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.
Even though Casamar has long been a rural hotel-restaurant on the bay of Llafranc in the Costa Brava, it wasn't until 2000 that it started to gain the gastronomic momentum that carried it, in 2011, to win its first Michelin star. This was down in no small part to Quim Casellas, the chef and grandson of the founder. Without having shown any particular previous interest in cooking (although he did help out with the family business from a young age), he started to take advantage of Casamar being closed during the winter to undertake intensive training periods with culinary experts such as Jean Luc Figueres, Joan Bosch, Carles Gaig, Joan Roca and Fermí Puig. The menu is changed three times a year to adapt it to seasonal products, and, for the most part, these come from sources that are no more than 5km away from the restaurant. So if it's artichokes time, you might be able to sample sautéed artichokes with duck gizzards and poached quail's eggs. And if you're lucky enough to find them on the menu, you should definitely try the warm cannelloni of leek with langoustines and Parmesan. Special mention has to be made of the wine list, with almost 400 varieties, the majority of which are from the Protected Geographic region of Empordà.
Following the closure of El Bulli in Cala Montjoi, Els Brancs is the only restaurant in Roses with a Michelin star. The restaurant experienced a turning-point in 2012, when, to the surprise and excitement of both directors and staff, it was given the star, its first big culinary award. In charge of the kitchen is Granada chef Javier Cabrera, who trained with both Ferran Adrià and Joan Roca, as well as at the restaurant of Arzumendi. His speciality is signature, creative Catalan cuisine. He uses products from the area and sometimes transforms famous regional dishes – he pays careful attention to ensuring that every last detail on the plate is excellent through the use of the latest techniques. You can choose between the full Experiènces menu and a cheaper tasting menu that changes constantly. Dishes such as the succulent rice with Roses prawns, confit of suckling pig, basil and vegetable raviolis, and lobster 'botifarra' (sausage) with white beans, will excite the most demanding palates. If the weather allows, you should definitely try to get a table on the terrace. The restaurant takes its name ('The Branches') from the small islands located just in front of it, below a small cliff that finishes on the beach of Bonifaci – it's an idyllic setting in the Bay of Roses.
The 'tramuntana' wind, the sea, the beach, the fishermen, the abrupt coastal landscape... at Miramara, they say that all these elements have an important influence on their avant-garde gastronomic creations, which have won them two Michelin stars. The restaurant is the work of Paco Pérez and the family of his wife, Montse Serra, which has headed up the restaurant since 1939. Its cuisine is based on local tradition and on the utmost respect for regional ingredients, which feature in every dish. There's a set menu full of surprises where the primary material is the key, whether it comes from the sea or the land. On the à la carte menu you'll encounter classics such as scallops, Parmentier of Iberian ham and Pedro Ximénez sherry, clams, and tartare of oysters and caviar with apple air.
Les Cols is the traditional country house ('masia') in Olot where the chef Fina Puigdevall was born and where, since 1990, she's created her own particular and renowned gastronomy. The setting is nothing less than a declaration of intent, because capturing the landscape and essence of the Garrotxa area is the starting point for Puigdevall's experimental cuisine. The dishes she creates constantly evolve and change, depending on the season and her imagination, but they also use certain local ingredients that never disappear from the menu. In fact, sometimes they're so local they come from the restaurant's own kitchen garden, based on the county's traditional vegetable gardens. Food items inextricably connected to this area include buckwheat, turnip, Santa Pau white beans and truffles, which are all omnipresent. Another key part of Puigdevall's cooking is her way of looking for the essence of each idea on the plate, stripping it back to say a lot with very little. And there's also space for playing games, which are always incorporated into the menus. For example, there's an egg dish that changes each season: it's made with truffle in the winter, with spelt in the autumn and tuna in the summer. Puigdevall also likes to play with ingredients that, at first glance, are not suited to particular kinds of dishes. And in honour of the restaurant name, there is always a dish that contains cabbage ('col').
Girona has one of the best restaurants in the world. It may be an easy phrase to say, but it's a fact that's been difficult to achieve. Just ask the three Roca brothers who, since 1986, have been working non-stop to create a restaurant that is so exceptional and excellent that trying to find a really appropriate adjective runs the risk of falling far short. If you're one of those people for who good food and the sensations that you can enjoy while eating at a restaurant table create complete happiness, then Joan in the kichen, Josep in the dining-room and wine cellar, and Jordi in charge of desserts, are your fairy godfathers who can bring you maximum happiness. Their daily objective is to excite their customers, enabling them to live a magical experience from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave. To make it possible, around 70 professionals and the best local and international ingredients are at the service of around barely 50 diners. But the equation isn't complete without a third variable that involves culinary tradition, the avant-garde, research and the Rocas' own way of being and thinking. Without ever losing their origins in Catalan cooking, which they learnt from their mother and the family restaurant of Can Roca, located a few metres from El Celler (and where the staff go for lunch each day), the three brothers have conquered the global gastronomy scene. They've even created new cooking techniques that have become trends which other restaurants around th
In a 'masia' (Catalan country house) situated at the foot of the Les Gavarres massif, the Gascons siblings are facing the challenge of bringing Catalan cuisine into the modern age, with the use of local, seasonal products. Try the 'llobregant blau' (a variety of lobster), which is cooked with tomato, advocado and fenell, together with citrics and a coral mayonnaise. With such efforts, it's safe to say that the challenge has been met! And then some, with a Michelin star awarded in 2008. But if you're still not quite convinced, check out the combination of black truffle and butter sauce with tender potato gnocchi. When it comes to the meats, you're bound to enjoy their take on the typical entrecote, which seems them cook Galician ox over a coal grill and serve it with polenta, artichokes and onions.
An idea, a dish. That's how the creative cooking at Massana comes into being, as well as making use of the highest quality seasonal ingredients – it doesn't matter where they're from, what counts is that they can express the concept that chef Pere Massana wants to convey. His philosophy and approach have merited a Michelin star since 2007. On the menu, the ingredients are clearly the focus, and baking styles dominate, while nods to Japanese and Asian cuisine also appear. Examples include semi-cured salmon smoked to order with 'ponzu' sauce, quail in cabbage gyoza, and lacquered eel with pork neck and salad of pickles; on the dessert menu, seek out the textures of 'yuzu' and cucumber with aromas of fresh mint. Let yourself be seduced by the ideas of Massana.
At Fonda Xesc they work with seasonal ingredients to create Catalan dishes. The chef, Francesc, started learning his trade with his mother at this 'fonda' (a traditional Catalan inn and restaurant), and some of the dishes they cooked together back then are still on the menu, 25 years later, such as the delicious rabbit with langoustines. Such 'mar i muntanya' (surf and turf) creations are a house speciality - they also make pig's trotters with 'sobrassada' (spicy spreading sausage from Mallorca) and sea cucumbers, and peas and wild asparagus with fish of the day and the juices of roasted meat. When it comes to cooking, they have three basic tenets: minimal cooking, cooking to order, and simplicity. It's a formula that has been deserving of a Michelin star since 2009 and that's also applied to creations such as rice with spinach and truffle, artichokes with bacon, coriander and garlic, and, for dessert, dark chocolate with liquorice and eucalyptus (typical to the area).
The fact that this hotel-restaurant in Castelló d'Empúries, which opened in 1965, has been able to modernise the cooking of the Empordà was something that the Michelin Guide took into account when it awarded the place its first star in 2015. Even though it has many years of experience behind it, the origins of the current Empòrium come from the fourth generation of the Jodrà-Giró family, brothers Joan and Màrius, who told their father in 2008 that they would take over the family business providing that they could focus on the Empordà spirit as much as its common sense. Without any formal training in haute cuisine, the two siblings have managed to inspire customers with dishes that mainly use organic Empordà ingredients. They have worked out how to perfectly combine traditional basics with current techniques - an achievement that few can boast, and which makes dining there a particular pleasure. Through their three set menus, which you can choose according to your budget, you can try different dishes that have been thought up and prepared with much care, and where 'mar i muntanya' (Catalan surf and turf), and new interpretations of traditional dishes dominate. Typical Catalan cannelloni ('canelons') with roasted meat at Empòrium are made with poularde and creamed truffles and wild mushrooms, and from a veal with salsify comes a terrine with ravioli stuffed with mushrooms and lentils. And one of the most innovative dishes is mackerel marinated in a grape juice and vegetable
Sample the creative cuisine at Bo.TiC and you'll discover evocative Empordà dishes such as stews and other traditional recipes. That's the very spirit of this restaurant, which has one Michelin star and is located close to the capital of the Baix Empordà, La Bisbal. At Bo.TiC they make their own signature versions of the most typical plates from the area. Such local ingredients as cod, duck, rice and chicken take on original forms that are surprising to the palate - these include the confit of cod, potato, truffle essence and San Simón cheese, the duck magret with pears in wine, and the risotto of roast duck, pumpkin and truffle. They have various menus that range from the most traditional to the most creative and playful dishes, and a long wine list that contains more than 400 options.
The reinvention of Montseny cuisine has a name, and that name is Les Magnòlies. This restaurant is located in Arbúcies, in a house from 1871, and owners Roser and Isidre, together with their team, put the town on the map some 20 years ago with a local style of cooking that won Les Magnòlies a Michelin start in 2012. They're inspired by Catalan cuisine, to which they add their own personal touches. Among the star ingredients are local wild mushrooms ('bolets') along with other products that originate in the mountainous surrounds. On the menu you'll find venison loin with caramelised salsify, and 'empedrat' (a salda made with cod, tuna, beans, tomato, pepper, spring onions and olives) featuring white beans from Arbúcies. But the county in which Arbúcies lies is also by the sea and that's clearly reflected in the menu, which features fish brought directly from the fish market in Blanes, some 50km away.
This is a classic both of Girona and traditional Catalan cuisine. Situated right in the heart of the city, at Casa Marieta you'll feel as though you're eating the cooking of the best grandmothers in Girona! You'll (re)discover the flavours of the most traditional home-made stews, such as one with chicken and langoustines, or the one with duck and pears, as well as dishes such as snails and classic Catalan cannelloni ('canellons'). Fish is also a key ingredient, both simply cooked and in age-old recipes, such as fisherman-style 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 dishes of the day – there's always a surprise or two that you won't regret trying. Casa Marieta is also an excellent suggestion if you're looking for somewhere to dine in a group, and they'll organise a set menu to fit in with your collective budget.
Ca l’Arpa is much more than a restaurant. It's a place that has one Michelin star and is designed so that diners can enjoy the most noteworthy local products and ingredients. Behind every dish and creation from the eponymous Pere Arpa, there is love of and understanding about the land plus, above all, a unique interpretation of the local traditional culinary legacy. The team is very clear: they like to cook and transform their ingredients. What's more, they also make themselves a large part of what's served at each table, such as the bread, jams and cakes. If only we could take it all home!
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 spectacula
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.
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 you can enjoy a gastronomic experience in contemporary Catalan cuisine while taking 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 a 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.