Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona: 18 Spots Where Tony Ate

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Barcelona leaves a strong taste in the mouth, both literally and figuratively. Home to Gaudi’s still-unfinished La Sagrada Família and located along Spain‘s Costa Brava, Barcelona is a city cranked up to 11. That includes the foods and flavors you can experience here, the most popular of which are tapas and sangria. It’s no surprise that this popular European destination is one that Tony’s fans are curious about: can you follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona?

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona Hero

Anthony Bourdain visited Barcelona several times: off-screen in 2002*, filming a documentary in 2006, and twice while filming No Reservations (Season 4/2008, “Spain,” and Season 7/2011, “El Bulli”). He also filmed a special, Return to Catalunya, in partnership with CNN and Land Rover, in 2017; he visits a number of sites in Barcelona with Matt Goulding, founder of Roads & Kingdoms. (*He specifically mentions this several times which is why I bring it up.)

Since publishing this guide the first time, I’ve discovered that Anthony Bourdain visited a lot of spots in Barcelona that you can still visit today – even though it’s been 20 years since his first trip. Below you’ll find a complete list of the places Bourdain visited in Barcelona; if you know any omre about each of these, please let me know!

Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Barcelona?
I found Decoding Ferran Adrià for free online here; the Spain episode is available on Hulu; and the El Bulli episode is available on Amazon, Hulu, and Apple TV. You can watch Return to Catalunya for free online here.

This post was originally published in July 2022, and was updated in August 2022 with more spots.

Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Barcelona

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona Map
Click to interact with the map.

Before launching into the list of all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona, I wanted to include a map so you can get oriented. Most of the places are within the Gothic Quarter and neighboring El Raval, which makes it easy to walk between them; if you’re planning to go further afield, you can find some truly unique and non-touristy spots too.

Okay, now let’s go through the list so you can learn what Tony ate at each spot.

Jamonisimo (CLOSED)

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona - Jamon

One of the first places that Tony visits in Barcelona is actually not during any of his four TV shows. Many people are surprised to learn – by watching other episodes about Barcelona – that Bourdain filmed a different project here. The hour-long special, called Decoding Ferran Adrià, was produced by the Food Network and released in 2006; this was before he filmed any episodes (or parts of episodes) in Barcelona.

As this particular project was focused on understanding the origins of renowned chef Ferran Adrià, Tony’s visit to the now-closed jamón shop Jamonisimo was all about understanding how a simple, pivotal ingredient – like Iberico de Bellota, the ham of the black-footed acorn-fed pig in Belotta, Spain – can be deconstructed to understand its power.

ElBullitaller (CLOSED)

Tony’s next visit to Barcelona is seen on-screen during the episode titled “Spain” in Season 4 of No Reservations. He makes only a short visit to Barna (locals’ nickname for the city) while showing off the rest of Spain and other incredible chefs and restaurants.

During this time, he stops by the “El Bulli test kitchen,” which I think was called the ElBullitaller at the time (source). While there, he enjoys more of the brothers Adrià’s molecular gastronomy, including a 30- second sponge cake, a black truffle replica with black truffle ice cream with black sesame sponge cake, and a strawberry replica from strawberry sorbet and strawberry jelly.

Now as far as I can tell, ElBullitaller closed in 2011 when El Bulli closed; today there’s a project called ElBullilab which is seeking to create an encyclopedia of gastronomy… but doesn’t have a kitchen or serve food to the public.

Quimet y Quimet

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona - Tapas

I’ll be honest: I didn’t realize Quimet y Quimet was featured in No Reservations, but I’ve had several people point it out to me – and my friend Dave has a story about visiting; Tony also recommended it to a fellow traveler on Twitter.

This standing-room-only tapas bar has become increasingly popular since Bourdain’s visit, but actually dates back to 1914. There are over 500 wines to choose from, and all the tapas is served cold rather than hot due to their unique lack of a kitchen. While this might sound strange if you’ve never visited, Quimet y Quimet is a Barcelona institution and well worth a visit as Tony did.

Tickets (CLOSED)

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona - Tartar

If you’re looking for a place to eat like Bourdain in Barcelona, Tickets was it, until the restaurant closed in mid-2021, citing the pandemic and city restrictions. Boo! As you’ll see though, there are a few places near Barcelona which are still open.

In any case, let’s cover the incredible, imaginative tapas Tony tried during his visit (the Season 7 episode of No Reservations, with Chef José Andrés). Courses included sangria-infused watermelon & cumin, spherified olive, tomato tartar with watermelon and quail egg (which both Bourdain and Andrés really enjoy despite not being meat!), a Cañarejal sheeps milk torte with wild mushroom cream and morel, and mango gelato in mango cone for dessert.

Honestly, with both El Bulli and Tickets now closed, the gastronomy scene in Catalonia is seriously less interesting!

Xurreria Dels Banys Nous

Anthony Bourdain in San Sebastian - Churros

As part of his Return to Catalunya special, Bourdain and local food writer Matt Goulding visit a number of spots, including Xurreria Dels Banys Nous. As you might be able to guess from the name, this spot is famous for churros, served hot with chocolate, cream, or dulce de leche. This is a sweet treat to start a day of food adventures.

Xarcuteria La Pineda

Another spot right near Xurreria Dels Banys Nous and the Barcelona Cathedral, La Pineda is famous for its Spanish-style charcuterie. Tony and Matt visited this spot too, as it’s one of the latter’s favorite tiny tapas bars. This is the place to sample local cheeses and incredible jamón and other meats; order a bottle of sparkling white wine for the full effect.

La Plata

Located in the Gothic Quarter – a famous part of Barcelona for history, restaurants, and tourists – La Plata is another tapas bar that Goulding and Bourdain visit. Here they try tomato salad, fried sardines, and barrel wine, a popular combination of fresh and salty flavors.

Bodega 1900 (CLOSED)

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona - Calamari Sandwich

Unfortunately, another spot that Tony and Matt visited in 2017 has closed in the years since; Bodega 1900 was a small tapas bar with high-end dishes – perfect for someone like Bourdain who loved interesting flavors and dishes across the spectrum from fancy to no-frills.

During their visit, the guys try spherified olives, artichoke with quail egg and salmon roe, and calamari sandwiches with plenty of wine. Sounds like a perfect evening, no?

Dos Pebrots

For something a little different, check out Dos Pebrots as Goulding and Bourdain did. This tapas spot is a bit different than others on the list – instead of focusing just on Spanish or Catalan dishes, you’ll find more Mediterranean-inspired options. Here, they try an omelet with fish sauce and pine nuts, and boiled pig teets in ham water. As I said, this spot is a bit different!

Suculent

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona - Uni

Located in the El Raval area, Suculent (one c, not two!) is another creative tapas spot that Bourdain visited and should be on your list if you really want to follow in his footsteps. He and Goulding tried a number of interesting tapas here, including tuna skin escabeche, sea urchin, and black truffle toast; as you can tell, these are non-traditional but sound delicious!

Mitja Vida (CLOSED)

During his visit to Mitja Vida with Goulding, Bourdain admitted something big: hipsters aren’t all that bad. While sipping vermouth negre and snacking on olives, cured anchovies, and potato chips, Tony conceded that hipsters have helped save some of the places he loves, and preserved a commitment to good ingredients and authentic flavors. This was a great spot for a nightcap and thoughtful conversations with your fellow travelers when visiting Barcelona; unfortunately, it closed during the pandemic, I think.

Enigma

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona - Cocktail

Bourdain’s final on-screen meal looked truly spectacular: it was at Albert Adrià’s answer to El Bulli, Enigma. This incredible spot is a multi-room dining experience that makes even the most well-eaten and educated chefs – like Bourdain and Ferran (Albert’s brother and former head chef at El Bulli) – speechless at the flavors and textures.

Here’s a shortlist of the dishes they tried during their visit with Matt Goulding: parmesan sphere; shiso leaf cracker; nori-caviar cube; daikon, smoked eel, and wasabi; crunchy ginger, kumquat, and begonia; corn tamale; blini with smoked cream cheese and salmon roe; sea cucumber with jamón emulsion; red shrimp with shrimp reduction; saffron brioche and parmesan; romaine soup with avocado and pistachio; wagyu and uni; two tomato gazpacho; milk skin, favas, and white truffle; grilled foie with spiced bread and aged soy; artichoke with olive emulsion and ras al handout; curry cream, pumpkin sorbet, and blood orange; plus many, many cocktails.

While it was closed through most of the pandemic and Adrià closed all of his other restaurants, Enigma re-opened in May 2022 and you should absolutely grab reservations if you want to have this experience too.

Bonus: Bar Cordoba (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat)

Now, if you want to visit even more spots that Bourdain ate in Barcelona, there are still options – but they’re not technically in Barcelona. L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, where the Adriàs are from, is a municipality directly southwest of Barcelona – you’d be mistaken for thinking it’s all part of Barcelona by looking at a map, but locals will definitely correct you.

In any case, you can still enjoy small plates at Bar Cordoba during your visit. Be sure to ask if they have fried morrow (pig snout) and flamenquínes (fresh loin breaded with cheese and fried), which is what Tony tried.

Bonus: Al Andalus (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat)

Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona - Tapas

The other tapas bar in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat – Al Andalus, like the Spanish region Andalusia – is also still open, so be sure to hit them both up when you’re tracing the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona. There, he and José Andrés enjoy simple but delicious tapas of jamón and manchego.

Other Barcelona Spots to Try

As part of my research, I found a few places that other travelers have said Anthony Bourdain visited in Barcelona – but I wasn’t able to verify this in the episodes themselves. Nevertheless, I wanted to include them on my list in case you’re looking for additional spots in Barna:

  • Cerveseria Catalana (C. de Mallorca 236) – This tapas spot boasts a huge menu so you’ll undoubtedly find something delicious. People claim it was featured on No Reservations; if you can verify this, please let me know in the comments!
  • Pinotxo Bar (Mercado De La Boquería) – A spot that many people say Bourdain recommended (and others have reviewed specifically due to his recommendation), this popular spot is located in one of Barcelona’s big mercados and has plenty of tapas options.
  • El Quim (Mercado De La Boquería) – Another spot in the mercado, this family-run tapas bar that serves up traditional Catalan dishes, and is fun as part of a market tour of tapas spots.
  • El Xampanyet (Carrer de Montcada 22) – Tired of tapas yet? Heck no! Here’s another spot to swing by that some travelers say they saw Anthony Bourdain visit during his shows. (Again, if you can verify which episode this happened in, please let me know in the comments.)

Barcelona Food Tours to Try

Since some – okay, all – of the restaurants visited by Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona are now closed (boooooo!), you might want to opt for a food tour instead. This is a great way to sample the city, and these ones I’ve hand-picked are in the spirit of Tony’s intention to seek out the unusual, unique, and interesting flavors of the city.

Have any questions about visiting the same places as Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona? Let me know in the comments!

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    Valerie is a travel writer currently based in Cleveland, but her favorite destinations are Alaska, London, and Jordan – only one of which Bourdain ever visited! You can find her writing on Lonely Planet, Forbes, and her travel blog, Valerie & Valise.

    2 Comments

    • Maureen Jones

      My son and I have an 18 hour layover in Barcelona arriving at 6:30 pm Nov 2 and departing on our flight home to the US at 1:40 pm Nov 3. We will sleep overnite and would like suggestion for place to stay and eat perhaps tapas the evening we arrive and breakfast the next day before we must return to airport. Surely not enough time to sightsee so we will taste Barcelona instead. I am so happy to see this site. I conducted Intl Culinary tours until the pandemic and used some of Bourdains’s itineraries incorporated into my tours. This is first time in Barcelona as result of a layover but I will return. Thank you.

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        Valerie

        Thanks for reading, Maureen! I recommend taking a look at the map to identify spots near where you’ll be staying, since you’re so short on time. From there you can check which might be open for dinner and breakfast during your dates of travel. Have a great trip!

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