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The secret is out: Catalan cuisine is some of the finest in the world, and everyone knows about its celebrated culinary footprint. Foodies from around the world have flocked to Barcelona for its edible delights, but now they’re in for a bigger treat. A new breed of spaces has popped up in the Catalan capital, combining culture and gastronomy. They take dining up a notch by engaging the other senses as well.
A short walk from Hotel Indigo Barcelona, here are four places to start:
Drama takes the spotlight at this wacky space in the basement below Teatre del Liceu just off La Rambla. Your experience begins in a hallway lined with animated dioramas featuring Catalan culture and culinary heritage. Then take a seat at the blackjack tables in the main dining room Diva and enjoy botifarra sausage with beans and salt cod with samfaina (a traditional Catalan mix) while viewing the images projected overhead. This multisensory experience comes courtesy of set designer Franc Aleu and the Roca brothers, the dream team behind the legendary El Celler de Can Roca restaurant in Girona. This is as surreal as it gets.
Starchitect Jean Nouvel transformed this 19th-century former beer factory into a gigantic emporium that fuses a restaurant, wine bar, microbrewery, and events space. They book everything from jazz gigs and edgy DJ sets to poetry performances. While you wait for the show, nibble on xorizo cakes, lamb & chips, and Catalan pa amb tomàquet at Louis 1856 restaurant, a fusion of French, Italian, and Alsatian gastronomy. Then venture over to the microbrewery for fresh unpasteurised Moritz Epidor straight from the tap or choose from 700 Iberian wines at the Wine Bistrot.
As the name suggests, this space in the Eixample district doubles as a cool tea room and a creative lab that hosts art shows, live music, workshops, and dance performances. There’s also a swank bistro that offers healthy tea-infused bites from Chef Enric López. Try the honeyed lamb with Earl Grey, sweet potato, and black truffle. The space itself is a work of art with cavernously high ceilings, edgy glassware, and lots of natural light.
This stunning space on iconic Passeig de Gràcia has worn many hats since its opening in 1889. From café-theater, to fabric dye factory, to car dealership to garage, it has now become a gastronomic haven. The vast 2600 sq. m houses 700 diners in eight different areas to eat and drink. The charcoal grill at La Braseria dishes out delicious ox burgers and hand-minced steak tartare. La Llotja serves fresh fish and seafood—don’t miss the sea bream baked in Formentera sea salt. La Taperia serves, you guessed it, tapas, and La Paradeta is a deli-style spot. The four bars specialize in beer, wine, cocktails, and cava, the famed Catalan bubbly. El Nacional is a lesson in Spain’s culinary history and a walk through its gastronomic culture.