Ana La Santa
Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, Salamanca
Ana La Santa is one of two Madrid restaurants from En Compañia de Lobos, a restaurant group out of Barcelona that's a total family affair. Owner Tomas Tarruella founded his first few restaurants with his mother, Rosa Maria Esteva, and while his new restaurant company is actually a solo venture, it lacks none of the creativity and excellent service his family originally became famous for. Chief among his new projects is this Salamanca spot, which offers traditional Spanish food (including an enormous tapas menu) that's not afraid to take risks: Expect several different variations of paella served alongside a quinoa salad, Mexican tortilla soup, and a delicious red curry with Iberian pork cheek. In keeping with family tradition, the bright, verdant, Scandinavian-inspired interiors were designed by Tarruella's sister, Sandra.
17 Carrer de la Unió, El Raval
Part of a family-founded restaurant business, Bar Cañete is part tapas bar, part restaurant. Its long, narrow dining room, decorated with red banquettes and rich mahogany details, gives way to a wooden bar where diners sit, looking into the restaurant's open kitchen. Here, the menu is a mix of traditional tapas, fresh market seafood, and prime cuts of beef and pork. Note: Bar Cañete takes reservations but not for day-of.
Calle de Fernando El Santo, 26, Chamberí
Bar Tomate's location in the convenient, business-focused Salamanca neighborhood means it's usually pretty crowded at lunchtime—though there's always standing room at the bar if you forget to make a reservation. Astonishingly, the operation is open from 8:30 in the morning, serving tapas, light breakfast, and excellent coffee, until midnight, when a DJ and an excellent cocktail menu make it one of the neighborhoods more well-attended bars. While the classic tapas are always a good bet, menu-wise, they're also known for perfectly dough-ey wood-fired pizzas.
91 Carrer de Tamarit, Sant Antoni
Bodega 1900 is just across the street from Tickets, another Albert Adrià spot, where you'll find a fresh spin on the classic tapas and vermouth bar. Bright white tiles and oversized cabinetry add to the charming, at-home vibe, though the real pull is the salty creations (salazones) served alongside smoked, grilled, and pickled plates that are a bit more innovative than what you'll find at your basic joint.
Bosco de Lobos
Calle Hortaleza, 63, Centro
Bosco de Lobos is one of two restaurants from the Barcelona-based En Compañia de Lobos restaurant group (the other, Ana La Santa, is another favorite from our list). At this location, owner Tomas Tarruella focuses on home-style Italian food, with hearty, comforting dishes like a bolognese, mushroom risotto, and wood-fired pizza with ricotta and anchovies. The best tables are out in the patio garden, which is fully enclosed in lush greenery.
81 Carrer Gran de Gràcia, Vila de Gràcia
Botafumeiro is a warm family restaurant where you're just as likely to see dignitaries as local celebs. Sit at the bar (kind of a Spanish version of an oyster bar) and have a late lunch.
8 Plaça de les Olles, Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera
A tiny, popular spot situated on a corner of Plaça de les Olles, Cal Pep serves Mediterranean tapas and larger dishes best shared. The front bar is where the party is at (get there early if you want to grab a coveted stool), but you can also reserve a table (in advance) in the back room for a party of four or more.
4 Carrer de la Font del Mont, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi
Can Martí is a very informal restaurant in the mountains, best accessed by a hike along the Carretera de las Aigües, a dirt road where people from Barcelona go to jog, bike, and walk their dogs. Accordingly, it offers great views of the city. The food is simple, with dishes like tortilla de patata, judías blancas, barbequed meat, salads, and barbequed calçots. It’s essential to reserve in advance, and if it’s calçot season, reserve those, too.
55 Carrer de Sant Joan de Malta, El Clot
Can Pineda is famous for really traditional Spanish cooking and an old-school style. It's a bit of a classic—we first learned about it when Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, and Claudia Bassols filmed there during a PBS food special GP did with them a few years ago called Spain... on the Road Again. Definitely order the rice with mushrooms.
10 Carrer Nou, Sant Pol de Mar
Chef Carme Ruscalleda owns and operates this beautiful place overlooking the sea. Her food is Michelin-starred, inventive, and delicious. While Sant Pol de Mar is a bit outside of Barcelona, it's a charming seaside town and makes an excellent day trip.
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