Best Spanish restaurants in Barcelona
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Salt Wine Bar. – OpenTable photo
Salt Wine Bar
Salt Wine Bar offers a modern progressive approach to Iberian/Canadian tapas. Salt is a bustling, cozy, communal tapas bar with great energy. Its guests enjoy artisanal cheeses, Iberian charcuterie and an excellent variety of small plate dishes. Chef Dave Kemp is strongly committed to using seasonal and local products whenever possible. Its cellar contains an extensive list of Portuguese and Spanish wines which complement each and every dish.
Dining Style: Casual Elegant
Cuisines: Tapas / Small Plates, Spanish, Mediterranean
Bar Isabel. – OpenTable photo
Enjoy an intimate dining experience at Bar Isabel — a cozy restaurant where creative Spanish-inspired small plate dishes are combined with craft beers and cocktails. The restaurant’s elegant interior boasts an intriguing blend of soft lighting, curved walls and a beautiful mosaic tile floor.
Managed under the guidance of chef Grant Van Gameren, Bar Isabel’s menu includes a diverse mix of tapas, cheese, seafood dishes and entrees. Diners rave about the grilled octopus, the cheese platter and the oysters. Treat yourself to some Andalusia cured tuna, tossed with almonds and citrus. For dessert, the Basque cake and sherry cream is a must-try. Bar Isabel is open up until midnight through most of the week. The restaurant extends its closing time to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, making it a good pick for late night dining.
Dining Style: Casual Dining
Cuisines: European, Spanish
797 College St.
To learn more about this restaurant or make a reservation, search Bar Isabel at OpenTable.ca.
After training and studying at the internationally recognized Lausanne Cooking Academy in Switzerland, and opening up Prego in Spain and Bolero in San Francisco, Chef Fernando Garcia brings Spanish food and culture to Toronto with LaVinia. This visit to Spain via the Lakeshore, not far from the water, includes tapas dishes such as piquilo peppers stuffed with a seafood mousse and anisette cream, and fine Ibérico Spanish ham. Choose from a large range of slow-cooked paellas, fresh pastas, fish including Basque style codfish stew, and lamb or steak for the meat lovers.
Dining Style: Casual Dining
Cuisines: Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates
2350 Lakeshore Blvd. W.
To learn more about this restaurant or make a reservation, search LaVinia at OpenTable.ca.
Patria. – OpenTable photo
Patria is a Spanish tapas restaurant slightly set back from the road on King West. With many of its ingredients and wine being imported directly from Spain, it offers an authentic Spanish dining experience.
Dining Style: Casual Dining
Cuisines: Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates, Latin / Spanish
478 King St. W.
To learn more about this restaurant or make a reservation, search Patria at OpenTable.ca.
Barsa Taberna. – OpenTable photo
A contemporary Spanish eatery, Barsa’s philosophy of contemporary Spanish cuisine has its roots in the traditional Spanish Cocina — meaning tapas to larger plates that include the recipes and ingredients from the Iberian Peninsula. Barsa’s menu is designed to also pay tribute the avant-garde movement of the Nueva Cocina Española in what it calls contemporary Spanish gastronomy. At Barsa, art is not optional — it’s their salt and pepper. They think Gaudi, dare Dali and play Picasso. Barsa is housed in a 19th-century, heritage-protected building where internationally acclaimed designer John Tong has recreated the atmosphere of Barcelona, while paying tribute to the city’s culture and immortalized artists. Barsa’s story and concept were derived by Toronto-native Aras Azadian’s passion and inspiration to recreate the atmosphere and experience of his time living in Barcelona and his travels through the Iberian Peninsula.
Dining Style: Spanish, Contemporary European
Cuisines: Casual Elegant
The first thing I wanted to do when I arrived in Barcelona was to go see some Gaudí.
Antoni Gaudí is a Catalonian architect whose abstract an eccentric buildings have made their way into photographs that I had only seen in slideshows and books. Wanting to see them in situ, I took a walking tour in 90-degree (Fahrenheit) weather to visit some of the well-known buildings: La Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, La Sagrada Familia, Palau Güell.
For much of his career, Gaudí was transfixed by nature — and how it might be adapted to make urban form more organic. If you look at La Casa Batlló, for example, you will notice how it lacks straight lines and right angles. No two balconies or columns look exactly the same.
While admiring the complexity of his work, it suddenly hit me that Gaudí’s architectural language could well be a metaphor for why I have come to Spain in the first place.
This relationship between urban form and nature is one that carries over to my fellowship work this summer with SmartCitizen at Fab Lab Barcelona.
SmartCitizen is a citizen sensing platform for air quality that allows individuals to share air quality data they have collected with a sensor kit. FabLab Barcelona is part of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, where it supports different educational and research programs related with the multiple scales of the human habitat, one of which is SmartCitizen. At least for me, this collaboration is a testament to the benefits of working across disciplines when looking to solve complex problems like environmental pollution.
The initiative looks at the relationship between air quality and civic engagement in cities, and how urban form (e.g. land use) might affect where pollution is worse or better. In general, industrial and commercial districts tend to have more emissions that are harmful to public health.
Traditionally, air quality information is collected by governments or institutions, and the information is not always accessible or legible by the general public. SmartCitizen hopes to give publics the right tools and educational materials to investigate air quality with greater independence and agency.
SmartCitizen has been around for a few years and already has sensor kits deployed all over the world (see map).