The restaurant scene in Barcelona is as hot as ever, and new eateries continue to pop up on the local foodie radar every month. While the Asian-food obsession is still going strong, Middle Eastern, Indian and even classic old Italian are among the flavours of Barcelona’s hottest new restaurant openings. Here’s our list of the best new eateries to include on your Barcelona foodie bucket list this year.
Behind this formidable name lies the latest project by the brothers Stefano and Max Colombo of the Poble Sec institution Xemei. Located in an old storehouse in bustling El Raval, Frankie Gallo Cha Cha Cha is first and foremost a pizzeria, complete with a wood-fired oven and a well-seasoned pizzaiolo behind the counter. The large space has a cool, informal feel to it, although it would be right at home in London’s Shoreditch – no surprise they were listed in Forbes’ ‘10 coolest places to eat in 2018’.
It might seem like the rising star of Catalan cuisine already has a lot on his plate, but Jordi Cruz has added yet another restaurant to his list (he’s also at the helm of AbAC, Angle and Ten’s). Atempo draws its culinary inspiration from classic French bistros, giving them a contemporary, Catalan twist. The venue is more reminiscent of a 1930s jazz club, and the name itself is, indeed, a wink to the timelessness (atemporal in Spanish) of certain classic dishes.
With a name like ‘Happy Ending’, you should know to expect something special from the team behind Final Feliç. This restaurant is the second one by non-chefs Raquel Blasco and Marc Santamaria – they taught themselves while out in China – from the Catalan-Asian fusion restaurant Casa Xica. Final Feliç has stepped things up a notch both in terms of dish sophistication and price. Homemade pickles and fermented vegetables are paired with locally sourced meat and fish to create dishes inspired by China, Japan or Korea.
Until recently, fans of Nikkei cuisine in Barcelona had to be ready to fork out for the Albert Adrià-backed Pakta in Poble Sec – with menus starting at €80 per person. Now, fans of the Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine can visit Nikkei 103 any day during the week and enjoy a Nikkei menu del día for just €15.90. Although, once you take a look at the menu, it will be hard not to want to go à la carte, with options such as smoked eel causa with crispy quinoa and avocado, pork tacos with leche de tigre and miso or even chicken yakitori with a Huancaina sauce and sweet potato.
It’s a well-known fact among Barcelona’s British expat and curry-loving community that there just aren’t that many decent places to get a curry in the city. So, there was a good reason to get excited when the Indian street-food truck team behind Masala 73 decided to set down roots and open their own restaurant in Eixample. The menu features curry and so much more, with things such as spicy Tandoori chicken wings, dahi puris (a sort of Indian dumpling) and even an Indian veggie brunch.
The Montbar has long been considered a reference on the Barcelona ‘casual dining’ scene, combing an informal bar-style dining area with a menu more akin to that of a gourmet restaurant. Mediamanga is the younger sibling of Montbar and has the same ambition of revisiting classic Spanish and Catalan dishes to give them a fresher, more sophisticated finish. The result is a popular tapas bar that already has the feel of a friendly neighbourhood staple.
The name is a suggestion of what guests can expect – or rather struggle to expect – from this latest restaurant by chef and restauranteur Albert Adrià. Once known as the younger brother of world-famous Ferran Adrià from elBulli, Albert Adrià is now respected in his own right for his empire of restaurants around the Avenida Parallel, including Tickets, possibly Barcelona’s hardest table to come by. Just round the corner, Enigma is a culinary experience like no other in the city, taking guests on a sensory journey surrounded by mystery and the unexpected.
Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Middle Eastern, European
If Middle Eastern cuisine was a big thing on the international stage in 2017, it went relatively unnoticed in Barcelona. That was until Levante came around. Located on a (relatively) quiet square in the Gothic Quarter, Levante has a slick, minimalist décor that betrays little about what to expect on your plate. The kitchen, which is open from morning to night, serves a selection of classic and contemporary Middle Eastern-inspired dishes such as the brunch-time favourite shakshuka, crispy flatbreads with zaatar and hummus, chickpea and feta salads and, of course, cakes laden with pistachios and dates.
There are many reasons why Rilke will be one of the hottest tables of 2018. For one, Rafa Peña from the much-talked-about Gresca restaurant and now wine bar oversees the kitchen. Secondly, the restaurant sits in a stunning Eixample flat, which features a leafy courtyard and large glass windows. Thirdly, the locale has been given a complete revamp at the hands of the team behind La Confiteria, L’Alegria and El Paradiso, meaning you know to expect great things of the interior design.
While a fast-food joint wouldn’t usually make it onto a list of best restaurants in a city, Barcelona is no ordinary city, and Chingón is no ordinary fast-food joint. In fact, it’s more of a homage to authentic Californian street food before it got too fast. Barbecue ribs are marinated for 24 hours and cooked until tender; burgers are flame-grilled for extra flavour. And tacos? Well, they could rival old Leo’s tacos back in LA. Save room for dessert: the Nasty LA Donut – i.e. a fried donut sandwiched with jam, vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and whipped cream – is epic if you can handle it.
If the name of this El Born restaurant sounds a little long, it’s because there are in fact two separate eateries behind the doors of Koku Kitchen Buns/Ramen & Gyoza Bar. After the success of Koku Kitchen Ramen, the owners decided to expand, both in terms of size and food offerings. Upstairs in Koku Kitchen Buns, choose from an eclectic selection of Asian dishes such as Korean spicy chicken wings, Cantonese pork ribs and, of course, buns or bao. Downstairs it’s all about the ramen, most of which comes with a rich tonkotsu broth, and the gyoza. You’ll have to choose upon entry where to eat as you can’t pick and mix from both menus, but you can’t go too wrong with either.