Barcelona's Best Downtown Restaurants: A Maze of Options

Over the years Barcelona's culinary scene has diversified and improved tenfold and today it’s home to renowned Spanish as well as international chefs and a handful of mouth watering Michelin Star gems. Barcelona's downtown district or, Ciutat Vella (Old City), in particular, is a maze of windy streets, back alleyways and medieval courtyards and is full of delicious, trendy and rustic restaurants; many of which are hard to find if you don’t know where to look. Whether you're searching for authentic Catalan dishes, Spanish tapas, Mediterranean fusion, French cuisine or a mix of everything, Barcelona's downtown core has an incredible selection of places to dine. What's so great about the city is how easy it is to get from one area to the next and this is especially true in the Old City. The Born, Gothic Quarter and Ravel neighborhoods are all in very close proximity of one another so you can have dinner in one place and go for drinks after in a completely different 'barrio' in less than 10 minutes on foot. Another perk to dining in Ciutat Vella, is that after dinner you can take a short stroll to the beach and walk along the boardwalk overlooking the sea and even stopping for a drink at one of the many chiringuitos (beachside restaurants) that are always open between March – October.


A slice of Paris in the heart of Barcelona's Ciutate Vella, if you're in the mood for a french cafe/bistro, this is the place to go. Run by all French staff, this rustic, quaint and incredibly personable cafe acts as a restaurant as well as a late night wine bar. It's an ideal place to set up shop and work for the day using their free Wi-Fi while sipping on a glass of Bordeaux accompanied with a plate of Comte cheese. Their food is high-end but the vibe is casual, unpretentious and incredibly inviting. They also have a wonderful terrace which is perfect during the summer.

Delicious Basque style food in Barcelona's trendy Born neighborhood. Orio is a great place to eat pintxos, Basque style tapas, or have a full on meal. With a large variety of seafood, meats, cured cheeses, salads and an amazingly long wine list, Orio is a good 'go to' restaurant for lunch or dinner. Situated just outside the Santa Catarina market, it has a lively patio, ideal in the summer and heated in the winter. It's perfectly situated, close to bars and not far from Passeig Del Born. Orio has several locations throughout the city, the Born restaurant is one of the more central spots.

El Foro

A beef lover's paradise, El Foro cooks a mean Argentinean bife de chorizo and is one of the few places in Barcelona that knows how to make a steak 'poco hecho' (bloody rare). This lively, airy and spacious restaurant is excellent for dates, parties or just an intimate evening out amongst friends. When it comes to lunch, they have a very affordable three-course lunch menu. Even if you're not a carnivore, you still have options; El Foro has an extensive menu including pasta, pizza and salad dishes amongst other Argentinean specialties. Every morning El Foro also features a small breakfast menu, with fresh orange juice; the restaurant also has free wi-fi.


Featuring a mix of high quality Oriental and Mediterranean cuisine, Salero was established before the Born became trendy and is now one of the 'go to' hot spots for delicious food and fun evenings out on the town. Dim lighting and candlelit tables coupled with a warm and somehow magical ambiance, make this restaurant ideal for dates. Since it's situated in the heart of the action, when dinner's over all you have to do is step outside and you have tons of options at your fingertips in order to keep the night going. If you walk a few blocks up you can have cocktails at Mix bar after dinner.

Old Town
El Salón

The antique decor that adorns El Salon is simply charming, and the menu is equally impressive. It is based on a Catalan traditional menu, but it is colored with French influence. Dishes you should try include roast guinea fowl with chestnut confit or an aubergine tart with goat's cheese and pesto. El Salon is owned and run by a Pakistani native who puts so much heart into his food, the menu and overall decor. It has a family-style feel yet the food is high-quality and avant-garde. The terrace is one of the greatest selling points for El Salon as it's surrounded by the old Roman Wall and is very romantic.

Ginger Bar

With its hanging disco ball, plush leather seats and wooden tables, many Ginger fans have coined this trendy wine and cocktail bar as an 'airport lounge'. It is however, rather known for it's innovative cocktails, wide selection of amazing wine and high quality tapas. This is a Barcelona gem, ideal for weekend adventures, intimate drinks and lively evenings on the town. Ginger is nestled behind Plaza Sant Jaume, in Plaza San Jus a little hard to find if you don't know where to look, but once you stumble upon it you'll be sure to mark the spot.


Mediterranean inspired cuisine with Spanish influence, this intimate and elegant restaurant is an excellent find in the heart of the Old City. Pla has an extensive menu including fish, meats, salads as well as seasonal specialties and mouth watering desserts. It's classy yet unpretentious and a perfect place to spend a truly enjoyable evening. This is an authentic restaurant which has become increasingly popular amongst foreigners as well as locals alike. The waiters sit down with you while explaining the menu and cater to dietary as well as other food restrictions so be sure to tell them if there's something you want that's not on the menu.

Comerc 24

This Michelin star restaurant boasts the best of both worlds; an eclectic tapas bar with the service of an elegant restaurant. Avant-Garde with a modern decor, Comerc 24 has been hailed as a Barcelona 'must-try' from foodies worldwide. Renowned chef, Carles Abellan's reputation precedes him and his talents shine through his innovative and delicious dishes. This is a wonderful place to dine in the city's downtown core. Located in the trendy Born Neighborhood, you're close to excellent shops, cafes and bars as well as late night fun. So once the dinner is over, if you can still walk, there's plenty to do.


There are few Barcelona restaurants able to beat the charm, elegance and eclectic menu found at Montiel. Hidden on one of the narrow side streets in the Born, this small, two-story restaurant has mouth watering tapas, meats, starters and above all they have an excellent selection of fresh fish daily. One of the only places in the city that has fish on Mondays (for the most part fish is not caught and sold on Sundays), this is a sure bet for dates, guests or an intimate evening out. Be sure to reserve on line in advance as its a small restaurant and it fills up quickly.

A hip, New York style gastro tapas bar in the heart of the Born neighborhood. Llamber is chic and trendy, set in a loft style setting with exposed brick and a mix of high top tables and regular seating. The restaurant prides itself on quality, fresh food from the market as well as it's incredible wine list with a whopping 30 wines by the glass. This is a chic new place in Barcelona to dine with friends or on a date. It's also great for family outings perhaps on a special occasion. It's quite roomy and great for large groups.


Meet Sam Mednick

Sam’s passion for the sea and mountains makes Barcelona the optimal living destination. 

Sam's love for traveling has taken her to Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Before...  More About Sam