Seafood recs in Barcelona
My husband and I are leaving for Spain in a couple of weeks and we are looking for a good place for seafood. We already have couple of other restaurants picked out, but can't seem to find a non-touristy seafood one. Any suggestions/opinoins would be greatly appreciated.
For some unexplanable reason, Barcelona does not have many excellent marisquerias. The only one that I can recommend is Rais de Galicia. It is expensive but they source the best seafood. Make sure to order their simple preparations. More modest are La Paradeta, Barkiton, Mar de La Ribera. These are strict seafood places. Most other good restaurants have a good selection of seafood items on their menu
I've already started a more general thread in prep for our next trip to Spain here ->
But this thread hits a particular issue I was hoping for some feedback on: a good seafood place in Barcelona. My list of possibilities so far includes Rias de Galicia, Botafumeiro, and Suquet de l'Almirall (I was somewhat shocked to see 7 Portes suggested here, which has every indication of a tourist trap to me).
- any particular insights on any of these or others?
- when people say Rias de Galicia and others are "expensive," how expensive are we talking about? I know it depends on what you order, and that specialty items like percebes have a big price tag, but what kind of general range are we talking about?
People say that Rias de Galicia is 'expensive' because, like most Galician marisquerias, it has no fancy decor or any fine-dining trappings. The focus is all on the quality of the seafood and it's simple preparations. Without the 'speciality items', a three course meal should not cost more than 60E before wine. If one order percebes, baby eel, Atlantic lobster, etc. more like 100E. That was based on my last visit, couple years ago. Many places in Barcelonetta, including Suquet de 'Almirall, serve good seafood but in terms of quality of the ingredients, there is no comparison.
I like both Rias de Galicia AND 7 Portes, for different contexts.
I'd consider 7 Portes popular more than touristy. In deed many foreigners also go there, and if you have not reserved, you must queue at the door. In particular Asian travellers have the patience to queue. So it does have the look of a restaurnat popular with tourists. I quite like the arroz nero there. At Sunday noon many Spanish families have their leisurely lunch at 7 Portes that easiliy last until 5pm !
I do not make an ideology out of not wanting to see travellers like myself in a restaurant. Touristy is something else.
Touristy is a restaurant that has bad food bad service but has some gimmicky catch catering to diners who will never come back. Ex: all the paella joints, esp on the Ramblas, with color-enhanced photos of paella dishes at the door.
Back to seafood:
El Qim at the Boqueria and Cal Pep also have good seafood. The preparation tends to be simple sautée, which is what it all needs, with that level of freshness. For both these eateries, they do not take reservation. Try to go a little earlier than the Spanish peak meal time.
I'm likewise not dogmatic about "locals only" places - I'm a tourist myself, obviously. But it is a pretty reliable generalization (though there are exceptions) that there is an inverse relationship between the degree to which a restaurant markets itself to tourists and the quality of the food. And this perception comes not just from traveling but from my hometown (Miami) as well. Here, the general lesson is that if the menu has pictures, there are saran-wrapped plates of food on display, or there's a surgically-enhanced hostess outside trying to lure diners in, avoid it at all costs.
Thanks for the suggestions.
I just ate at Kaiku in Barceloneta last week and I have to say it was the best fish I had throughout the entire trip. Very simple and very fresh. Yes, you will get some tourists considering it is in guide books but I felt like we were surrounded by a ton of locals out for a fresh bite to eat on a beautiful Monday afternoon. We also ordered the black squid ink paella that was also quite delicious. A definite must try if you are in this area in Barcelona on a sunny day
My husband and I were in Barcelona a couple weeks ago and we really enjoyed the seafood at both Cal Pep and Can Ros.
Can Ros is more of a sit-down place...we had a nice long lunch that included navajas (clams) and octupus as appetizers and arros negre (black "paella" made with squid ink). We didn't have reservations but when we went there at around 2:45pm on a Sunday afternoon they told us we could have a table at 3:30pm. We wound up spending the 45min just hanging out in Barceloneta beach which is a great place to kill time. I actually took the wait as a good sign, it means that the place is pretty popular. Everyone around us seemed to be locals and I didn't pick up any languages aside from Spanish/Catalan. House wine was <10euro but we decided on a bottle of Albarino for around ~16euro, putting our total to ~70euro, including the wine, 2 appetizers, Arros negre for 2, and sharing a dessert.
For Cal Pep, we ate at the bar for dinner on a Monday night. We got in line at ~9:45pm and wound up getting a seat at the bar around an hour later. They say they're open until 11:30pm but you don't get kicked out at that time, that's just when they cut off the queue and don't accept any more people. When ordering, we did a combination of looking at what other people are having and asking the server about what he recommended. The highlights were the bacalao (probably the best I've ever had), scallop (served in shell), mixed fried seafood/fish, and clams (had some sort of white wine sauce and ham). There were definitely some other American tourists while we were there (chatted w/ another couple from NYC while in line), but they seemed to be foodie types, not your average tourist off the street...plus there also seemed to be a bunch of locals so I wouldn't really consider it "touristy" like the places on La Rambla. We just got the house wine here for ~8euro, and our total was also around ~70euro (7 items plus a bottle of house wine).
Hope you enjoy your trip! We definitely ate very well in Barcelona!
My vote is definitely for the Botafumeiro. If a couple, book at the bar, it´s wonderful. This restaurant has been there forever and is very classy and atmospheric. A joy for people watching. It´s all good on the menu, the fish tends to be simply cooked, just grilled with olive oil but it´s so tasty. Expect to pay 100-120€ for two depending on how greedy you are and how many bottles of albariño you drink!
Set Portes is a classic and deservedly popular. It´s more rice than fish. It´s popular with tourists but then let´s remember that 90% of Barcelona restaurants would shut tommorow without them. Tourists can have good taste too!