Skip to content

Best French Restaurants in Barcelona ~ A Francophile’s Guide

Last updated on May 15, 2018

As a passionate Francophile I’ve often dreamed of moving to Paris, Lyon or Provence but can’t bring myself to leave Barcelona.

And that’s why, over the last couple of years, I’ve been on a quiet culinary quest to seek out Barcelona’s best French restaurants, places where I can live out my Frenchy fantasies without leaving the city.

Pierre Verchere at Le Bistrot de Pierrot French bistro Barcelona
Me (right) and Pierre at Le Bistrot de Pierrot

So here you have it, mis amis, a few of my personal favourite French restaurants in Barcelona – here’s where to go when you’ve had your fill of Spanish tapas, when you’re in need of a little je ne sais quoi. Bon appétit!

Le Bistrot de Pierrot Gothic Quarter) ~ Homely Bistro Vibes à la Lyon

Le Bistrot de Pierrot French bistro BarcelonaThe passion project of Pierre Verchere (pictured above left) from Lyon, AKA ‘The Stomach of France’, Le Bistrot de Pierrot, is a warm and homely bistro offering hearty French cuisine. As a one-man maître d’, sommelier and garçon, Pierre waltzes between the bar, dining room and kitchen, singing along to traditional French folk songs as he goes. 

What to eat and drink: Chef Walid is from Bordeaux and you won’t want to miss his ‘oeufs en meurette’ (poached eggs in red wine sauce) and ‘raviole du Dauphiné’ (cheese and pasta heaven), as well as mains like ‘filet de daurade’ (bream) and ‘magret de canard’ (duck with honey, orange, and thyme).

For a quick bite at the bar, dig into a mixed platter of suitably stinky French cheese and cold cuts paired with biodynamic wines sourced from Pierre’s “friends in France”.

When to go: The vibe is warm and relaxed but romantic enough to make it work for a dinner date. The central location also makes it ideal for a post-sightseeing lunch.

Address: Carrer de Julià Portet, 6, 08002 Barcelona
Average price per person: €20-30

Ginette Bar à Manger (Born Barrio) ~ Spanish-French Fusions & Parisian Style

Ginette French Restaurant in Born, BarcelonaFusing the best of French and Spanish cuisine, this ultra hip restaurant in Born boasts an air of contemporary Parisian chic. Quirky floral-print wallpaper paired with moody lighting and giant pot plants create a cool but informal vibe that’s perfect for everything from a pre-fiesta feast with friends to a romantic first date.

What to eat and drink: French chef Hervé has worked at some of Paris’ best restaurants and draws on Barcelona’s abundance of seasonal produce for further inspiration. Start with his signature croquettes spiked with duck to see why Spanish and French cuisine works so well together.

Mains include cod meunière with ground hazelnuts and seasonal vegetables, and (my personal favourite) 35-day-aged beef delicately cooked in red wine and served with watercress and perfect potatoes.

Ask maître d‘ Alban for wine recommendations from France’s famous terroir and finish with handmade chocolate mousse with salted caramel.

When to go: It’s a beautiful space that’s perfect for socialising with friends, especially during the week (Mon to Fri) when you can enjoy the €15 set lunch menu. The excellent service and romantic ambience also makes it a good option for dates and special occasions.

Address: Carrer del Rec Comtal, 12, 08003 Barcelona
Average price per person: €20-30

La Dama (Eixample) ~ Speakeasy Vibes in the Modernist Marvel of Casa Sayrach

La Dama French Restaurant, BarcelonaLa Dama is housed in Casa Sayrach, one of Barcelona’s most impressive Modernist buildings. Designed by Manuel Sayrach in 1918, this gorgeous apartment block is dripping with Gaudi-inspired detailing: spiralling columns, a sinuous staircase and skeletal ceilings.

It is not actually open to the public so dining at La Dama, which is located on a mezzanine level inside, is the one of the only ways to see the interior. The organic curves and bourgeoisie vibes continue in the restaurant, where a gilded cocktail bar that Gatsby himself would have been proud to call his own.

What to eat and drink: Chef Bruno Zubek crafts creative Mediterranean dishes like beef carpaccio with chimichurri, smoked herring with potato and apple, and pulpo (octopus) with aubergine. Mains include seafood classics and premium quality meat. Go with the rack of ribs or solomillo for a satiating meat feast, or go all out and the mixed “plato del mar” for a seafood extravaganza perfect for sharing.

There’s an excellent selection of Catalan wines and the in-house pastry chef makes some of the most beautiful desserts in Barcelona.

Pull up at the cocktail bar (see my favourite Barcelona cocktail bars here) for a stiff one before leaving and rub shoulders with the local glitterati.

When to go: This is a place to enjoy a glamorous night out with friends or your loved one, whether you’re celebrating or getting warmed up for a big night out. This is where the elite dine.

Address: Avinguda Diagonal, 423, 08008 Barcelona
Average price per person: €40-50

Cafe Búho (Eixample/Passeig de Sant Joan) ~ Cosy Café Vibes on the Leafy Passeig de Sant Joan

Tartar de Dorada at Cafe Buho in Barcelona - Ben HolbrookOccupying a prime corner location on the sun-struck stretch of Passeig de Sant Joan, Cafe Búho is a French bistro that’s ideal for everything from lazy brunches to indulgent lunches and romantic dinners. The bare-brick walls are adorned in boho-chic posters from France and vintage mirrors, and rustic wooden tables and big puffy pillows that make it all feel more like Paris than Barcelona.

What to eat and drink: Go early for breakfast and enjoy a pot of strong coffee with proper croissants, bagels and smoothies, or go later and enjoy brunch classics like the house special eggs Benedict. For lunch or dinner start with a tartar de dorada with mandarin and red peppers – don’t miss the rillettes of duck with pistachio and apricot bread from Barcelona’s famous Baluard bakery.

Finish with a wedge of the “cake of the day” or order the ricotta and pumpkin splashed with honey for a French-inspired version of the Catalan classic mel i mató. An excellent wine list features references from across Spain and, of course, France. Ask Rodrigo for his recommendations and you won’t be disappointed.

When to go: Get here early to secure one of the coveted window tables for brunch or come for a late lunch and dine in the sunshine. It’s a very pleasant stroll to or from Parc de la Ciutadella

Address: Passeig de Sant Joan, 84, 08009 Barcelona
Average price per person: €20-30

Solomillo Brasserie (Eixample) ~ Heaven for Meat-Lovers

solomillo brasserie, BarcelonaHoused in the boutique Alexandra Hotel (a fantastic 4-star option) in the glitzy Eixample neighbourhood, Solomillo (‘sirloin’ in Spanish) is all about quality meat ordered by weight. The brasserie is nuzzled away on a mezzanine level and is an intimate space ideal for small groups an couples. 

What to eat and drink: It’s all about beef. Choose from French Salers, Nebraskan Black Angus, Spanish Frisian or Rubia Gallega and decide how much you want (by weight). The smaller 125 g cuts are ideal if you’d like to try multiple varieties. If you’re feeling decisive then go for the colossal 500 g steak. The accompanying sauces include classics like Béarnaise, cafe de Paris, blue cheese or black pepper and will transport you tastebuds straight to France.

Side dishes feature seasonal produce from the hotel’s vegetable garden, with candied leeks, grilled asparagus and browned carrots with cumin. Excellent Spanish wines and a solid selection of Champagnes and French rosés complete the experience perfectly.

When to go: Go for lunch and enjoy a post-meal cocktail in the hotel’s spectacular internal garden.

Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 251, 08008 Barcelona
Average price per person: €40-50

El Casal Café (Born Barrio) ~ Bistro Beauties and Oysters Perfected by Normandy Natives

El Casal Café French Restaurant in Born, Barcelona - by Ben Holbrook of Driftwood JournalsTucked away just off Via Laietana in the Born barrio, Plaça de Victor Balaguer is one of those secret little nooks of the city that manages to evade tourists and locals alike. It’s not the sort of place you’d stumble across by accident, which makes it feel like you’ve made a great discovery.

From the tiny open kitchen of an old ‘bar de toda la vida’ (Spain’s answer to the British pub or American dive bar), brothers Simon and Julien Soimier craft classis dishes from their native Normandy, elevated with eclectic ingredients and flavours inspired by Simon’s many years as a travelling chef.

What to eat and drink: Expect bold flavours like Provençal ratatouille, rabbit pâté, homemade hummus and platters of French cheese that will make you weep when paired with a glass of the good stuff. But the maison spéciale is most definitely oysters! Import weekly from Agon-Coutainville, they’re harvested Tuesday morning and on your plate in Barcelona by Thursday – you won’t find fresher in Barcelona! Order them crudo (raw) or try them grilled with cheese and herbs. As Simon explained to me: “Everyone thinks you have to eat oysters raw, the classic way, the purist way, but I think they’re better like this.” And don’t miss the homemade cakes and bakes.

Like all proud Frenchmen, Simon (or Sim as his friends call him) loves his wine and keeps a good stock from his native land. He’ll happily recommend a selection to accompany each course of your meal, so be sure to ask him for his help.

When to go: The bargain menú del día (set lunch menu) changes daily and is an absolute steal at €10. If you go for dinner then definitely swing around the corner to Collage Cocktail Bar for a few after dinner snifters. 

Address: Plaça Victor Balaguer, 5, 08003 Barcelona
Average price per person: €15-30

More of My Recommended Restaurants in Barcelona









Support Me: Buy Me a Coffee/Vino

Buy Me a Coffee/Vino

Make a PayPal donation to show your support and help me publish more posts and shoot more videos:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support / Tip Ben

Buy Me a Coffee/Vino