This former fishing neighbourhood in Barcelona is considered the best place in the city for fresh fish and seafood – this is where you’ll find some of the best paella in town. Despite its popularity with tourists, the area has managed to preserve some of its most authentic eateries and locals still like to eat out here. Here’s our pick of the best Catalan restaurants around.
Restaurant 7 Portes is one of Barcelona‘s oldest and most well-known restaurants. The grand dining room has kept many of its original features such as the black and white checkered floor tiles, and altogether it oozes old-fashioned elegance. Most diners come here for the paella, which has been cooked to the same recipe for decades. There are other classic Catalan dishes on the menu too, such as stuffed canelones and local white beans.
Most people walk straight past the Cova Fumada, and if it weren’t for the queue, there’d be little to suggest from the outside that this one of La Barceloneta‘s most popular local eateries. A humble affair with a a selection of dishes scribbled on a white board, La Cova Fumada serves unfussy home-cooking at local prices. The venue is small, tables tend to be cramped and dishes go on a first come first served basis, so get there early if you want to bag a spot.
Perched on the very end of La Barceloneta’s strip of buildings, Kaiku is a cozy Catalan restaurant overlooking the sea. The weekday lunch menu costs just €12.50 (USD$14.60) and features a choice of classic and contemporary dishes firmly rooted in Catalan cuisine. When the sun is shining the outdoor terrace is great for people watching, while the dining room is nicely snug for those cooler Barcelona days.
One of the many restaurants overlooking La Barceloneta’s marina, La Mar Salada is a contemporary Catalan seafood restaurant. The bright, modern dining room is like a blank canvas against which the rather elegant dishes stand out. Many classic Catalan dishes have been updated and given a contemporary twist: among other delicious variations, chickpeas get whisked up into a light hummus, and the crema Catalana – a type of local creme brûlée – becomes a mousse.
This cheap and cheerful seafood tapas restaurant has been around since the 1950s. Jai-Ca is popular with locals for its affordable dishes and buzzing atmosphere, especially at weekends when friends gather for a vermouth and a few tapas. Fried sardines, grilled squid, steamed clams and vegetables topped with romesco sauce – a red pepper and nut dip – are just some of the dishes to watch out for.