Catalonia, Valencia, and the Costa Blanca Restaurants

Catalonia's eateries are deservedly famous. Girona’s Celler de Can Roca was voted the best restaurant in the world in 2015 in the annual critics’ poll conducted by British magazine Restaurant, and a host of other first-rate establishments continue to offer inspiring fine dining in Catalonia, which began in the hinterlands at the legendary Hotel Empordà. You needn’t go to an internationally acclaimed restaurant, however, to dine well. Superstar chef Ferran Adrià of the former foodie paradise elBulli dines regularly at dives in Roses, where straight-up fresh fish is the day-in, day-out attraction. Northern Catalonia's Empordà region is known not only for seafood, but also for a rich assortment of inland and upland products. Beef from Girona's verdant pastureland is prized throughout Catalonia, while wild mushrooms from the Pyrenees and game from the Alberes range offer seasonal depth and breadth to menus across the region. From a simple beachside paella or llobarro (sea bass) at a chiringuito (shack) with tables on the sand, to the splendor of a meal at El Celler de Can Roca, playing culinary hopscotch through Catalonia is a good way to organize a tour.

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  • 1. El Motel

    $$$$

    Just 1½ km (1 mile) north of town, this restaurant—housed within a rather nondescript hotel—has been hailed as the birthplace of modern Catalan cuisine and...Read More

  • 2. Hostal Restaurant Sa Rascassa

    $$$

    Dine on fresh seafood, grilled meats, and pasta on the tranquil, tree-shaded patio or inside the rustic-chic dining room. From here, it’s a short stroll...Read More

  • 3. La Seu

    $$$

    Under co-owners Fede and Diana Cervera and chef Xicu Ramón, this distinguished restaurant in the center of town continues to reinvent and deconstruct traditional Valencian...Read More

  • 4. Pa i Raïm

    $$$

    "Bread and Grapes" in Catalan, Pa i Raïm is an excellent restaurant set in writer Josep Pla's ancestral family home in Palafrugell. It has one...Read More

  • 5. Bocam

    $$

    This stylish restaurant, just around the corner from the Dalí Theatre-Museum, focuses on seasonal Empordà ingredients from the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. Look for classic...Read More

  • 6. Ca l'Enric

    $$$$

    Chefs Jordi and Isabel Juncà have become legends in the town of La Vall de Bianya, just north of Olot, with exquisite cuisine that’s firmly...Read More

  • 7. Café le Bistrot

    $

    This bistro’s menu includes a 20-strong list of Catalan-style pizzas, served on peasant bread and incorporating regional ingredients like botifarra (sausage) and seasonal mushrooms. The...Read More

  • 8. Cal Ros

    $$$$

    Tucked under the arcades just behind the north end of Plaça de la Llibertat, this restaurant combines ancient stone arches with crisp, contemporary furnishings and...Read More

  • 9. Chiringuito

    $$$

    Spelled with a capital C, this legendary seaside spot opened in 1913 and spawned the term that’s given to similar bars dotting the Spanish coast....Read More

  • 10. El Buen Comer

    $$

    On the edge of the old town, this relaxed bi-level restaurant serves enticing dishes in plentiful portions. Downstairs, indulge in tapas and simpler dishes, or...Read More

  • 11. El Dorado Mar

    $$$

    Around the southern end of the beach at Sant Feliu de Guixols, perched over the entrance to the harbor, this family seafood restaurant offers superb...Read More

  • 12. Hotel Restaurant Sant Pol

    $$$

    This casual restaurant with a beachfront terrace serves fresh seafood and rice dishes, plus an affordable three-course lunch menu (€16.50)....Read More

  • 13. La Fabrica

    $

    Owned by a professional cyclist and decorated with an abundance of bike memorabilia, this inviting cafe serves healthy, organic breakfasts and lunches—avocado toast, egg dishes,...Read More

  • 14. La Riuà

    $$

    A favorite of Valencia's well connected and well-to-do since 1982, this family-run restaurant a few steps from the Plaza de la Reina specializes in seafood...Read More

  • 15. La Taberna del Gourmet

    $$$

    This wine bar and restaurant in the heart of the casco antiguo (old town) earns high marks from locals and international visitors alike. There's a...Read More

  • 16. Les Coques

    $$$

    If you have time for only one meal in the city, take it at this elegant little restaurant in the heart of historic Tarragona. The...Read More

  • 17. Maribel Arroceria

    $$

    So tasty is the paella here that even Valencianos regularly travel out of the city to Maribel Arroceria, off the main drag in El Palmar....Read More

  • 18. Mimolet

    $$

    Contemporary architecture and cuisine in the old part of Girona make for interesting dining at this sleek, streamlined restaurant. Grilled eel and pepper rice and...Read More

  • 19. Oustau de Altea

    $$ | Casco Antiguo

    In one of the prettiest corners of Altea's old town, this eatery was formerly a cloister and a school. Today the dining room and terrace...Read More

  • 20. Patio de la Fuente

    $$$

    In an intimate little space with wicker chairs and pale mauve walls, this restaurant in the old town serves a bargain Mediterranean three-course prix fixe...Read More

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