A city as rich in culture as coastal cuisine, Barcelona is an established mecca for foodies worldwide. Each year, millions trek to the seaside metropolis to taste typical Catalan fare, which is based largely on Mediterranean ingredients like fresh tomàquets (tomatoes), Arbequina olis d´oliva (olive oils), bolets (mushrooms), porc (pork), formatges (cheeses), and peix (fish). But fine gastronomy in the Catalunya capital isn´t limited to traditional dishes—it also embraces a diverse range of cultures from around the world. From fine fusion dining to cheap Caribbean eats, Catalan chefs and cooks creatively combine flavors and textures in a way that appeals to sophisticated and simple palates alike.
Although storied for tiny plates and a deceptively simple seafood rice dish, the Cataluyna culinary experience is més de tapes i paella (more than tapas and paella). Here are five delicious non-traditional places to try on your Catalunya holiday.
As a touchstone of culture and tradition, the Catalan people take their food—and their drinks!—very seriously. Stocked with 200 organic vinos and a mouth-watering menu, Can Cisa / Bar Brutal celebrates both components in an unpretentious manner. Using seasonal ingredients like roast pumpkin, smoked swordfish, and marinated beets, renowned Chef Kaya Jacobs takes you on a whimsical culinary adventure. The approachable sommeliers are happy to pair Can Cisa´s artful cuisine with wine that both complements and enhances the food´s flavors.
Boasting more than 50 breweries, Cataluyna leads España´s craft beer scene. In the land of gintonics, popular local brands like Birra 08, Iberian, and Black Lab have helped cultivate a new legion of beer enthusiasts. The terraza at Black Lab Brewhouse is the perfect place to find la cara del perro (the Spanish equivalent of “the hair of the dog”). Chase away your hangover with a pint of La Debutante, a light-bodied American wheat, and beer-battered fries at this Barceloneta Beach-based brewery.
Built in an old stone cellar, Arcano provides old-world intimacy in an enchanting setting. With the exception of steak (which is imported from Argentina), Arcano´s ingredients are hand-selected from local markets to ensure the highest quality cuisine. Be sure to start with the taula de formatges artesanals (table of artisan cheeses) and finish with the pirámide mousse de xocolata i crema de caramel (chocolate mousse pyramid and caramel cream).
Acclaimed vegetarian restaurateur Teresa Carles founded Flax & Kale, a “flexitarian” restaurant, to promote healthy and innovative gastronomy in Barcelona. Fresh squeezed juices, organic coffees (featuring the best chai latte in the city!), and Catalan cerveza accompany primarily plant-based cuisine and a handful of fish dishes—you must try the exceptional trout and coconut ceviche. Located in the Raval, an increasingly hip and popular young neighborhood, Flax & Kale is one of few gourmet restaurants to offer a full weekend brunch. The salmon mini-burgers shouldn’t be missed.
Located inside the iconic Mercat de Santa Caterina (an established foodie destination in and of itself), Cuines de Santa Caterina is a locals-approved option for wining and dining in Cataluyna from dawn to midnight. Cuines serves unique Asian-Mediterranean fusion cuisine in a lively atmosphere for a reasonable price. Whether you sit at the sleek wooden tables indoors or on the bustling market-side patio, Cuines sets the stage for a truly original culinary experience that you will remember long after your holiday ends.
Cricket can be found bronzing and brooding on the Barcelona beaches with her Doberman Bama.