Located on the sunny Mediterranean coast of north-east Spain, Barcelona has long been an attractive destination for gourmet travellers. We celebrate a few venues hand-picked by the chefs of local restaurant Disfrutar that provide a perfect complement to the steady return to normal life
The only restaurant in Barcelona to be voted into The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, Disfrutar was created in 2014 by three chefs – Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas – all of whom hail from the region of Catalonia and previously held senior positions in the creative culinary team at the legendary El Bulli.
Chefs Xatruch, Castro and Casañas (image: Joan Valera)
Over the last eight years, the trio’s unique, ground-breaking style of avant-garde cuisine rooted in Mediterranean traditions has led the restaurant to go from strength to strength, with exciting creations such as gazpacho in sandwich form, crispy egg yolk and liquid salad. We asked Castro, Xatruch and Casañas for their recommendations of post-pandemic places to eat in Barcelona – here are seven restaurants to satisfy your foodie needs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Passeig de la Zona Franca 228, Barcelona 08038
What the Disfrutar chefs say: “Granja Elena is perfect for anyone who enjoys savoury and hearty breakfasts. Highly recommended for the quality of the product and respect for tradition.”
What the restaurant is about: Traditional Catalan dishes with touches of Basque inspiration, made fresh with the best market produce available. A family-run restaurant since the 1970s, it is endlessly popular with locals for its good value for money and outstanding breakfasts and lunches. A hidden gem for which early booking is recommended.
What to order: Tomato tartare with salted tuna; cod omelette; scrambled eggs with onion and foie gras.
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Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 546, Barcelona 08011
What the Disfrutar chefs say: If you’re after a sweet breakfast, the cooks are adamant when it comes to recommending the “fantasy” that can be experienced at the hands of Christian Escribà, describing it as “a must if you visit Barcelona”.
What the restaurant is about: A pastry shop first founded in 1906 and now run by the fourth generation of the Escribà family, this sweet laboratory may evoke memories of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, with all manners of cakes, pastries, edible landscapes and more on display. The family’s motto has long been to “excite, surprise and create unique and unrepeatable moments” through their sweet creations.
What to order: Impossibly airy croissants; chocolate truffles shaped to look like red lips; colourful macarons and mignardises [bite-sized desserts].
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Ronda Sant Antoni, 41, Principal, Barcelona 08011
What the Disfrutar chefs say: “Alkimia is a safe bet. It has a high-level signature cuisine, seeking all the nuances of traditional Catalan cuisine, created by Jordi Vilà.”
What the restaurant is about: Forward-thinking and daring when it comes to its interpretation of Catalan cooking, Alkimia has managed to remain somewhat under the radar while building a loyal clientele. Since 2016, the restaurant has been located above the Moritz beer factory in an eye-catching series of spaces that include an open kitchen and elaborate private dining rooms.
What to order: Cured sardine with cherry romesco; zucchini flower with squid and four grains of rice; hazelnut coulant [molten middle dessert] with vanilla ice cream.
C/ Sant Antoni dels Sombrerers nº 3, Barcelona 08003
What the Disfrutar chefs say: The Disfrutar chefs have no doubts when it comes to recommending a fish restaurant in Barcelona, describing Estimar as “modern with quality cuisine by the hands of Rafa Zafra”.
What the restaurant is about: Spain is blessed with long coastlines that face both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and Estimar takes full advantage of this by making the most of fresh seafood from the regions of Catalonia, Galicia and Andalusia in an intimate and cosy space.
What to order: Crayfish carpaccio with caramelised onions (a tribute to El Bulli); pan-fried razor clams with warm marinade; devil ray in Sanluqueño dressing and roast garlic aioli.
Ganduxer 10, Barcelona 08021
What the Disfrutar chefs say: “Via Veneto is a classic in Barcelona. With more than 50 years of history, it’s the perfect example of tradition and know-how.”
What the restaurant is about: Via Veneto’s market-based cuisine uses products from Barcelona’s famous Boqueria market and the city’s many fish markets. Inspired by Catalan classics and Mediterranean techniques, chef David Andrés has helped cement the restaurant’s status as one of Barcelona’s most emblematic luxury restaurants.
What to order: Langoustine and prawn tartare with Waldorf salad and celery sorbet; fricassee of Mediterranean bluefin tuna with parmentier [a French potato dish]; charcoal-grilled lamb cutlets with potato soufflé.
C/ Mallorca 259, Barcelona 08008
What the Disfrutar chefs say: “For gastronomy lovers, a visit to this three-Michelin-starred restaurant is a must. Paolo Casagrande's work at Lasarte leaves no one indifferent.”
What the restaurant is about: Martín Berasategui’s gastronomic embassy in Barcelona serves the chef’s hit Basque dishes, but is also influenced by Casagrande’s love for Catalan cuisine, resulting in an experience that is full of surprises. With a painstaking level of detail on display in every dish – from the extensive à la carte to the full tasting menu – Lasarte has been impressing diners for more than 15 years.
What to order: Squid tartare with liquid egg yolk, onion and kaffir consommé; truffle duroc pig trotters with Iberian bacon, Jerusalem artichoke, watercress and mustard; warm chocolate cake, 70% cocoa and Earl Grey ice cream.
Carrer d’Elisabets 9, Barcelona 08001
What the Disfrutar chefs say: “For years, Albert Raurich has been making Dos Palillos one of the most prized restaurants for Asian fusion food in Barcelona. One of the top places to eat if you're visiting the city.”
What the restaurant is about: Raurich is continually building a dialogue between Spanish tapas and Japanese, Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. An alumnus of El Bulli, he brings the legendary restaurant’s ‘question everything’ philosophy straight to the table with his imaginative tasting menus – but more casual dim sum and street food experiences, as well as a brand new sake bar, are also available at the no-reservations counter.
What to order: Sake-steamed wagyu nigiri; wild sea bass narezushi rose; onsen tamago [a Japanese boiled egg preparation] made with quail egg marinated in white soybeans.
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