Food itinerary: Albert Adria’s favourite Barcelona restaurants

Chef ALBERT ADRIÀ’S ultimate Barcelona food tour. Introduction by CHRIS ENGLISH, illustrations by NIK COOLE

The playful inventiveness with which brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià approached gastronomy at their el Bulli restaurant – which reopens next year as a food lab, eight years after its doors shut – ensured a legacy that continues to inspire younger chefs.

Since, Albert Adrià has opened six restaurants in the Poble Sec neighbourhood of Barcelona, with the whimsical diner Tickets most similar to the el Bulli concept. His New York restaurant is scheduled to open at the end of this year.


Barcelona has long been held in high gastronomic regard, although now Adrià believes that the quality of produce, matched with a new breed of chef, means there’s never been a better time to dine in the city. ‘We have never eaten so well in Barcelona as we do now,’ says Adrià. ‘We have referenced traditional cuisine and have now reinvented interpretations of tapas, vermuterías (vermouth bars) and cocktail bars.’

Here are Adrià’s favourite restaurants in Barcelona.


Chef Rafa Zafra is passionate about fish and shellfish. He uses exceptional ingredients with subtle embellishments to highlight the purest flavours of the produce.

Dos Palillos

Chef and owner Albert Raurich offers a unique take on Asian cuisine, fusing the concept of traditional tapas with innovative gastronomic touches and an Asian aesthetic.

La Barra de Carles Abellán

Given its location in the fishing district of Barceloneta, it’s only appropriate that the Abellan group’s latest offering is an ode to the sea: a space dedicated to seafood and stews, all delivered with authenticity.


An avant garde Mediterranean kitchen established by three former el Bulli chefs, Disfrutar offers equal parts technique and surprise. Disfrutar means ‘enjoy’ in Spanish and the restaurant retains its sense of fun despite its serious approach to cooking.

Espai Kru

Located on the top floor of the popular Rías de Galicia restaurant, this space offers excellent seafood. Most dishes are served raw, occasionally with subtle Asian elements.

Gresca Bar

A less formal alternative to the adjacent restaurant in the Eixample district. A small space serving excellent Catalan and Spanish fare at very reasonable prices, all accompanied by incredible natural wines.


Jordi Vilà’s Alkimia is one of the finest kitchens in Catalonia, combining consummate knowledge of traditional and seasonal cuisine with modern technique and innovative touches.

Marea Alta

Specialising in seafood, much of which is grilled. Its location on the top floor of the Torre Colon, near the Columbus Monument, gives it the best views of any restaurant in the city.