Barcelona can be an incredibly romantic city, thanks to its old buildings, long beaches and cozy cafés. There’s no lack of choice when it comes to where to take a date either. Whether you like good old-fashioned candlelit tables, or prefer to impress your date with something a little trendier, here are the best restaurants to go on a date to in Barcelona.
Restaurant, Asian, Fusion, $$$
Thai-style razor clams | Courtesy of Dos Palillos
If the idea of taking a date to a Michelin-starred restaurant is a little daunting for your wallet, the bar area at Dos Palillos will come as a pleasant surprise. This Asian-Catalan fusion restaurant is run by an ex-el Bulli chef—a restaurant voted Best Restaurant in the World five times. The bar area is stylishly informal and you can order a selection of dishes to share à la carte. Alternatively, the outdoor courtyard is cozily romantic at night, with its wrought iron gates, flickering candles and the outline of the ancient building it stands against.
Taking a date for pizza might be considered risky to some—too cheap?—but not if the pizzeria is on the Forbes list of the 10 coolest places to eat in 2018. Frankie Gallo Cha Cha Cha is quite unlike any other pizza joint in the city. They offer artisanal pizzas, with toppings that sound pinched from a gourmet restaurant, in a hip, urban dinning room. Old-school hip-hop and neon signage add to the cool vibe of the large dinning area, which is usually pretty bustling.
Tucked away on a quiet street in Poble Sec, so much about Casa Xica screams “romance”—from the cozy dinning room and its soft lighting, to the fact that it’s run by a couple of chefs who went traveling to Asia together and upon their return decided to open a place together. The seasonally changing menu features Asian-inspired dishes that also work well for sharing. The wine list features exclusively natural wines but the waiters are well prepared to guide you to the right choice.
When it comes to romantic settings, the outdoor terrace at Martinez gets it just right. Perched on the edge of Montjuïc, the terrace overlooks the sea and even manages to make the industrial port below take on a mystical appearance after dark. The upmarket Catalan cuisine at Martinez includes highly recommendable paella and lobster rice, as well as a selection of fresh seafood. Remarkably, the terrace works just as well for lunch as it does for dinner, both in the summer and winter, thanks to gas lamps and blankets.
Show the apple of your eye that you’re up to date with what’s-what on the local food scene by treating them to a night at Rilke. Located in a glamorous town house of the Eixample, the stylish interior has an Art Déco feel to it, with lavish velvet sofas, gold-framed mirrors and eye-catching lampshades. The menu is designed by chef Rafa Peña of the very popular Gresca restaurant, offering modern Catalan cuisine on vintage porcelain plates.
Located to the far side of the up-and-coming Poble Sec neighbourhood, Xemei is something of a diamond in the rough, offering a much more sophisticated experience than the area might suggest. One of the best Italian restaurants in town, Xemei specialises in Venetian cuisine and serves a mouth-watering selection of fresh pasta dishes, seafood and meat dishes according to traditional Venetian recipes. The wine list includes bold Italian reds and stunning natural varieties. One of the best things about Xemei, however, is the atmosphere, and the essence of fine dining—the expert service, the quality of execution, the reverence for top ingredients—is given an urban finish, with crisp, white tablecloths contrasting a graffitied wall, and fresh-faced waiters talking you through your choice of Barolo.
Pla Restaurant is everything you’d hope for when thinking of a romantic restaurant in the Gothic Quarter. Located on a charming old street, the restaurant boasts exposed stone walls and high, vaulted ceilings. The food offering is modern Catalan cuisine and the restaurant is one of the now-rare places in the neighbourhood still frequented by locals. In many ways, this is a classic Barcelona date location, which is ideal for couples wanting a more traditional take on romance.