The 7 Oldest Restaurants in Barcelona

The entrance to the 7 Portes restaurant
The entrance to the 7 Portes restaurant | © Stéphane Goldstein / Flickr
Tara Jessop

If there are thousands of restaurants in Barcelona today, few can lay claim to being quite as old as these places. Whether they’re humble tapas bars that have been in the same family for generations, or grandiose restaurants which have stood the test of time, these are the oldest and most historic restaurants you should visit in Barcelona.

1. Can Culleretes

Restaurant, Spanish

Though many restaurants would like to lay claim to the title of Barcelona’s oldest restaurant, Can Culleretes is known to all to be the only rightful bearer of the name. Open since 1786, the restaurant allegedly got its name because the head waiter could often be heard shouting ‘Noies, culleretes’ or ‘Girls, spoons’, prompting the waitresses to polish the cutlery. The walls of the dining room are covered in paintings depicting scenes of early 20th century bourgeois life in Barcelona, accompanied by photos of some of the most notable patrons. On the menu you’ll find an ample selection of meats, fish and seafood, hot and cold starters, soups, salads and other local delicacies.

2. Restaurant 7 Portes

Restaurant, Spanish

Paella at 7 Portes
© Vinicius Pinheiro / Flickr

This restaurant is named quite simply after the seven doors which guard its entrance. When the 7 Portes first opened in the early 1900s it was a café, frequented by local politicians, artists and businessmen alike. By the 1960s it was regarded one of the best seafood and paella restaurants in El Born. The stylish dining room retains a certain retro glamour with its checkered tile floor and wood-panelled walls.

3. Els Quatre Gats

Restaurant, Spanish

The Quatre Gats – meaning ‘four cats’ in Catalan – was founded as a literary café and inspired by the famous Chat Noir café in Paris. The restaurant is famous for having been one of Pablo Picasso‘s haunts in his Barcelona days. The restaurant’s interior has retained its turn of the century charm and original artwork on the walls. The menu offers a choice of rather traditional Catalan dishes, including local seafood and meat.

4. Can Pineda

Restaurant, Spanish

© russellstreet / Flickr

Can Pineda is the kind of place you need to be told about to find it, tucked away far from the tourist trail in the neighbourhood of El Clot. Open since 1904, the restaurant’s dining area doesn’t seem to have changed much in recent times, with dark wooden furniture and pictures of former patrons lining the walls. The menu on the other hand has been updated and you’ll find classic Catalan dishes elegantly presented and updated in keeping with the times.

5. Los Caracoles

Restaurant, Spanish

Located just a stone’s throw from La Rambla, Los Caracoles is a traditional Spanish restaurant with a rustic but cosy dining room lined with all kinds of memorabilia. The restaurant, open since 1835, is famous for the dish which gives it its name – the snails – but also for its large spit-roast fire grill which produces delicious roast chickens. You’ll also find a wide selection of seafood and fish on the menu, as well as paella dishes and traditional tapas.

6. Bar Electricitat

Bar, Spanish, Tapas

The Barceloneta | © Eric Chan / Flickr
© Eric Chan / Flickr

Bar Electricitat – meaning ‘Bar Electricity’ – is so-named because the building was the first to receive mains electricity in the working-class neighbourhood of La Barceloneta. The area is still home to many a rustic tapas bar serving humble local fare, and Bar Electricitat is just this kind of place. A casual spot with a no-fuss dining and drinking area, this place offers a menu comprising a mixture of hot and cold tapas, including the famous Barceloneta ‘Bomba’: a breadcrumbed ball of mashed potato stuffed with meat and served with a spicy tomato sauce.

7. Restaurant Antiga Casa Rafael

Restaurant, Spanish

Founded in 1873, the Restaurant Antiga Casa Rafael has been in the same family since the beginning – all descendants of the founder, Rafael Jornet. An informal restaurant serving home-cooked local fare, the Antiga Casa Rafael is located on the main street of the upmarket neighbourhood of Sarrià. The menu features dishes such as broad beans and baby squid cooked in their ink, juicy steak from the nearby Girona province and a selection of home-made desserts such as crema Catalana (the local version of crème brûlée) and mel i mato (fresh cheese served with honey).

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