Situated in the heart of Eixample, this restaurant has made a name for itself as one of the city's best, following in the footsteps of its older brother, Alba Paris. The decor, a cross between a French brasserie and a modern New York City eatery, is cool and simple, with wood flooring, funky lighting and exposed brick walls lined with framed pictures. As for the food, chef Carlota Claver serves up old-time recipes using the freshest ingredients. Meats are a speciality, including an excellent chuleton de buey (T-bone ox steak).
Insider Tip: If you're blessed with warm weather, ask for one of the romantic tables-for-two on the terrace.
In 2011, Xavier Franco moved his already hugely popular restaurant into the hottest new hotel in the city: the Ohla Hotel. The restaurant is named after an elderberry plant with reputed healing powers – fitting, considering the magical concoction of dishes Franco serves up. Expect options such as scallops with cod tripe and black sausage, monkfish with snails, or traditional Catalan morcilla – a black pudding-style dish popular in Barcelona. Can't decide on what to have? Opt for one of the tasting menus.
Insider Tip: If you can't get a dinner reservation, make a booking for lunch and enjoy the special Midday Menu, which is available on weekdays.
This handsome 19th-century bistro-style restaurant, situated in a district traditionally associated with fishing, is the place to come for seafood (Els Pescadors translates as “the fishermen”). There are two dining rooms to choose from: one is old-school with marble tables and wooden rafters, the other is smarter with crisp white tablecloths. Whichever you go for, expect dishes like salted cod with samfaina (Catalan ratatouille), or local gambas (prawns). In summer, diners sit out on the lovely terrace overlooking a little square shaded by ficus trees.
Insider Tip: It’s a great place for families. Children can play safely in the traffic-free square while parents dine peacefully.
The name says it all – a cutting-edge eatery with exciting cuisine that stimulates all five senses. This is new wave Catalan cooking at its very best. Self-taught chef Jordi Artal offers a range of gourmet tasting menus, including a 10-course Gastronomic menu. Expect dishes like caviar with smoked sturgeon and poached quail's egg, or chocolate mousse with arbequina olive oil ice cream and roasted macadamias. It's no surprise that Artal picked up a Michelin star in November 2008.
Insider Tip: When making your reservation, specify that you’d like the Gastronomic menu. It is served only at 1.30pm and to a limited number of guests per day.
This tiny, rustic tapas bar opened its doors over 100 years ago and has been run by four generations of a local family, the Quimets. Visit on almost any day of the week and you'll find it packed to the rafters – the food is that good. Choose from an impressive assortment of tapas, made on the spot in front of you. There are classics such as potato croquettes and fried empanadas, alongside more unusual delicacies like their signature smoked salmon montadito (a small slice of baguette with topping) with cream cheese and truffle honey.
Insider Tip: You can also purchase an assortment of their Spanish produce and wines.
Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25 08004 Barcelona; Tel: 34 93 442 3142