Craving really good Italian food while you're in Barcelona? Here are five of our favourite spots to get the city's best pizza, pasta, and lesser-known Italian specialities.
The best restaurants in Barcelona for Italian cuisine
This genuine Italian 'trattoria' run by Pino Prestanizzi (from Calabria) and Patricio Sodano (from Naples) opened in 1989 when, Prestanizzi recalls, 'there was only one pizzeria in the city, and going to dinner in an Italian restaurant was a sign of distinction'. It seems like time has stopped in La Bricciola, but in a good way: they've managed to keep their restaurant and what they serve at a top level, and all their products they work with, including the water, come from Naples. Though you might have an instinct to describe the decor as kistch, it's just too authentic for such a label. The Campione pizza – with spicy salami, rocket, goat's cheese, chicory, oregano and parmesan – reminds you how good these guys are at what they do.
This Italian with home cooking and top-quality pasta will more than meet your expectations. It's worth a visit for starters like fresh burrata and parmesan cheeses, and tasty mains like the linguine with cherry tomatoes and basil, or papardelle with ragout, for example. Pair it all with a good wine to ensure that a dinner at this lovely Italian eatery is a rousing success.
It's not the same to say you're going to an Italian restaurant as it is to say you're going to a Venetian restaurant. One must respect the differences, you see. When the Colombo twins (‘xemei’ means ‘twins’ in Venetian), Stefano and Max, opened their eatery in Poble-sec, they brought to Barcelona a transalpine cuisine that finally went above and behond pasta Bolognese quattro stagioni pizzas. They gave us fish prepared just like it is in Venice, and we had got to learn what 'sarde in saor' and 'baccalà mantecato' are, rendering any other type Italian cuisine practically unacceptable.
If you can't get to Italy often enough, your best bet is to bring a bit of Italy to your city. Le Cucine Mandarosso, a small space that more than does justice to true Italian cuisine, has also got a genuine charm and decor that brings a smile to your face. We might not be doing Le Cucine Madarosso any favours by going on about its treasures – usually they're overbooked and they must feel shivers of fear running down their spine whenever anyone publishes a rave review of their culinary skills. The truth is that we were so pleased with their lunch menu that if we go back for dinner, it might be a real religious experience.
Obe is a small restaurant in Plaça de Santa Caterina, and its location in the middle of a part of the city busy with out-of-towners might make you think this is a restaurant set up just to take advantage of tourists, but nothing could be further from the truth. Obe, whose name sounds deceptively Japanese, is in fact a petite and honest Italian restaurant with respect for the food they serve. The aubergine parmigiana, for example, tasted like it had just been taken out of the oven in Sicily.