butter and fresh parsley that brings to mind the extravagance of Paris. Another of the sure-fire hits is the steak tartare, the most emblematic dish of a French bistro. Among favourites on the dessert menu are good French pastries and an excellent plate of carefully chosen and well-presented cheeses.