Get ready to satisfy your taste buds and explore the vibrant and historic Gothic Quarter of Barcelona! With over 2,000 years of history and culture, it’s no surprise that the Gothic Quarter is a haven for traditional Catalan cuisine. Forget about the tourist traps in La Rambla and follow us as we unveil 5 of our favorite restaurants and tapas bars in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
Here we help you escape the notorious tourist traps that line Las Ramblas and seek out the most authentic tapas bars and restaurants in Barcelona’s iconic Gothic Quarter. Disfruten, amigos!
Bar la Plata
First on the list is Bar la Plata, a hidden gem tucked away in one of the Gothic Quarter’s backstreets. This tiny traditional tapas bar has been around since 1945 and is a favourite among locals. The minimalist approach, with only four tapas options, has been the key to their success. Try their famous pescadito frito (deep-fried sardines) and pair it with excellent house wine and vermouth. Experience the thrill of dining at a spot where celebrity chefs have savored their meals and attempted to keep it hush-hush.
Address: Carrer de la Mercè 28,08002
Les Quinze Nits
Next up, Les Quinze Nits, a stunning restaurant located in one of Barcelona’s most beautiful and iconic squares, Plaça Reial. This elegant restaurant offers traditional Mediterranean and Catalan cuisine, making it an ideal spot for a sophisticated lunch or dinner with inspiring views. With a set lunch menu priced around €20, you can indulge your senses with two courses, dessert, and wine. Make sure to grab a table on the sunny terrace for an unforgettable experience.
Address: Plaça Reial, 6, 08002
La Alcoba Azul
Third on the list is La Alcoba Azul, a local treasure hidden on a small street near Plaza Sant Jaume. Their specialty is their tostas, which are toasted bread garnished with a harmonic blend of toppings. Try the Lamb Tosta, topped with lamb, eggplant, spinach, hummus, shallot, cherry tomato confit, and tzatziki, or the delectable goat-cheese stuffed peppers with rose marmalade. Come early to secure prime seating inside the cozy interior or outside on the terrace for a quintessential Barcelona experience.
Address: Carrer de Salomó Ben Adret, 14, 08002
Cafè de l’Acadèmia
Cafè de l’Acadèmia is fourth on the list and is famed for serving traditional regional cuisine. Located in the charming Plaça de Sant Just, this is one of the finest places to eat in the Gothic Quarter. Owner Jordi Casteldi has his own vineyard, making this an ideal place to pair your feast with a bottle or two of the good stuff. With plenty on offer for meat lovers and seafood fanatics alike, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.
Address: Carrer dels Lledó, 1, 08002
Last but certainly not least is Los Caracoles, a restaurant that has been around since 1835 and is still run by the founding family. Located on Carrer dels Escudellers, this restaurant has a rustic ambiance with looming chandeliers, darkwood furnishings, and hulking stone archways. Catalan cuisine has strong French influences, and one of the most Catalan of all Catalan dishes is snails (‘caracoles’ in Spanish). Start with the house special snails and a bowl of the bouillabaisse fish stew, which has been on the menu since 1925. And don’t miss the roasted chicken, which has become a local legend. Finish off your banquet with a traditional crema Catalana, which is similar to French crème brûlée, but the locals will tell you it originates from Catalonia.
Address: Carrer dels Escudellers, 14, 08002
Now that you have discovered the culinary gems of the Gothic Quarter, it’s time to gather your loved ones and indulge in a scrumptious meal in this lively and culturally rich area of Barcelona. ¡Buen provecho, amigos!
May 9, 2023 | Words and photos by Charles Liondae for Eye On Food Tours