With all the amazing options in Catalonia, no doubt we could select another 50 restaurants and still get it right. But you can be sure that these serve tantalizing dishes that won't fail to please the palate – and as soon as you're finished with your meal you'll be looking forward to the a repeat visit. Catalonia boasts dozens of excellent restaurants of all kinds. Here is our selection of 50 of the best.
Province of Girona
Four generations have passed through the kitchen of Ca l'Enric since 1882, and in 2002, the prestigious Michelin Guide recognised the work done by the restaurant to update its cooking style. The people responsible for this change are the young Juncà siblings: the three are propronents of what's known as 'ingredient cuisine' ('cuina de producte'). They focus on the local lands and surroundings of the restaurant, which is located in the heart of the Garrotxa region of Catalonia, although they say their cooking is inspired more by forests than by the extinct volcanoes that populate the area. One of their set menus, 'Discover the Valley', works with just such local ingredients: wild mushrooms, truffles, game, eel, river trout, and the like. Another winner is the 'Sotabosc', which brings together ingredients cultivated around the restaurant (veal, wild mushrooms, aromatic herbs, flowers, leaves...). Another of their unique set menus is that based on woodcock, which includes soup, a rice dish, and woodcock that's been stewed and cooked on the grill with 'salmís', a sauce made with the bird's innards, foie and cognac.
Holder of a Michelin star since 2011, this restaurant (and hotel) owes its success to hard work and constant learning, as well as to its prime location near the sea. It offers a good tasting menu and exquisite specialities such as roasted cannelloni with Williams pears and Cambrils-style rice.
You get impressive sea views, especially from the terrace, and elegance both inside and outside the establishment. And it's all accompanied by excellent signature cuisine based on top-quality, locally sourced products. One of the various set menus is especially well-priced, and all are definitely worth trying.
Brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca have taken their restaurant to the highest heights in the world of gastronomy. They define it as a free-style restaurant, 'cooking in freedom, always at the forefront, while never forgetting the memory of the ancestral generations of the family dedicated to feeding people'. It's a cuisine full of passion, where each of the three siblings produces one part of the meal: Jordi's in charge of the sweet stuff, Josep of all things liquid, and Joan the savoury.
This is a family-style restaurant with deep local roots. It’s currently in the hands of the third generation of the family but has managed to retain the same air of freshness and youth with traditional cuisine in constant evolution. The variety of set menus on offer is noteworthy, ranging from what they refer to as the 'Little Menu' to the tasting menu, offering a wide range of prices and choices.
Behind the elegant plating here you’ll find food cooked with passion and care, and top-quality, market-fresh products. We recommend the locally sourced veal sirloin steak with fresh duck liver, port and apple glaze, as well as the baked wild turbot, to name just two of the delicacies on offer.
The Empòrium restaurant offers traditional Empordà cooking made contemporary with local and mostly organic products from the region. Their aim is to build a relationship between the elements that surround the restaurant (and hotel) to offer seasonal cuisine that's intimately tied to the landscape of Alt Empordà – with roots stuck in but a personal touch as well. A good example is the roast duck with anchovies.
Located in an elegant mansion house dating from the 19th century, this restaurant bases its appeal on two set menus and a tasting menu that combine creativity, technique and impressive plating. Chef Víctor Trochi is in charge of creating dishes that combine elements of Catalan and signature cuisine.
This is a classic both of Girona and traditional Catalan cuisine. Discover the flavours of the most traditional home-made stews, such as one with chicken and langoustines, or duck and pears, as well as dishes such as snails and classic Catalan cannelloni ('canellons'). Fish is also a key ingredient in dishes such as fish stew, cuttlefish with peas, and roasted cod with smooth garlic mousseline. The dishes are all adapted to what's in season, so take note of the changing items of the day – there's always a surprise or two that you won't regret trying.
This Michelin-starred restaurant (which is part of a hotel) is located in the heart of Banyoles, and you can dine for about €50, or choose from the three set menus that run from €38 to €70. Chef Pere Arpa is a patient man: he was awarded a Michelin star, then lost it, then got it back again in 2016. He does his own thing, which is only transforming traditional dishes into gastro jewels of the Girona region. The star dish here consists of pig’s trotters with foie gras. Recommended desserts include the crème Catalan cake. Don't forget to order from the attractive wine list.
Province of Barcelona
In 1995, Nandu Jubany and Anna Orte opened a restaurant in a farmhouse near Calldetenes. It quickly became a gastronomic favourite in the region of Osona and has been even more of a draw since it was refurbished in 2010. Jubany is a master chef who combines tradition and modernity through innovative recipes that preserve the essence of Catalan cuisine.
Opened in 2006, or rather reopened, after more than three centuries, the building dates from 1750 and was a paper mill that has since been subjected to a 'slow, careful, crafted and respectful' restoration project. It doesn't have many rooms – 12, of which four are superior – located in quiet surroundings that make it ideal for a weekend getaway a stone’s throw away from Igualada. There are also four meeting rooms and a restaurant serving 'modern, high-quality market cuisine'.
This fine restaurant in the middle of a village surrounded by vineyards where you can find traditional Catalan dishes celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. So if you've never been, it's a good time to discover it and try its grilled meats cooked over holm oak wood. It offers quality and good service, with meat as the star product but without detracting from the other dishes and excellent desserts.
Martín Berasategui’s embassy at the Condes de Barcelona hotel has become one of the essential restaurants not only in the city but in all of Catalonia and Spain, where people flock to marvel at the chef's creativity. The sampling menu is a treat that everyone should have the chance to enjoy, at least once in their lifetime, and if possible, once a year. Such excellence has earned the Lasarte the top prize in the restaurant world, and as of November 2016 the restaurant is the first in Barcelona to boast three Michelin stars. In addition to Berasategui, the man responsible for the day-to-day operations is Italian chef Paolo Casagrande. To the head chef's charming personality, Casagrande adds his own stamp of high elegance and creativity, which you can see in dishes such as apple millefeuille, foie gras, and European eel, and where the surprising aesthetic never surpasses the combination of amazing flavours.
Jordi Cruz has regained Àbac’s second Michelin star, making his restaurant once again the essential haute cuisine establishment in Barcelona. He reached such heights by creating cuisine filled with expertise and sophistication. Take, for example, the egg with asparagus. Sounds simple enough, but Cruz has done a number on the egg that is something out of an R&D think tank. First the yolk is cooked at 62°C, then cured in salt water to give it just the exact subtle touch of salt. Served with white asparagus, a divinely thin slice of Serrano ham and a spoonful of caviar, it's nothing less than spectacular.
What can we say about Carme Ruscalleda's cuisine and her Sant Pau restaurant that has not already been said? We mention it in particular to recall that in El Maresme, and specifically Sant Pol de Mar, you can find one of the only three restaurants in Catalonia with three Michelin stars, so if you go there keep it mind. Enjoy its innovative cuisine based on local products.
This magnificent country house hotel, surrounded by gardens and animals, is ideal for a few days of rest and very suitable for children. It has ten exterior rooms, three of which have living rooms. The hotel’s garden produces many of the ingredients used in the restaurant, which specialises in quality cuisine, marked by the seasonality of the produce, and has won a number of major awards in recent years. You can also buy home-made cold sausages here.
You’ll find plenty of good places to eat in the small village of Cabrils in the Maresme region, and Hostal de La Plaça is undoubtedly among the best of them. Here you can find excellent rice, fish and meat dishes featuring top-quality ingredients. The hostal, which is set in an 18th-century farmhouse, has 14 elegant guest rooms.
Chef Paco Pérez earned two Michelin stars for Enoteca – no longer is it just another restaurant in the Hotel Arts, but a heavyweight in Barcelona in its own right. Pérez also saw his Miramar restaurant in the Catalan city of Llançà get its second Michelin star. Few chefs can translate the flavour of the sea into haute cuisine the way he does, and his art speaks to the imagination and recalls the swell of the sea. The heights Enoteca's 'espardenyes' (Mediterranean sea cucumbers) have hit make them deserving of their own chapter in Catalan avant-garde cuisine, and the rice dishes will satisfy the biggest food snobs and Catalan cooking fundamentalists alike. Surrendering to the restaurant's fragrant rice with lobster is the best way to pay tribute.
Contemporary Catalan cuisine dedicated to seasonal products that gets its stock mainly from the exquisite supply from the Maresme. Miquel Aldana keeps a kitchen that boasts a big serving of creativity, very good products and great value for money. Proof is in items on the menu such as the calamari with candied bacon, and the phenomenal rice dishes.
Well-established restaurant on the Castelldefels seafront boasting many awards, under the personal baton of Miguel Yepes. Xavier Cugat – one of the rooms is named after him – auctioned paintings here on his return from his travels in America. But let's leave the history aside and focus on the food. A menu with fish and seafood at the centre, fresh and delicious, with rice, 'fideuàs' (noodle paellas) and mouth-watering sauces. Without doubt, one of the great restaurants in the area.
Forty years of family tradition reflect the work of the restaurant Can Lloses, in a white country house in Sant Pere de Ribes and with a menu based on Catalan cuisine: grilled meat, 'escudella' (soup and stew), omelettes... A place where you certainly won't go hungry, and where seasonal dishes take centre stage: if you go in winter, try the grilled artichokes, the 'xató' (salad dressed with a sauce of this name) or the 'calçots' (grilled green onions, resembling leeks).
This restaurant run by sisters Lolita and Paquita Reixach is a sheer delight, featuring traditional slow-style cooking elevated to its maximum expression. The award-winning establishment bases its dishes on locally sourced products like peas from Llavaneres, lobster from Arenys de Mar, beans from a farmer friend in Canet de Mar, and delicious bread from Arenys de Munt. A favourite among celebrities since it opened in 1952.
Seasonal menu and local products are two of the strong points of this restaurant in the capital of El Moianès, and grilled meats are the most popular dishes with customers. Quail, entrecote, rabbit, pig's trotters... try the varied dishes of this region that was newly designated in 2015, and wash it down with one of the well-selected wines from the cellar.
Raül Balam, son of Carme Ruscalleda, has earned his second Michelin star with this leading hotel restaurant. Like the original in Sant Pau, the concept is impeccable, innovative – but very Catalan – cuisine, with dishes such as the veal 'fricandó' (beef fillet with mushrooms) with Scotch bonnet mushrooms, and the Maresme shrimp with glazed tomato petals, a vegetable medley and toasted pine nuts.
Signature cuisine and a tasting menu in an ancient, renovated farmhouse full of grace and charm. Try a dish of 'Grandma’s cannelloni', or the sole textured with almond, or any of the rice dishes. Accompany any menu choice with a bottle from their good wine selection. They also have a farmhouse with rooms and apartments.
In Mataró, in the street that connects the centrally located Plaça de les Tereses and the Riera, around the location of the town hall, stands a restaurant that's the result of the dream of two people, Chef Pepi Sanchez and maître d' Juan Arriaza, who delight the palates of everyone who enters this designer-style restaurant. It offers an extensive fixed-price menu that varies each week, or if you prefer, a select à la carte dining accompanied by a carefully chosen wine list in which Catalan varieties predominate.
You'll have to head for the outskirts of Vilanova i la Geltrú to find this sea-adjacent restaurant, but it will certainly be worth your while when you're served a dish of locally caught stewed prawns. If prawns aren't your thing, La Cucanya boasts an extensive menu that even includes dishes of pasta and pizzas, reminding us of its origins as an Italian restaurant. Diverse fixed-price menus are available as well.
A classic in every sense of the word. Few businesses can say that they’ve been operating since 1771. Despite its constant renewals, Fonda Europa, in the town centre of Granollers, still retains an air of history and elegance. It’s especially famous for its restaurant, which has served an endless list of famous people in search of good, traditional Catalan cuisine for breakfast and lunch.
A charming restaurant, said to be one of the oldest in Vic, located in an 18th-century stately home with frescoes on the walls, providing an inviting setting. And the food? You'll find traditional cuisine with a modern touch, a very full set menu and lots of dishes to choose from, such as porcini rice, veal with brie, mushrooms in port wine sauce, and cod with vegetables and leek sauce. If you prefer to choose from the main menu and you have a few euros to spare, you can ask for Palamós prawns or monkfish-and-seafood stew with romesco sauce.
Province of Tarragona
Home cooking with privileged views of the Pàndols range. These views alone make restaurant Can Josep a good choice. Its menu features traditional food with dishes such as 'trinxat de col' (similar to bubble and squeak), a 'recapte' of white 'ganxet' beans and quail in wine sauce. They also boast a fine selection of Terra Alta wines and home-made desserts.
Diego Campos and his restaurant have earned a name for themselves thanks both to the quality of the fish and seafood dishes and for the originality and creativity of what's on offer, as well as the decoration of the establishment. Eating here is quite an experience, combining Basque and Mediterranean flavours.
The name of this restaurant comes from a nearby stretch of the River Ebro and refers to the pass between the Picosa and Tormo mountain ranges, which was once used to transport goods from one bank of the river to the other. The traditional Mediterranean-style cuisine here stands out for its rice and grilled meat and fish dishes. Fresh, locally sourced produce, accompanied by a good selection of wines, makes every meal a pleasure, and it’s also very good value for money.
Old and new approaches to cooking, world food, constant research, new taste pairings... These elements make up a new phenomenon that is reinvented from day to day. It’s the approach behind this cosy, quiet, pleasant restaurant located in the old quarter of Valls, where you can savour high-quality cuisine at a reasonable price in the shape of imaginative tapas.
Vicent Guimerà's restaurant, L'Antic Molí, is on the border where Catalonia meets Valencia, on the outskirts of Ulldecona. From the family that runs local restaurant Casa Santi, Guimerà represents the third generation dedicated to serving up top meals. At L'Antic Molí, which first opened its doors in 2004, he oversees market cuisine, employing optimal-quality products and haute cuisine techniques yet never losing sight of what traditional cooking means. This translates into spectacular and thoughtful dishes, such as the 'osmosized' sea bass with plankton and the kid belly with aromatic herbs. Guimerà, fan of cycling and the Slow Food movement, divides his two tasting menus (€40 and €65) into cycling stages through the surrounding territory.
This is a good choice, as it's located near the sea and serves traditional dishes that are made with locally sourced ingredients and prepared with a signature cuisine touch. The black rice or rice with lobster, monkfish stew with Santa Pau beans, or free-range Penedès chicken with gorgonzola are just a few of the delicious menu items. The restaurant does have a terrace, but if you dine inside you’ll also enjoy good views thanks to the large windows.
This hotel and restaurant is located in Ulldecona, one of southern-most towns in Catalonia, and is a favourite in the region. Those behind it claim that there’s no secret as to why their food is so highly praised other than the care and attention to detail they put into every dish. Among the standouts here are 'escudella' with foie gras and a dish called Els Ports, a salad with mushrooms and truffles inspired by the landscapes and aromas of the Ports of Beseit mountains.
This restaurant is set in Hotel Villa Retiro and occupies a charming house built by a family who had made their fortune in America, with its gardens with thousand-year-old trees, a large well and a wine cellar sculpted into the rocks. In charge of the kitchen is Francesc López Gilabert, who favours produce from the Delta but incorporates French influences to create dishes that are both creative and delicious.
Excellent fish cooked in a masterful style and rice dishes, especially their black rice, have given this place the prestige it enjoys and made it an obligatory destination for lovers of haute cuisine. Joan Bosch has been in charge here for some time, and his set Cambrils and tasting menus are a great choice. The wine list also stands out for its quality, quantity and variety.
Province of Lleida
La Boscana restaurant is located inside an estate with the same name in Lleida. It's a complete luxury: with just eight tables where diners can enjoy a gastronomic experience in contemporary Catalan cuisine while they take in the natural surroundings through glass walls. This is a family restaurant that highlights the skills of chef Joel Castanyé, who has worked at El Bulli and Neichel, among others, as he brings the interior of Catalonia to the table, with delicacies filled with character, such as the Eurasian woodcock with whisky oysters.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best restaurants in the Lleida region. It’s located in an old dairy farm and has an open kitchen. There’s also a garden with tables where you can eat, and it’s equipped to host large-scale celebrations. The dishes on the modern and creative menu incorporate locally sourced ingredients.
Fogony, in the town of Sort (Pallars Sobirà), is a restaurant that has earned a number of recognitions, including a Michelin star. It stands out for its slow-food philosophy and use of locally sourced produce grown by small farmers. Among the dishes on offer here are cannelloni with chicken from Arbul with béchamel made with almonds from Àger, and pig’s trotters stuffed with wild mushrooms, truffles, onion and bacon. You can opt for an accessibly priced set menu that costs around €35 and doesn’t include drinks, but if you decide to dine à la carte, be prepared to spend around €80 including wine.
This restaurant occupies a 16th-century house in the centre of town. In pursuit of culinary excellence, it offers haute cuisine and original platings sourcing a significant percentage of its products from the region and surrounding areas. Try, for example, the tile of caramelized apple, the foie gras or the salmon.