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. 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

  • 3. Restaurant Pont Vell

    $$$$

    Book in advance for a table on the romantic riverfront terrace and you’ll be rewarded with exceptional views of Besalu’s medieval bridge. The prix-fixe menu...Read More

  • 4. Arcs

    $$$

    Stone arches dating from the 14th-century frame the tables at this atmospheric restaurant in the historical Part Alta. The cooking is smart and modern, with...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Can Segura

    $$

    Half a block in from the beach at Sant Feliu de Guixols, this restaurant serves house-cooked seafood and upland specialties. The pimientos de piquillos rellenos...Read More

  • 9. Compartir

    $$$$

    The word "compartir" means “to share” and this excellent restaurant bases its menu on a small-plate sharing approach that has been taken to another level...Read More

  • 10. La Cuina de Can Simon

    $$$$

    Elegantly rustic, this restaurant beside Tossa de Mar's medieval walls serves classical Catalan cuisine from the sea, including lobster rice, and the mountains, such as...Read More

  • 11. Les Cols

    $$$$

    Chef Fina Puigdevall has made this sprawling 18th-century masia (Catalan farmhouse) a triumph. In the restaurant, the cuisine on the prix-fixe menu (no à la...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Penyora

    $$$

    Come here for good local fare and, if you order from the prix-fixe menu, a bargain. The menu lists daily-changing meat, fish, and vegetarian options,...Read More

  • 15. Restaurant Ibèric

    $$$

    This excellent pocket of authentic Costa Brava cuisine serves everything from snails to wild boar in season. Wild mushrooms scrambled with eggs or stewed with...Read More

  • 16. Villa Mas

    $$$$

    Set in a Moderniste villa with a lovely turn-of-the-20th-century zinc bar, this restaurant serves typical Catalan and seasonal Mediterranean dishes like arròs a la cassola...Read More

  • 17. Les Voltes

    $$

    Built into the vaults of the Roman Circus, this unique spot serves a hearty cuisine within one of the oldest sites in Europe. You'll find...Read More

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