Food and Wine / 10 reasons to enjoy Barcelona's gastronomic revolution

10 reasons to enjoy Barcelona's gastronomic revolution

In the early 2000s, Barcelona and Catalonia were at the epicenter of the worldwide explosion of Catalan cuisine. It was the beginning of a unique gastronomic movement led by a few visionary chefs, such as Ferran Adrià, Santi Santamaria, Joan Roca, and Carme Ruscalleda, who catapulted our cuisine to the top of the world.

Two decades later, that haute cuisine revolution has spread and multiplied all over the world. That legacy continues today thanks to committed and courageous chefs with personal, unique, and solid restaurant projects in the city, who carry on the DNA of our cuisine.

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Catalan cuisine offers genius and constant innovation, respect for tradition with an eye to the future, and local, seasonal produce.

There are many ways to enjoy Barcelona and one of them is through the gastronomic revolution that the city is experiencing, but if you need more reasons to try it, keep reading!

Michelin starred restaurants

Taste the best restaurants renowned all over the world

Barcelona has 26 restaurants with 37 Michelin stars and 8 restaurants holding the Bib Gourmand award, in addition to 45 establishments that have obtained suns from the Repsol Guide. This means that, if you are a fan of signature cuisine, you cannot miss Barcelona's unbeatable gastronomic offer! From the three Michelin stars of Martín Berasategui's Lasarte, Jordi Cruz's Àbac and the cuisine of Disfrutar, headed by Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch, and Mateu Casañas and recognized as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world; the fusion cuisine of Dos Palillos, by Albert Raurich and Tamae Imachi, and Koy Shunka, by Hideki Matsuhisa and Caelis (Romain Fornell), among many others, Barcelona has hundreds of restaurants waiting to surprise you and to prove why Catalan cuisine is one of the most renowned in the world.

Restaurant 7 Portes

Discover unique restaurants with a lot of history

Can you imagine eating at a restaurant that opened its doors during the Industrial Revolution? Barcelona is a city where history is everywhere, even when it comes to gastronomy. To experience that, you simply need to go to Can Culleretes, one of the oldest restaurants in the city, located in the Gothic Quarter, which opened its doors in 1789. But this is not the only establishment with a long history!

In Ciutat Vella, you will find several places that were born in the 19th century and that are still in great shape: Bar Marsella – where they still serve their famous absinthe liquor –, Los Caracoles, 7 Portes, where you can try a Parellada rice dish and have pajamas for dessert, Casa Almirante and 4 Gats, among others.

Coca de recapte

Discover the authentic Catalan cuisine

Did you know that the oldest recipe book on Catalan cuisine, El Llibre de Sent Soví, dates back to the 14th century? Much has changed since then, of course, but the essence of Catalan gastronomy has remained the same and there is no better place to discover it than Barcelona, where you can taste the main recipes of Catalan cuisine. At Gaig Barcelona, headed by Carles Gaig, some of the best cannelloni in the city await you. At Can Ramonet, in Barceloneta, you can discover why the Bomba de la Barceloneta (a big croquette made with potato and stuffed with meat with a spicy touch) is called so. At the restaurant La Habana, in Raval, you can't miss the fricandó, one of the most emblematic stews of Catalan cuisine, which has been recognized as the Catalan people's favorite dish in 2021.

Santa Caterina

Enter and savor the 39 markets in Barcelona with fresh produce

If you are interested in learning where the ingredients of the dishes that you can find in Barcelona's restaurants come from, we have good news for you. All you have to do is visit one of the 39 fresh produce markets spread throughout the city's districts.

The best known and most spectacular markets are La Boqueria –which was named the best market in the world in 2017 – and Santa Caterina, in Ciutat Vella; but every neighborhood in Barcelona has its own market: Gracia, Carmel, Sants, Hostafrancs... We invite you to visit them and discover what the locals actually eat, how they buy, and what is the origin of the fresh produce that is sold there. In addition, if you are hungry, you can also have a delicious meal with the finest fresh products.

Flash Flash Tortilleria

Discover restaurants that are works of art

Eating is a multisensory experience, which means that restaurateurs should surprise you from the moment you walk through the door. The diversity of architectural styles that you can see in the streets of Barcelona is also reflected in its restaurants.

You can delve into the modernist spaces of 4 Gats, Cafè 1907, and Fonda España, or in the 60s atmosphere or the gauche divine of Flash-Flash (specialized in all kinds of frittatas). What about the modern architecture of Àbac, Disfrutar, and many other restaurants that use design, innovation, and creativity to surprise their visitors? Many of these restaurants are committed to Mediterranean and local cuisine and are the protagonists of the city's gastronomic revolution.


Enjoy a vermouth on one of Barcelona's terraces

Walking around Barcelona on a Sunday afternoon leads to some very interesting surprises. You will certainly find that the terraces of bars and restaurants are buzzing with activity, with groups of friends and families gathered for an appetizer and a vermouth. In fact, the vermouth tradition, which is deeply rooted throughout the country, implies a whole ritual: you need chips or patatas bravas with spicy sauce, olives, and marinated anchovies, again with a special sauce, all with a nice glass of red vermouth. Many of the best red vermouths come from Reus, near Tarragona, and there is no better way to discover them than by sitting on a terrace and enjoying a traditional glass of vermouth, or by visiting the traditional wineries of Barcelona, where, in addition to trying vermouth, you can buy it.


Learn about gastronomic traditions

The gastronomic heritage of Catalonia dates back to medieval times and is still based on the value of the local produce, which reflects the immense richness of the Catalan landscape: the sea, the mountains, the fields, the forests... This tradition gave birth to recipes that are very popular today.

The people of Barcelona love good food and traditionally good times gathered around a table. In fact, traditional holidays and festivals are usually associated with some kind of food.

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If you visit Barcelona around January 6, when the Three Wise Men come to the city to deliver presents for the children, you will find tortells (king cakes) in the windows of all the bakeries: from the most classic cakes, with marzipan and candied fruit, to modern versions with cream and truffle.

For Sant Jordi, the bakeries make a special bread, with cheese and sobrassada (a spicy pork sausage) that simulates the Catalan flag, and for Sant Joan, they bake a special cake with cream or candied fruit. Still hungry for more? Well, if you come to Barcelona at the end of October, you will discover tiny surprises called panellets, small cakes made with almond flour and topped with pine nuts and many other delicious combinations!

On Fat Thursday, during Carnival, the charcuteries hang egg sausages, and the pastry shops offer plenty of coques de llardons. If you prefer to come for Sant Josep, on March 19, you will taste a delicious crema catalana (Catalan cream) and at Easter, you can eat bunyols de quaresma, sweet fritters with a touch of aniseed covered with sugar, or buy a mona de Pascua, a traditional cake decorated with chocolate eggs that godparents give to their godchildren on Easter Monday.

At Christmas, one of the most magical times of the year in Barcelona, meals are celebrated with a tasty escudella soup and meat cannelloni. And don't forget the sweets: nougats (made with almonds, honey, egg white, and sugar) of all the flavors you can imagine and rolled wafers (made of flour, water, and sugar with a touch of lemon).


Come see how fish gets from the boat to the fish market.

In such a modern and cosmopolitan city like Barcelona, you can still find traditional activities related to food. Barcelona has one of the most important ports in Southern Europe with lots of freight traffic, but it also has a fishing pier (in Barceloneta, the fishing neighborhood) where every day the boats of the Fishermen's Association go fishing and then extremely fresh fish is auctioned at the fish market, so that the restaurants of the city, some in the very same fishing neighborhood, can prepare succulent seafood dishes.

Sustainable food

Share Barcelona's commitment to sustainability

The core idea that the only possible future is a sustainable future has long permeated Barcelona's food model. In fact, the city launched the first wholesale market of fresh organic food in Europe, called Biomarket, in 2021, when Barcelona was the World Capital of Sustainable Food. This is part of the food strategy based on proximity produce and zero kilometer products. You can also see all this in the food markets, where the stalls that focus on local production are identified with Comerç Verd (green trade) labels, as well as in restaurants that work with local suppliers.

Tast La Rambla

Experience gastronomic events all year round

Are you one of those people who, when traveling, are not satisfied with just touring the city, but also want to experience the festivals and fairs? In Barcelona, the gastronomic agenda is full of interesting events that gather thousands of visitors around food and cuisine every year!

From Tast a la Rambla in early June, which brings together restaurants and producers at the end of Barcelona's most famous promenade, to the Market of Markets in fall, when the city's markets take to the streets with stalls and tastings; events dedicated to street food, such as Born Street Food; Fira Àpat, dedicated to local Catalan food, in October; and the Earth Market, organized on Saturdays by Slow Food Barcelona. Barcelona is the ideal place for foodies!

And if you are lucky enough to visit Barcelona in summer, you can enjoy outdoor meals at the various festivals in Barcelona's neighborhoods, such as Sants and Gracia, and also during the city's main festival, ‘la Mercè’, celebrated on September 24.

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