What are the best restaurants in Catalonia?

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The restaurants of Catalonia occupy a prominent place in Spain’s rich and diverse culinary scene. Catalan cuisine is a true gastronomic treasure, influential not only in the Spanish context, but also on the international scene. Catalonia’s restaurants offer a unique fusion of tradition and the avant-garde, incorporating fresh, indigenous ingredients in dishes that capture the essence of the region.

Catalonia’s presence on the global culinary scene has been significantly enhanced by influential chefs such as the Adriá brothers and the Roca brothers. Especially Ferran and Albert Adriá, with their innovative and creative approach, have played a crucial role in redefining haute cuisine. Through iconic restaurants such as elBulli and Tickets, the Adriá brothers have taken Catalan cuisine to new heights, experimenting with avant-garde culinary techniques and challenging traditional conventions. Although none of these restaurants remain open, their legacy has inspired a generation of chefs and established Catalonia as an epicentre of culinary innovation, where tradition merges with the bold exploration of new flavours and textures. Read on to discover some of the best restaurants in Catalonia!

What restaurants should I visit in Catalonia?

1. El Celler de Can Roca, the best restaurant in Catalonia

El Celler de Can Roca is a prestigious restaurant in Catalonia located in Girona that has been considered the best restaurant in the world on two occasions by the famous list “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants”.

Founded and run by the Roca brothers (Joan, for savoury dishes; Josep as sommelier; and Jordi for desserts), the restaurant has gained worldwide renown for its innovative approach to haute cuisine and its commitment to gastronomic excellence. With three Michelin stars, El Celler de Can Roca is known for its creativity in combining local ingredients and avant-garde culinary techniques to create unique dishes and flavours. It is, without a doubt, one of the major benchmarks of contemporary Catalan gastronomy. However, if you want to make room for yourself in the dining room, prepare to be on a waiting list for about a year. Although the price of the tasting menus may vary slightly depending on the season, they generally range from €200 to €350.

If you want to sample the essence and origins of the Roca family’s cuisine, you can visit Can Roca, their parents’ restaurant, which opened in 1967 and later gave its name to the Celler and where the brothers began cooking. It offers a set menu for €20 with all the flavour you can imagine.

2. Can Boix

Can Boix is another restaurant in the province of Girona, in the municipality of Vilamarí, which you should visit if you are interested in good cuisine and perhaps you don’t want to or can’t wait until you get a table at the Celler. Or perhaps simply because you want to enjoy the unique flavours of genuine Catalan cuisine.

Can Boix is a family restaurant, also run by three brothers, which offers traditional stews prepared with care and the utmost respect for the product. In an idyllic setting in the heart of nature, you can enjoy grilled meats, rice dishes, sea and mountain stews, and much more! Price range: from 16€ to 40€

3. Disfrutar, the second best restaurant in the world in 2023

The Disfrutar restaurant in Barcelona is a culinary temple that carries in its blood the creativity and gastronomic innovation of the acclaimed Adrià brothers. Founded by Eduard Xatruch, Oriol Castro and Mateu Casañas (all three worked at El Bulli alongside Ferrán Adrià), this restaurant aims to present unique and surprising dishes that challenge traditional culinary conventions through new shapes, textures and flavours. It is a true celebration of experimental and artistic gastronomy in constant evolution, as in their laboratory they continue to research in order to offer new dishes all the time.

The focus on aesthetics and culinary narrative makes each visit a unique and exciting experience. And this is undoubtedly one of the reasons why in 2023, Disfrutar has achieved an impressive achievement by being ranked number 2 in the prestigious list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, a recognition that highlights its relevance in the global gastronomic scene. There are two menus for €255 each and two pairing options, one for €25 and the other for €145. On the first menu you can enjoy all the classics from the menu and on the second you can try new creations according to the season.

4. ABaC, another 3 Michelin-starred restaurant in Catalonia

Of course our list could not miss one of the most famous restaurants in Catalonia, the ABaC of the TV chef Jordi Cruz. With no less than three Michelin stars, the ABaC stands as a culinary icon in the region and a must-visit destination for lovers of haute cuisine. Set in an elegant and sophisticated setting in the heart of Barcelona, the restaurant offers a gastronomic experience of excellence in which every dish is a culinary masterpiece.

Chef Jordi Cruz, known for his participation in the TV show “MasterChef”, demonstrates his culinary mastery in every detail of ABaC’s menu. His creative approach and his ability to combine flavours and textures translate into dishes that dazzle both visually and gustatorily. The impeccable presentation and selection of quality ingredients combine to offer a unique sensory experience. In addition, the customer service is exceptional, creating a welcoming and elegant ambience that perfectly complements the exquisiteness of the food. The ABaC’s tasting menu features no less than 19 courses that explore Catalan gastronomy alongside other influences such as Japanese, Indonesian and French. It is priced at €295 with a wine pairing option for €140

5. Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria)

Without leaving Barcelona, but to put our feet back on the ground, we recommend the bar Can Paixano, also known as La Xampanyeria. Located near the Barcelonata metro station, Can Paixano is a traditional bar specialising in cava and sandwiches. For a very cheap price you can enjoy a wide variety of sparkling wines, accompanied by the best Catalan flavours in the form of tapas and sandwiches. You’ll fall in love with the casual atmosphere of this tavern, founded in 1969, as well as its cava and food. Bottles of cava cost around €5 and each tapa or sandwich costs around €3.

6. Rocambolesc, one of the best ice creams in Catalonia

We couldn’t end this post without mentioning a place to have dessert, and that place is Rocambolesc. As its name suggests, it is an ice cream parlour and confectionery owned by the Roca brothers and whose ice creams have been designed by Jordi, an expert pastry chef.

From creamy, ready-made ice creams to the possibility of creating your own by adding the toppings of your choice, tasting any of Rocambolesc’s ice creams is an experience for the senses. Aesthetically they are a real delight, especially the ice creams, with such rocambolesque shapes as human fingers or noses, mobile phones and even Darth-Vader’s mask. As for the taste… You’d better try it, it’s worth it! You can also find other products such as chocolate bars and designer treats. The price of the ice cream ranges from €3.30 to €4.95. You can find Rocambolesc ice cream parlours in Girona, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and even Houston.

Gastronomy of Catalonia

Catalan gastronomy is a vivid expression of the cultural and geographical richness of the region. Its signature dishes reflect the diversity of local ingredients available, from the mountains to the sea. Catalan cuisine makes ingenious use of fresh products such as fish, seafood, olive oil, sausages, vegetables and aromatic herbs. The combination of quality ingredients with traditional and modern culinary techniques results in exquisite and unique dishes.

Typical dishes include “escalivada”, a mixture of roasted peppers, aubergines and onions; “esqueixada”, a salad of shredded cod, tomato, onion and olives; “calçots”, grilled spring onions accompanied by romesco sauce; and the iconic “crema catalana”, a dessert similar to crème brûlée. In many of the restaurants we recommend above you won’t be able to try the more traditional versions of these dishes, but you can enjoy the symbiosis of tradition and innovation that is evident in world-renowned restaurants, making the region a must-visit gastronomic destination for lovers of fine food.

What should I know before a trip to Catalonia?

  • Catalonia is a very touristy region and its restaurants are very popular: book in advance.
  • Some restaurants, such as El Celler de Can Roca, have waiting lists of up to a year: count on this before organising a trip.
  • Be aware that meal times in Catalonia may differ from other places. Lunch is usually served later, with lunch starting at 13:30 and dinner at around 21:00.
  • Tipping is not compulsory in Catalonia or in Spain in general, but it is common to leave a little extra as a token of appreciation for service.
  • Although credit cards are widely accepted, it is advisable to carry some cash, especially in smaller places.
  • Menus in some places may be in Catalan, but most will also offer Spanish and English versions.
  • Many restaurants offer “menú del día” at lunchtime, which is a very good and inexpensive way to try local dishes. During the weekend the menú del día may be more expensive.
  • If you want to try several typical dishes, don’t hesitate to order “raciones” or “tapas” and share them with your companions.
  • Explore local markets such as the Boqueria Market in Barcelona for fresh, authentic ingredients.
  • At the more touristy spots you’ll find Happy Hour.

How to organise an itinerary through the restaurants of Catalonia?

Register or download the Passporter App and discover all its possibilities.

  • Get inspired by other travellers’ experiences, photos and itineraries.
  • Organise your trip by the categories that suit you best: dates, number of days or type of trip (beach, mountain, restaurants…).
  • Add your friends so they can see and modify all the plans and trip information.
  • Create your own itinerary of your destination with everything you want to visit each day.
  • Add the stops that interest you the most, including your accommodation, restaurants, museums…
  • Book your flights, accommodation, transfers and activities through a single app.
  • Save all your documents in the app so you always have everything at hand: reservations, boarding passes, important documents…
  • Make any changes you need to make and you’re all set for your trip.
  • Share your experience with other users. Upload photos of the places you’ve visited on your trip to the app and inspire other travellers with your experience. You can also share your own travel tips and recommendations for places to see in Catalonia.
  • Enjoy your trip to Catalonia and its restaurants!

If you have any doubts about how to do it, you can check our post: How to create a travel itinerary in Passporter.

Frequently asked questions about restaurants in Catalonia

How many Michelin stars has Catalonia accumulated?

Catalonia is the most awarded autonomous community in Spain with a total of 69 Michelin stars in 53 restaurants. The restaurants with the most Michelin stars, 3 each, are:
El Celler de Can Roca (Girona)
ABaC (Barcelona)
Lasarte (Barcelona)
Cocina Hermanos Torres (Barcelona)

How many Michelin-starred restaurants are there in Barcelona?

There are a total of 26 restaurants in Barcelona awarded with at least 1 Michelin star, of which 3 have 3 stars and 5 have 2 stars.

How much does it cost on average to eat in Barcelona?

Barcelona has bars and restaurants to suit all budgets. Generally speaking, we estimate an average budget of between €14 and €55 per person per day for food. Of course, if you decide to visit some of the restaurants recommended above, the price can go up to €500 per menu in the case of Lasarte restaurant or €300 in the case of ABaC.

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