The Best Places for Fine Dining in Barcelona You Can Take a Date
The Atelier Restaurant, Morrison Street
The Catalan capital is home to some great fine dining establishments, whether you want classic local cuisine or fun fusion food. If you’re looking for somewhere to impress a date then these are some of the best restaurants in Barcelona to turn on the charm and win over your dinner partner.
Restaurant, Asian, Fusion, $$$
Thai-style razor clams | Courtesy of Dos Palillos
Located in the Raval neighbourhood, Dos Palillos is a Michelin-starred Asian-Spanish fusion restaurant lead by chef Albert Raurich, who spent ten years working up the ranks of the world-famous El Bulli restaurant. Open since 2008, Dos Palillos has three distinct dining areas: the outside terrace, the dining room and the bar area. This last option is the perfect place to take your date if you want all the quality of a fine-dining experience without any of the formality or fuss. It has the laid-back charm of a neighbourhood tapas bar but with the benefit of an experienced sommelier behind the bar.
Booking a table at Tickets will surely impress more foodie-oriented dining partners. Located on Avenida Parallel, Tickets belongs to the group run by world-famous Catalan chef Ferran Adrià – one of the pioneers of ‘molecular gastronomy’. This is the most coveted restaurant in Barcelona and reservations are notoriously difficult to achieve – not ideal when you’ve just met the love of your life and need a table for Saturday. However don’t despair, as every day at 4pm any tables which have not been confirmed are given out to whoever rings up first.
Located to the far side of the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Poble Sec, Xemei is something of a diamond in the rough. 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 some bold Italian reds as well as some stunning natural wines. Aside from the food, one of the best things about Xemei is the atmosphere, where the essence of fine dining – the expert service, the quality of execution, the reverence for ingredients – are given a young, urban finish: crisp white tablecloths contrast with a graffitied wall, while fresh-faced waiters talk you through your choice of Barolo.
Another Barcelona restaurant to bear the Adrià name, Pakta is responsible for introducing nikkei cuisine to the local fine-dining scene. For those who aren’t familiar with it, nikkei is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine applying the skills and precision of the great sushi masters to the exotic flavours of Peru. The small size of the venue lends it a cosy, intimate atmosphere which is only enhanced by the stylish wooden interior and open kitchen.
Open since 2015 at the hands of young catalan chef Àlvar Ayuso, Alvart has rapidly succeeded in making a name for itself on Barcelona’s fine dining scene. The philosophy here is to work with the highest quality ingredients to create dishes which highlight and enhance them. The restaurant is not very large and has a stripped-back, stylish décor where white tables stand against a wooden interior for a more natural effect. There are two menus to choose from in the evenings and the first one is just €50 per person – a relative bargain.
Escape the city centre and take your date uptown to the two-Michelin-starred ABaC restaurant, housed in the hotel of the same name. ABaC is famous for being the main site of aspiring young chef Jordi Cruz, the rising star of modern Catalan cuisine. While the influence of the molecular gastronomy movement is noticeable – think mousses, foams and smokes – there is a sense of respect for tradition too. The restaurant is spacious and offers views of the hotel garden while managing to retain an intimate, romantic atmosphere.