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The most stunning Catalan landmarks & foods in Barcelona, Spain

The most stunning Catalan landmarks & foods in Barcelona, Spain

by Anne Shirley a month ago
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Table of contents

  • 1. Sagrada Familia
  • Zed
  • 2. Gothic Quarter
  • Viana
  • 3. Palace of Catalan Music
  • La Plassohla
  • 4. Park Güell
  • Trafalgar Pizza Club
  • 5. Barcelona Aquarium
  • Mirandoalmar
  • Final thoughts
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Barcelona, the epicenter of Catalan culture, is a mesmerizing seaside tourist destination known for its unique and inspiring architecture. It is a city with enough attractions to fill a lifetime. You can start your trip by visiting the phantasmagoric creations of Gaudí, including the family-friendly landmarks of Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Casa Batlló, and Park Güell. Move onto the traffic-free pedestrian-only Gothic Quarter or the happening boulevard of Las Ramblas, to get a real feel of the metropolis. Head over to Barceloneta Beach for calming views of the Mediterranean Sea, and then catch the spectacular Magic Fountain of Montjuic show.

Besides the gorgeous sites, there is a myriad of welcoming vibrant tapas eateries, wine bars, beer pubs, petite cafés, lavish brasseries, and traditional restaurants that easily cater to every type of palate. With so much to see and do, it can be a daunting task to make an itinerary to comfortably cover the best places. So let us help you with our detailed travel guide that not only takes you around the top spots in Barcelona but also suggests the highest-rated nearby establishments to dine in.

1. Sagrada Familia

Photo by Federico Lanzilotta on UnsplashPhoto by Federico Lanzilotta on Unsplash
The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is the most impressive structure in Barcelona (some might even say, on the planet). It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and the magnum opus of the famous architect, Antoni Gaudí. He was commissioned in 1884 to design this neo-Gothic layout, but instead of following a standard, monotonous plan, he decided to alter it as the work continued progressing. Unfortunately, due to his untimely demise, the church was never finished, and since 1926, many creative minds have been trying to complete the cathedral based on Gaudí’s vision.

What can be considered as a flaw and imperfection, has become a dynamic illustration of how one of the greatest talents has been crafting his masterpieces: as you walk around the intricate lace made out of stone, you can’t help but be fascinated by the depths of Gaudí’s genius. The interiors are awe-inspiring with their dazzling artwork, lavish decorative elements, and rainbow-hued colorful stained glass windows. Its exteriors beautifully depict the birth of Jesus and also portray the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. Though the construction of the monument has been ongoing for over 140 years, it is expected to be fully executed sometime between 2026 and 2028.

Zed
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
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Restaurant Zed - Sagrada Família
#56 of 19035 restaurants in Barcelona, Spain
C/ de València, 399, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Open until 11:30PM
Grilled octopus
Grilled octopus

On islands where the catch is most often fresh, the octopus is roasted on charcoal, seasoned with fresh lemon and served with Greek aniseed vodka. Friends and families usually like to enjoy this special summer dish on the beach on hot days.

For an indulgent culinary experience of Catalan cuisine, we recommend visiting the Zed restaurant near Sagrada Familia. It is a lovely dining establishment that showcases traditional food in an elegant setting. The interiors are comforting and welcoming in ambiance, created using plain cement floors, vintage cabinets, bare brick walls, lots of potted plants, hanging lamp fixtures, and home-style tables and chairs with soft leather furnishing.

The kitchen team presents a menu of authentic local flavors and the freshest ingredients by combining them with modern cooking techniques. Start your meal with tasty appetizers, such as crispy squid with garlic aioli sauce, wood-smoked monkfish carpaccio, roasted eggplant with onion compôte, and tuna tartare with sesame crackers. Move onto the main course with delicious specialties like tender grilled octopus in red pepper sauce, braised Iberian pork cheeks served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes, smoked salmon filet with parsnip, and lamb stew with chickpeas. End the indulgence on a sweet note with tender desserts – rice pudding with salted caramel, apple tart with ice cream, or chocolate lava cake.

Average bill – €37

2. Gothic Quarter

 Gothic Quarter. Photo by ian kelsall on Unsplash Gothic Quarter. Photo by ian kelsall on Unsplash
For several decades, the Gothic Quarter has been the spiritual center of Barcelona. It is an area that dates back to the Middle Ages and possesses well-preserved relics of quite a few Roman structures. The neighborhood is best explored on foot as it is a narrow maze of alleyways, winding roads, shaded plazas, and cobblestoned streets. The space transports you to a magical ambiance of a traffic-free medieval world where you can experience the charm of 13th and 15th-century buildings.

In the heart of the region lies the Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia (Barcelona Cathedral), along with Plaça Reial, the most intact stretch of the Roman Wall, and Plaça Sant Jaume. Besides its many landmarks, the district also features quaint designer boutiques, lots of restaurants, relaxing terraces of cafés, and chic bars. We advise you to tour the Gothic Quarter with a guide to unravel all the hidden gems and unlock the place's cultural and historic significance.

Viana
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
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Viana Barcelona
#478 of 19035 restaurants in Barcelona, Spain
C/ del Vidre, 7, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Closed until 6PM
Scallops
Scallops

Scallops are often referred to as gourmet seafood. While having very tender meat, they are considered to be rather sweet in taste. Scallops can be eaten raw or cooked.

Viana is the latest gastronomic mecca to enter the dining scene of Barcelona. Located in the beautiful Gothic Quarter neighborhood of the city, it is an international restaurant serving the best foods of each country coupled with music. The decor is quirky and rustic, adorned with timbered floorings, an open bar, a contrasting pistachio green-black color scheme, and chic designer wallpaper.

The kitchen is helmed by Head Chef Solomon Tabisaura, who presents a seasonal tasting menu and a Mediterranean à la carte offering. Patrons of the establishment can sample scrumptious specialties like pan-fried scallops with vegetable ratatouille, roasted octopus with prawns in garlic paprika seeing, Iberian pork carpaccio with provolone, and grilled cod with yucca chips in blood orange sauce. Elevate your culinary experience by pairing it with Spanish wines or fruity signature cocktails, such as blackberry mojito and raspberry gin fizz.

Tasting menu – €49

3. Palace of Catalan Music

Palace of Catalan Music. Photo from https://www.facebook.com/palaumusicacatPalace of Catalan Music. Photo from https://www.facebook.com/palaumusicacat
Famous for its ornate royal interiors, the Palace of Catalan Music is a monumental gem designed by architect Lluís Domènech I Montaner. This UNESCO World Heritage Site exemplifies futuristic Art Nouveau elements. Built between 1905 and 1908 as a concert hall in a Catalan Modernist style, its decor is colorful and fancy, complete with intricate mosaics, detailed floral patterns, fruit motifs, exquisite ironworks, numerous sculptures, and large pillars.

The auditorium ceiling culminates into an enormous stained glass skylight created by Antoni Rigalt, whose centerpiece is an inverted dome of gold with blue accents depicting the sun and the clouds. The outer entrance of the building consists of a striking red brick façade that boasts a regal balcony. The ideal way to experience this attraction is to either attend a music concert or an opera performance. The 2200 seater hall is the only theater in Europe that is illuminated during daytime entirely by natural light.

La Plassohla
Photo from Restaurant Guru
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La Plassohla
#1246 of 19035 restaurants in Barcelona, Spain
Via Laietana, 49, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Open until 12AM
Oysters
Oysters

Oysters are one of the most delicious seafood dishes. Oysters can be cooked in a variety of ways. They may be smoked, boiled, steamed, pan fried, grilled, or baked. The unique flavor of an oyster, which may be salty, sweet, buttery, copper, briny, or melon, heavily depends on where it was caught.

Nestled on the ground floor of the Ohla Hotel, a few meters from the Palace of Catalan Music, La Plassohla is a fine-dining establishment introducing you to try a contemporary version of traditional Spanish cuisine. It offers a large and beautifully designed space that is ideal for a lovely lunch or for a hearty dinner after attending an inspiring music concert. The atmosphere is lavish and upscale, made up of tall ceilings, colossal glass windows overlooking the street, black granite flooring, turquoise blue furnished banquettes, an open bar, and polished wooden tables.

The culinary team is managed by Romain Fornell, who is a Michelin-starred chef. Some of the exquisite delights you can find here are crayfish with basil in kimchi mayonnaise, shrimp omelet with tender garlic, oysters with shiitake mushrooms, cod fritters with romesco sauce, grilled gilthead bream in teriyaki sauce with sautéed vegetables, and beef tenderloin with escalope of foie gras. After the meal, head over to the terrace of the hotel to enjoy their wide selection of cocktails, wines, and dessert items along with exceptional views of the city.

Lunch set menu – €24

4. Park Güell

 Park Güell. Photo by D Jonez on Unsplash Park Güell. Photo by D Jonez on Unsplash
Created between 1900 and 1915, Park Güell is a surrealist hillside garden designed by none other than Antoni Gaudí. The place was originally supposed to be a housing community for affluent people, commissioned by Eusebi Güell. However, since the land was not suitable for building, the Catalan visionary modeled a park after recreational spaces he had seen in England. The Art Nouveau fantasy includes 8 acres of landscaped pristine woodlands of pine forests and olive groves, as well as 12 acres of magnificent elements, featuring whimsical fountains, viaducts, mosaic benches, gingerbread-style mansions with bright ceramic fragments, grottoes, winding dragon staircases, and pedestrian walkways.

There are designated picnic areas and lovely terraces that offer a panoramic view of the city and sea. Within the garden is the Casa Museu Gaudí – a museum where you will get a fascinating insight into the life and works of God's Architect and see the collection of decorative objects and furniture of his former home. Along with Sagrada Familia, this is the unmissable attraction in Barcelona.

Trafalgar Pizza Club
Photo from Restaurant Guru
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Trafalgar Pizza Club
#32 of 1506 clubs in Barcelona, Spain
C/ de Trafalgar, 19, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Open until 3AM
Pizza Margherita
Pizza Margherita

It's a classic Neapolitan pizza with an interesting history. It's regarded as the very first pizza with cheese. Chef Rafaelle Esposito invented it for Queen Margherita in 1889. He carefully chose ingredients whose colors represented the Italian flag and cooked this pizza with fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes.

If you want to experience authentic Neapolitan food in Barcelona, then visit Trafalgar Pizza Club next to Park Güell. It is a massive restaurant started by Andrea Lecca, arguably the best pizzaiolo in Spain. The dining hall is a quirky area where guests can relax with family, have an intimate time with their partner, or enjoy a great party among friends.

The interiors are minimalistic and comforting, reminiscent of a warehouse with rustic walls, plain cement flooring, red neon lights, a marble-topped bar counter, and metal tables. Additionally, there is a private space where diners can play table soccer, video games, and have karaoke.

As you must have guessed from the name, the menu specializes in pizza. But not just any kind: the star dish is made using a Morello Forni oven, imported from Italy. Expect to savor flavorsome pies, including diavola with chorizo, carbonara, smoked scamorza with pecorino, stracciatella in basil pesto, and classic Margherita. They also serve starters, such as mortadella with smoked provolone, beef lasagne with garlic bread, and focaccia sandwich with porchetta.

Average bill – €22

5. Barcelona Aquarium

Barcelona Aquarium. Photo by Ruben Ortega on UnsplashBarcelona Aquarium. Photo by Ruben Ortega on Unsplash
Situated right on the enormous harbor, Barcelona Aquarium is one of Europe's largest underwater exhibits. It is a Museum of Marine Science that focuses on Mediterranean sea life. The massive attraction is home to over 11,000 animals housed inside 35 water basins.

The absolute highlight here is the Oceanarium – a 3.8 million liter tank featuring moray eels, stingrays, a few small species of sharks, coral reefs, seahorses, octopuses, and giant manta rays. Planeta Aqua is an interactive area where you can meet and feed Humboldt penguins. Arguably, the most Instagrammable spot is an 80-meter long transparent tunnel where visitors get up close and personal with sharks. If you are short of time, we advise opting for a skip-the-line ticket or buying a Barcelona Card that also gives you access to other city landmarks.

Mirandoalmar
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Mirandoalmar
#1292 of 19035 restaurants in Barcelona, Spain
Moll d'Espanya, N5, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Open until 12AM
Sea bass
Sea bass

Sea bass is distinguished by mildly sweet flavor and meaty consistency. There's a variety of ways to prepare sea bass, namely to grill, roast, steam, poach, and fry it.

If you are craving delicious seafood, head over to the Mirandoalmar restaurant on the ground floor of the Maremagnum shopping center. It is a serene ocean-view establishment that serves Catalan and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. The modern space welcomes you into a comfortable and lovely ambiance: granite tiles, contemporary hanging Edison lamps, polished wooden furniture, sofa banquettes, vast glass windows overlooking the port, and a dark blue-white color palette. They also offer a wonderful terrace seating running parallel to the sea to cherish the pleasant moments of sunny weather.

In dishes, relish gastronomic delights, such as cod fritters in honey aioli, salmon tartare with sour cream, shrimp scampi with padrón peppers, seafood tagliatelle, grilled sea bass in lemon butter emulsion, paella with mussels and langoustine, and cuttlefish with meatballs. Taking a decadent dessert here is a must: raspberry sorbet with cheesecake, hazelnut chocolate praline with mascarpone cream, and panna cotta with red fruit coulis are exceptionally good.

Average bill – €42

Final thoughts

Barcelona is best explored by wandering on foot and discovering hidden side streets, stopping at lovely bistros, and sipping fragrant coffee at a shaded terraced café. Every square here is buzzing with the melodies of Spanish guitars, and you can’t help but start humming the tune while falling in love with this mesmerizing city.

What are your top 3 favorite landmarks in Barcelona? Tell our community about them by leaving a comment below. And for more ideas, check out the latest food & travel guides on Restaurant Guru.

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Freya Evans (Guest) a month ago Request content removal

Barcelona sounds absolutely enchanting! I'm curious, what is your favorite traditional Catalan dish that you would recommend trying while exploring the city?

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