Located on the shores of the Mediterranean and with good access to the Atlantic, it’s no surprise that you can find some really tasty fish in Barcelona. Yet, it’s not always easy to know where the best seafood restaurants are in the Catalan capital. Whether you’re looking for a fine-dining experience or something a little more casual, these are the best places for fresh seafood in Barcelona.
Restaurant, Spanish, Seafood, $$$
A large part of what makes La Paradeta such a great night out is the restaurant’s concept: just like at the market, clients choose their fish at the ice-counter, order by weight and then wait for their order to be called out at the kitchen. Order as little or as much as you like from a huge variety of fresh fish and seafood, including razor clams, cockles, mussels, squid, octopus and more. If the décor is a little basic – and service rather on the DIY side – the quality of the produce is what draws in the clients.
One of the most prestigious seafood restaurants in Barcelona, Botafumeiro is the kind of place you’d like to spend a long Sunday lunch. The fish is bought in daily from the finest catches of the Med and the Atlantic and the cuisine is similarly a blend of Catalan and Cantabrian gastronomy. Waiters in starched white jackets pass by with large platters piled high with lobster, crab and whatever else caught the chef’s eye that morning. The wine list includes some rather impressive bottles to match the occasion.
Picking a restaurant in La Barceloneta can be something of a hit-and-miss affair but there are a few places you won’t go wrong with. La Mar Salada opened its doors back in 1993 when in Barcelona and the Barceloneta were only just becoming the major tourist destinations they are today. Then, as now, the restaurant’s vision is to serve fresh, well-cooked fish at reasonable prices. The current head-chef, Marc Singla, has worked to update classic recipes to offer guests an altogether more contemporary dining experience.
A creative lobster dish Courtesy of Rías de Galicia
The story of team behind Rías de Galicia goes from the humble beginnings of a local husband and wife who wanted to open a good seafood restaurant, to co-opening Tickets – one of Barcelona’s most famous tapas bars – with world-renowned chefs Albert and Ferran Adrià. Long story short: Rías de Galicia is today one of the leading seafood restaurants in Barcelona thanks to its emphasis on outstanding quality produce and commitment to both culinary tradition and creativity.
Located right on the harbour front of La Barceloneta, this eponymous restaurant prides itself on being one of the big names of the classic Barcelona dining scene. The kind of place local business-men take clients to impress them, the restaurant serves a selection of starters and sharing dishes, as well as traditional rice dishes and whole cooked fish. The setting is unique and offers fantastic views of the Marina Port Vell harbour and the many luxury yachts which moor there.
Perched on the side of Montjuïc hill, Martínez overlooks the busy Barcelona port and Mediterranean sea behind it. Although not exclusively a seafood restaurant, delicacies of the sea are considered to be Martínez’s specialities: line-caught prawns, juicy lobster, French oysters, gourmet tinned seafood and whole roast fish. The lobster ‘arroz caldoso‘ or ‘stewed rice’ is one of the best in the city.
Kaiku is something of a well-kept secret: located at the very end of the strip of restaurants that line the Passeig Joan de Borbò in the Barceloneta, it’s very much a local’s eatery. The menu changes almost daily depending on what’s in season and the lunch-time menu – you may have to ask to be shown it if you’re not from around here – is a real bargain at just €11.50 for three courses and a drink.
A family run business which has been open in the Barceloneta since the 1950s, not much has changed on the menu of this fish-forward tapas bar. Most of the dishes come as sharing portions of either steamed, grilled or fried fresh fish and seafood with a few salads and meat dishes alongside. Diners can expect to eat plentifully for €15 a head with a bottle of wine or a few glasses of vermouth (watch out for the dash of gin).
This is about as simple a fish restaurant you could expect to come across in a city but Can Maño is full every night. The menu consists in nothing more than a list of fish and seafood which can come cooked one of either two ways: fried, or grilled with a little garlic and parsley. Don’t expect silver service or fancy décor, things will get wiped off the menu quickly as they run out and service is always rushed. Cheap and cheerful but excellent at what they do.
Another of the more reliable Barceloneta seafood restaurants, El Suquet de L’Almirall gets its name from the suquet de peix: a Catalan fish stew which consists of a rich sauce and tender morsels of fish and seafood. The kitchen is run by local chef Quim Marqués who has worked in a number of highly-regarded establishments across Barcelona and Spain. The menu has a wide selection of fish, seafood, meat and vegetable dishes and while all are equally flavoursome, the catch-of-the-day fish is usually the show-stopper.