When in Barcelona, don't settle for imported fast food joints or giant themed restaurants casting shadows on La Rambla in your quest for a great burger. Our hunt for perfect patties and fantastic fries turned up more than just those or snooty gourmet versions of the American classic (though a few of them as well). The obsession with fine ingredients that has gripped burger-makers in New York and London for the last few years has caught on in the Catalan capital too, with happy results.
The mothership of this small gourmet hamburger chain, a pioneer in the field in Barcelona, opened its third space in Ronda Universitat in 2013, and the original, near Santa Caterina, is now called Little Bacoa. The original bears the name 'Little' because the new Bacoa, while still carrying on with its trademark excellence and informality, is enormous. So what's different? Owner Brad Ainsworth is betting that thinking locally will pay off: with the change of seasons, Bacoa offers burgers made with products grown nearby, such as artichokes from El Prat, for example. This is where they started ramping up the marketing with big ideas like the chair that holds your bags, and the piece of card that holds your burger so it stays together better and you don't get your hands dirty.
Brad Ainsworth, the chef who brought the gourmet burger to Barcelona with his tiny Bacoa, also opened El Kiosko, which is along the same lines but more spacious and comfortable and open onto the street. Try any of the delicious recipes with special chutney sauce, home-cooked fries and you’ll know what we mean. This is the second venue the gourmet hamburger group opened – before it was a group, of course – and it's a must-visit when you're hankering for a burger in the Born (and, by the way, it's in the same spot where the excellent Asian restaurant Wushu stood, which Ainsworth opened there in 2005).
Winner of Best Sandwich for 2010 awarded by Time Out Barcelona. Chef Brad Ainsworth won the prize thanks to his burgers made from the finest beef, his imaginative recipes, and his stone grill that gives the meat that inimitable smoky flavour. Little Bacoa was the first establishment opened by the Bacoa group in Barcelona. It's a small burger joint with a lot of charm located in the Born, right by the Santa Caterina market. There are just 15 seats and one grill, and in 2010 it was one of the pioneers of gourmet hamburger restaurants in the city. When you stop here for a meal, know that you're at ground zero for top burgers in Barcelona.
This gourmet burger spot could very well become a meeting place for the indie set: their playlist is exquisite, Barcelona-based rock band Mishima occasionally dine here, and they brought along Daniel Johnston when he was in town. You can create your own burger from the billions of possible combinations, or order a recipe from the menu. Either way, the result is steller, and there's also Nebraska Angus beef available, as well as a small but choice wine list that will suit your budget.
This burger joint, opened by an architect, a restaurateur and an engineer, is armed with 15 tantalising recipes: all made from Burgos beef (or you have the option of organic beef from Lleida) – all honed through trial, error and try, try trial again. The DF burger, with the spiciness of good Mexican food is a fine example, with its 200 g of beef, chipotle chili, coriander, cheddar, Jalapa chili, shredded lettuce and bits of tortilla chips.
One of the city’s venues that is committed to turning the humble hamburger into a quality dish that is healthy and, above all, delicious. They have a variety of burgers of their own creation, though whenever possible, these are tailored to the customer’s tastes. Don’t miss the Richard Burger, with onion confit, foie gras and egg. Xavier Pellicer, one of the owners, has helped to create the menu.
Pay attention because De Paula has become one of the biggies in the world of Barcelona burger bars. They've made a name for themselves in the neighbourhood of Poble-sec where they opened in early 2014. The man behind De Paula, Brazilian Eder Provezana, had a big idea to go without the use of volcanic stone and instead take advantage of something as basic as cooking over coals. They work only with a cut of beef called picanha – a very tender cut also known as 'rump cover', 'rump cap' or 'coulotte' – which they grind themselves.
'The future of popular food is the fusion of street food from around the world,' says Carlos Gremone, a Venezuelan chef, who, along with publicist Debora Schneider, converted a bar with a lunch menu into a top sandwich and burger spot. Gremone has travelled half the world and has 20 years of experience in Italian Michelin-starred restaurants. Each one of his creations at Bar Centro (12 sandwiches and 11 hamburgers) are born out of hours of refining recipes. The place could have ended up without an arse in a seat if he hadn't got it as right as he did. They make everything from scratch and just right.
It's Hard Rock, so you know what you're getting. Giant American portions of burgers and fries, salads and free refills on soft drinks, desserts that are dangerous for diabetics, and a bunch of video screens blaring mostly rock music the whole time. There's also the occasional live show and celebrations of American sporting events and holidays.
This quirky, original restaurant that bears a resemblance to a New York eatery combines American dishes like barbecue pork ribs burgers that have a touch of the Mediterranean, like the tuna with wasabi mayonnaise variety. Have a slice of cheesecake for breakfast (like they do in ‘Sex and the City’), or drop in for lunch or dinner.
Juanjo Mestres is a man with a mission: the chef who helped kick off Barcelona's gourmet-burger trend has changed Your Burg into Yours, a restaurant that just gets it right. When the establishment opened in 2010, the menu items outside the bun – those delicate nuggets, that gorgeous avocado soup – were already showing signs of a true chef with haute abilities. 'My father worked hard so I could study in France, in the world's best cooking school,' Mestres says, 'and before having my own place, I only worked in restaurants with three Michelin stars.'This maniac of details and mincing says that he has found 'the ideal "steak haché", with just the right marbling and that melts in your mouth', from Natrus – of Vall d'en Bas (La Garrotxa), supplying the restaurant's beef exclusively.
The Rovira brothers, from the Michelin-starred farmhouse-restaurant Els Casals de Sagàs, have set up shop in Barcelona. Here they practice the noble art of the gourmet sandwich, stuffed with meats and vegetables that they produce on their farm in Bages. It’s worth trying such delicacies as their Chinese sandwich with bacon. Everything straight from the land, with no middlemen involved.
The ultimate place for sandwiches in Sant Martí: they offer four different kinds of custom-made bread that they use in recipes as compelling as grilled tuna with wasabi, or in typical catalan sandwiches, such as coca bread with black sausage and garlic mayonnaise. You can always order a big, juicy hamburger, and was it down with a selection from the menu of more than 40 beers from all over the world. Finish up with, of course, their home-made carrot cake.
They're not the nicest bunch (they bad-mouthed Time Out for not including them in this list the first time around) nor are they the most diligent: the first time we went there the kitchen wasn't working due to a water leak, and the second time we went they weren't cooking because it was their first day back from their holidays. But we have to admit that when we finally did get to try them, we realised the burgers at B-Burger are phenomenal. The one we especially recommend has an impeccable balance between the sweetness of teriyaki sauce and the addition of shiitake mushrooms with a touch of Japanese radish. The bread and the meat fit together like hand in glove.
This burger joint offers no secrets, mystery or theme, but it has its charms: an assortment of a dozen burgers with imaginative recipes and fresh daily produce thanks to their proximity to the Boqueria. Almost all the burgers are made of 200 grams of beef, and their painstaking attention to their recipes shows (try the caprese, with pesto, mozzarella and rocket) above and beyond their wide variety of drool-inducing ingredients.
With its decor that evokes the American diners in ‘Grease’, Peggy Sue's is a high-quality franchise: its burgers might not be huge, but they are certainly tasty, similar to American patties. Hamburgers play only a small part in a menu that is based on 1950s America.
Is there still room for innovation in the overcrowded world of the hamburger? Maybe not, but we can only hope new ones that open up have as much of their own personality and know-how as Tío Joe. Two food companies came together to produce this burger joint done in the style of a Catalan farmhouse. The ground beef comes from intercostal cuts of mature cows – marinated for two days in broth – and the home-made bread is crusty on the outside, spongy on the inside. You won't forget soon forget their burgers (for example, La Suegra features mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, lettuce and habanero pepper sauce). And don't forget the chips.
This small chain seeks to replicate the concept of the typical American diner, to the point that the furniture and fixtures were imported from the States. What makes Bernie's different from the others like it is the size of their menu. Sure, they make excellent burgers from premium-quality beef, and tailored to each customer, but they do more than burgers. They also offer other typically American dishes, and they have a great grill for steaks, ribs and fillets, as well as house specialities. Burgers (with fries, of course), homemade sauces, and shakes and desserts that would have driven Elvis wild. Plus, the kitchen stays open late.
Who can forget the film this diner takes its name from, with Dustin Hoffman in drag? We have Hollywood to thank for that, as well as for showing us their big-screen version of an authentic American diner, something this Barcelona-based Tootsie aspires to. Here the lengthy menu of burgers and sandwiches conjure big American appetites and all-American film, but with a taste of the local fare as well: order a Burt Lancaster burger with tartar sauce and a tapa of pig snout or 'lacón' on the side.