Pla C/ Bellafila 5
Intimate, warm and lit by candlelight, Pla is a restaurant that was made for long, leisurely dinners and romantic rendez-vous. Found on a small side street in the Barri Gòtic, Pla focuses on fresh, Mediterranean flavours, changing the menu seasonally and including, where possible, local 'kilometre 0' produce. The menu is mainly inspired by local flavours and dishes with touches from other world cuisines to add a distinct twist, such as baked octopus with yakisoba or witty takes on classic dishes such as the caballa en vermut (Vermouth mackerel) featuring the typical dishes eaten with a vermouth such as crisps and olives. Don't be fooled by the cosy interiors, Pla is a serious restaurant with some seriously good food.
Can Culleretes, C/ d'en Quintana 5
The oldest restaurant in Barcelona and the second oldest in Spain, Can Culleretes has seen off war, bombs, and revolutions to still be serving its traditional Catalan cuisine today. Opened in 1786 as a bakery, it was converted into a restaurant in 1890 as was a popular place for traditional cuisine. After the Civil War it was taken over by the Guild of Hospitality and lost some of its former quality and style. After Fransesc Agut read in a newspaper that Can Culleretes was to be sold he bought it and restored it to its former glory, attracting the great artists, writers and musicians of the time. To this day Can Culleretes serves traditional Catalan cuisine as it has done for over 200 years. To dine in Can Culleretes is to dine in a piece of Barcelona history.
Saüc, Via Laietana, 49
Saüc is a restaurant founded on the richness of Catalan cuisine and the fundamentals of technique, hard work and quality produce above all else. Not surprisingly it was awarded its first Michelin star in 2007 and continues to be at the forefront of the Spanish restaurant scene. The tasting menu is a particular highlight, presented as a trip down head chef Xavier Franco's culinary memory lane and shows his Catalan roots using traditional produce such as pigs trotters, calamari and Barcelona prawns, and creating delicate, modern dishes. Clean, contemporary décor keeps the focus sharply on the food and the recent addition of the KitchenBar, a special bar area where you can dine while watching the chefs at work, will appeal to every foodie. A mustn't miss for any food lover.
Ohla GastroBar, Via Laietana, 49
Ohla Gastrobar could be considered to be Saüc's little sister. Situated in the same hotel it offers Saüc style quality dishes but in the form of tapas and small plates, offering a fresh modern take on tapas and Saüc style cuisine to a wider audience. The focus on fresh, local produce and mixing tradition with the latest innovations keeps its loyal clientèle coming back for more as well as attracting a local crowd looking for a twist on the classics. The informal atmosphere is in keeping with the more relaxed menu of tapas which is made for sharing, enjoying and trying new flavours whilst still maintaining the highest standard. If your standards are high but your budget doesn't quite stretch to tasting menus the Ohla Gastrobar is your perfect place.
Koy Shunka, C/ Copons, 7
Awarded its first Michelin star in 2013, just four years after it opened, Koy Shunka (meaning 'intense seasonal flavour' in Japanese) is quite simply one of the best Japanese restaurants this side of Tokyo. After Chef Hideki Matsuhisa's success with the more informal Shunka, he opened Koy Shunka and focused on creative Japanese food with Catalan and Spanish touches. The restaurant offers two tasting menus and à la carte as well as an open kitchen where you can see the chefs preparing everything; a treat for sushi lovers. A particular highlight on the menu is the Japanese Wagyu beef, known for its beautiful marbling, low saturated fat content and relatively pampered life before reaching the plate. The décor is minimalist as you would expect from a Japanese restaurant and the service excellent as you would expect from a restaurant that has just retained their Michelin star for the third year running. Koy Shunka is a special treat for Japanese food lovers in the heart of the city.