The 10 Best Restaurants in the Costa Brava
Put simply, Costa Brava’s culinary scene is booming. Exquisite Catalan cuisine abounds on Spain’s rugged northeastern coast, with restaurants offering both traditional and contemporary interpretations of local fare. We explore some of the region’s finest cuisine, from Michelin-starred dining to Salvador Dalí’s favourite restaurant.
EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA
48 Carrer de Can Sunyer, Girona, 17007, Spain
+34 972 222 157
Undoubtedly one of the most acclaimed restaurants on the Costa Brava, El Celler de Can Roca is not only a two-time winner of the number one spot in Restaurant magazine’s annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, it also boasts three Michelin stars. Run by the brothers Roca – head chef Joan, pastry chef Jordi and sommelier Josep – the restaurant serves contemporary Catalan cuisine based around multi-course tasting menus with inventive dishes that include oyster with anemone sauce, garlic sand, tender walnut, seaweeds and phytoplankton velouté. It would be a sin to leave without trying one of Jordi’s desserts (also voted the best in Restaurant magazine’s inaugural World’s Best Pastry Chef Award); his recipes include creative sweets like sourdough ice cream with cocoa pulp, dried lychee and Jerez vinegar meringue.
HOSTAL SA RASCASSA
3 Cala d’Aiguafreda, Begur, Spain
+34 972 622 845
Located on the outskirts of Begur – recently named one of The Culture Trip’s most beautiful Costa Brava towns – Hostal Sa Rascassa is a boutique hotel nestled on the edges of a tranquil, secluded cove that boasts one of the most highly rated restaurants in the region. Fresh and simple is the focus, with an emphasis on traditional recipes and locally sourced ingredients – think seafood-centric dishes like grilled sardines, cod fishcakes and octopus stewed with onion and pepper – complemented by a fantastic wine list equally local in focus. As for the setting, guests can dine in Hostal Sa Rascassa’s rustic, candlelit dining room, or outside in a charming, tree-shaded courtyard.
Riera de Sant Vicenç, Cadaqués, Spain
+34 972 258 482
Compartir, located in a beautiful 18th-century building in the lovely coastal town of Cadaqués, is the brainchild of chef trio Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch – former chefs de cuisine at the now closed, Michelin-starred hotspot El Bulli. An informal approach to dining, the restaurant’s name means ‘to share’ and its menu follows the Catalan tradition of pica-pica whereby a table orders a variety of small dishes designed for sharing. Expect modern, creative plates such as scallops with hazelnut and lingonberries, or Iberian pork tenderloin with Moroccan couscous followed by equally inventive sweet courses such as deconstructed cheesecake with cherry sorbet.
PA I RAÏM
56 Carrer de Torres i Jonama, Palafrugell, Spain
+34 972 304 572
Nestled down an unassuming side street in a smart Art Nouveau house, the former family home of Catalan writer Josep Pla, Pa i Raïm is possibly one of the most beautiful restaurants in Palafrugell. True to its history, elegantly decorated dining rooms welcome guests while a beautiful winter garden and tree-shaded terrace offer further enchanting spaces in which to dine. Pa i Raïm’s seasonal cuisine is as delightful as its design, drawing on both traditional Empordà cuisine and modern flavours, with mouthwatering must-try dishes like Catalan cod with raisins and pine nuts, and roasted Iberian pork cheek with muscat, cinnamon and apple.
51 Carrer Enginyer Algarra, Pals, Spain
+34 972 636 088
After living in Dublin for a number of years, Elisabet Figuerola and her partner Gerard Geli decided to move back to their native Empordà to open a restaurant focusing on a modern take on traditional Catalan cuisine – and in the summer of 2011, Vicus was born. Head chef Damià Rafecas cooks up creative dishes like rack of lamb with vanilla, cabbage and parmesan and fillet of venison with pumpkin tatin, but if there’s one must-try item on Vicus’ menu it’s the restaurant’s locally grown rice-based dishes like the arròs de botifarra negra i bolets de temporada (rice with black pudding and wild mushrooms).