Cellar Tours Selection of Best Restaurants in La Rioja
August 22, 2017
Explore the best restaurants in La Rioja Wine Country, known for its exquisite culinary experiences. Discover the top dining options in this beautiful region.
By: Genevieve Mc Carthy / Last updated: December 8, 2023
Sundays and Mondays are traditional restaurant closing days in Spain, and Barcelona is no exception. It is notoriously hard to find nice places to eat on these days. If you don’t plan it properly, you can end up in terrifyingly bad tourist dives, disappointed. There is no excuse for eating badly in a city as famous for gastronomy as Barcelona!
As our clients are always asking us to recommend excellent restaurants these days, we have put together a little list of places we enjoy and that are open on Sunday lunch and Monday lunch and/or Monday dinner, so you will never be without some foodie recs under your belt on your next trip to Barcelona! Always book in advance to avoid waiting in line or being turned away.
Arola at Hotel Arts website: Read more
Mythical Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arola has this beautiful, breezy eatery at the Hotel Arts. On a balmy, Mediterranean afternoon, Barcelona has no more congenial settings for lunch! Enjoy easy-going delicious tapas like fried calamari; Arola’s signature Patatas Bravas; Iberian pork with Basque Idiazabal cheese, pistachios, and chili; succulent Girona beef marinated in soy, wasabi, and ginger; ravioli cooked in red wine, oxtail, and mushrooms; crab salad and garlicky shrimp, to name a few goodies.
Restaurante Gaig website: Read more
Amazingly this fantastic restaurant opens on Sunday, although its rest day is Monday. In the Eixample district, owner and head chef, Carles Gaig has gastronomy in his genes; his family has owned the Taberna d’en Gaig since 1869. Carles renovated it in 1989, gaining a Michelin star in 1993, and this current venue has been receiving and spoiling guests with its stunning cuisine since 2004. Such delights include Wild sea bass tartar with imperial beluga caviar, seaweed bread, Crispy and boneless suckling pig with strawberry, and soft onion salad.
Taller de Tapas Website: Read more
You cannot go wrong with the super high-quality tapas at the Taller de Tapas chain in Barcelona (our favorites are the ones on Calle Argentaria and Rambla de las Flores). Prices are superb for the quality of food and wine. We always order about ten dishes and royally pig out, and no visit to Barcelona is complete for us without lunch or dinner at Taller de Tapas. We especially love their Jabugo ham croquettes (homemade), Esqueixada de bacallà (delicious salt cod salad with black olives), Pulpo a Feira (Galician style octopus), Cazuela de almejas Gallegas al alvarinho (Clams cooked in white wine, soooo good), Cecina de Astorga (cured beef thinly sliced similar to Bresaola from Italy), Pimientos de Padron (tiny roast green peppers, one in 10 is super picante), sautéed artichokes with wild mushrooms and the stunning Girona beef with caramelized onions…I personally love Cava with tapas, and Barcelona is, of course, the gateway to the Penedès wine country, where Cava comes from. So on menus, including here, you’ll always find some excellent offerings. At Taller de Tapas, they carry Juve I Camps and Gramona, both faves—also, sparklers from Alella, just half an hour north of Barcelona, like Parxet.
ÀBaC website: Read more
Head Chef Jordi Cruz is at the forefront of this sophisticated, elegant venue with two Michelin Stars. Truly creative, yet staying faithful to traditional cuisine. The service is five-star while providing a relaxed atmosphere. Some favorite dishes include the Smoked Steak Tartar or Red Tuna stewed with fermented garlic and almond cream, which is divine!
Paco Meralgo website: Read more
This self-described high-end tavern serves brilliant tapas. We love the cuttlefish meatballs, grilled razor clams, periwinkles, roast artichokes, cod Buñuelos, croquettes, and Andalusian eggplant… delicious and so worth it, don’t miss the tapas here. They open seven days a week (except Christmas Day) for lunch and dinner, and lunch is particularly lively.
Restaurant L’olive website: Read more
This elegant eatery is owned by the same group that runs Paco Meralgo. Located on the Calle Balmes, the Olivé offers excellent Mediterranean cuisine in a cozy space; we like this one for lunch. Go with a group of friends to taste an array of dishes! Start with breaded Calçots (similar to leeks), marinated anchovies from Ondarroa, Fabulous Jamón de Bellota (hand-cut when you order), and perhaps their beautiful Catalan spinach dish (with pine nuts, raisins, and pancetta). The stuffed eggplant and road red peppers stuffed with cod are also great. Finally, you could taste their seafood paella or more traditional Fideos (noodles) with squid ink for the main course.
Casa Delfín website: Read more
Again, top-notch tapas in a lovely location in the buzzy Born quarter, near the beautiful Santa Maria del Mar cathedral and a host of trendy shops and wine bars. We love sitting on the terrace at lunchtime and tearing into their mythical Catalan fish stew (Suquet) while guzzling Cava; this is one of life’s pleasures! They do very traditional offal and seafood dishes too. They are one of the last traditional, honest, high quality (not designer and trendy) tapas eateries left in Barcelona, refreshing.
Fortunately, there are several Michelin-starred haunts and top eateries that, although they don’t open on Sunday, can be enjoyed on Monday; here are some of our recommendations;
Alkimia website: Read more
Super fabulous Michelin-starred creative cuisine in a minimalist, chic setting in the Eixample quarter. One of the few high-end fine dining options on Monday nights. Run by the very pleasant Jordi Vilà. The dining room is bright and airy, and the dishes are a revelation! Try beautifully presented dishes like Pickled oyster with glazed pork, Crystal bread with anchovies, Ñora pepper rice with saffron and bright red langoustine, and then seasonal offerings (they have white truffle from Piedmont now, for instance). Classics like Roast chicken cannelloni and baby lamb shoulder are given photogenic, cheffy presentations. Try masterpieces like Spiced pineapple with lemon and ginger sorbet or simple but utterly intoxicating Figs with soft cheese and black olives for dessert.
Hisop website: Read more
Step into a world of understated elegance and refined dining at one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets. Tucked away in an intimate dining room, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers an exceptional culinary experience with a creative flair. Known for their artistry in the kitchen, they deliver innovative dishes that tantalize the palate.
Their signature masterpiece, the “After Eight Foie Gras,” is a harmonious fusion of flavors that will leave you craving more—delight in the exquisite combination of grilled milk and hazelnuts, a testament to their culinary expertise.
The current autumn menu is a true temptation, featuring appetizers that showcase the finest seasonal ingredients. Each dish is a symphony of flavors, from the luscious pumpkin with delicate scallops and Comté cheese to the succulent squid with wild mushrooms, sausage, and fennel. For the main course, savor the tender monkfish served with vibrant green “Romesco” or relish the grilled duck complemented by figs and endive.
Make sure to save room for dessert, as the pistachio creation with kaffir lime promises a delightful finale to your dining experience. It’s time to revisit Hisop and savor their current menu, as their culinary prowess has us yearning for more.
Restaurante Hofmann website: Read more
This is very much a fun gastronomic experience. Founder Mey Hofmann is also the inspiration behind one of the country’s most influential culinary schools—a wonderful fusion of traditional Catalan dishes with modern, innovative touches. The desserts and patisseries are particularly heavenly, so make sure you save room for the finale.
Origen Osmosis website: Read more
Modern, crisp, and clean, simultaneously providing a warm, cozy atmosphere, Osmosis prepares a new tasting menu every two weeks, market dependent. Offerings are always inspired by traditional Catalan cuisine, with a fun, creative touch, and sublime presentation. You can enjoy a fabulous, extensive tasting menu with pairings, or if you are after a lighter option, their 5-dish menu with pairings is a fantastic option.
Petit Comité website: Read more
This attractive and always happening eatery is Michelin-starred Fermi Puig’s casual offering, with nostalgic traditional Catalan cuisine, served in a hip (but still cozy) setting. They currently have a fabulous 40 euro tasting menu including wine pairings, crazy good value for Barcelona, that includes Croquettes, Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce, Catalan saucisson and wild Garlic Omelette, Tuna with Samfaina and Crema Catalana (like Créme Brulée) with Cava, an Emporda white, and a Monsant red—nice place to come with a group of friends.
Nectari website: Read more
This elegant restaurant near the Plaza de España is a real gem. Jordi Esteve is the young, dynamic chef behind this project. Nectari gained its Michelin star in 2012 and has become a reference in Barcelona for innovative haute cuisine, with the utmost attention focusing on the quality of the raw ingredients. For the complete experience and to see the endless works of art presented in front of you, the tasting menu with pairings is a must!
Cal Pep website: Read more
This excellent fish restaurant is a veritable institution in Barcelona. Specialties at Cal Pep include Xipirons amb cigrons (Baby squid with garbanzos), hake wrapped in Swiss chard, artichokes stuffed with olives, tuna tartare, fried calamari, clams with cured Spanish ham, and so many more tempting dishes. But, of course, they always have fresh fish as the daily specials, and you cannot go wrong with their recommendations.
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