Our friend (and amazing art consultant and interior designer) Maria Brito is currently in Barcelona on vacation, so we had her put together a restaurant guide for us. She has impeccable taste, so it’s no surprise that we want to visit every spot on her list immediately…
“Barcelona is a foodie’s dream. Seriously. The city has restaurants for every taste, budget and style. It is, however, the Catalonian cuisine, either unadulterated or with a fusion twist, where my preferences lie. Here is my top ten in no particular order.” – Maria Brito
1. Tapas 24: This is one of Carles Abellan’s (he is one of the most respected chefs in Barcelona) restaurants. The place is gourmet but unpretentious. The premise is sharing and the tapas are to die for. I’m biased toward the scrambled eggs with fries and foie gras. The vibe is very informal and walk-ins are not only encouraged but welcomed.
2. Comerc 24: The high-end version of Tapas 24. Mr. Abellan, a disciple of the super famous chef Ferran Adrià, is a master of small and elaborate dishes that are beyond flavorful and deserve to be enjoyed slowly. The place is beautifully designed and considered one of Barcelona’s chicest dining spots.
3. Bar Mut: Iconic yet casual, the menu is short and comprised of a few specials (usually seafood) and the “star” dishes, which remain unchanged. There’s a “secret” bar that has to be mentioned for post-dinner drinks; it’s called Bar Mutis and one must be on the list to gain access to it.
4. El Quim de la Boqueria: La Boqueria is one of the most celebrated markets in the world, bursting with fresh food and small restaurant stalls. El Quim is definitely the big thing here; people line up and wait for a long, long time with the hopes of getting one of the coveted barstools along the open kitchen. The food is typical Catalonian, cooked simply, but to perfection.
5. Koyshunka: Incredible combination of Japanese cuisine, molecular techniques and local flavors. It was recently awarded its first Michelin star.
6. Roca Moo: Stunningly designed, ample and art-centric, this place is a dream for foodies and art lovers: the collection of pieces on the walls constantly rotates and each table has its own sculpture sitting on top. The food is sophisticated but always deferring to local ingredients and the Catalonian twist. The tasting menus are the way to go.
7. Pepito: The new kid on the block that opened less than a year ago specializes in delicious versions of “Pepito”, which is a sandwich made with steak on toasted baguette. There are many other options in the menu, even for vegetarians. The space is cozy, warm and inviting.
8. Monvinic: A remarkable wine bar with expansive areas and a newly opened terrace. They probably have the most extensive selection of wines by the glass and half bottles that I have ever seen. The food, whether “tapas” or large courses, is superb. They have smaller rooms for wine tastings and the overall décor is absolutely gorgeous. The Wall Street Journal once called it “The Best Wine Bar in the World”.
9. Can Majó: Located in the popular Barceloneta Beach, this restaurant is perfect for families and large groups. It’s a seafood paradise, and I will venture to say that it has the best paella I have eaten in my whole life, hands down.
10. Cal Pep: Traditional tapas bar, so cool and so authentic. The place to be is the front bar. Pep, the owner, is usually there, hanging out with everybody, laughing and telling jokes. Warning: They will keep pouring wine or cava in your glass whether you like it or not.
*Maria Brito, photographed in Barcelona, Spain by Jordi Pelegri. Follow Jordi on Instagram @jordipelegri.