Els Quatre Gats
A cultural icon that serves great coffee and Catalan cuisine
The Four Cats restaurant is a famous piece of Barcelona’s folklore. Operating as a cafe, cabaret and all-round artistic space between 1897 and 1903, Els Quatre Gats was a centre of Modernista thought, and even hosted Pablo Picasso‘s first art exhibition – the legendary brush wielder was also partial to a tipple here.
Reestablished in 1978, following the death of Franco, the Four Cats has since become something of a tourist mecca, and certainly its vibrant decor and ambiance make the restaurant a deserving point of pilgrimage. Tasty portions of Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine satisfactorily stave off the belly rumbles, whilst the coffee is some of the best in the city.
The staff can be a little snooty, but if you don’t expect any special treatment it can still be fun to snag a seat within the art nouveau interior and order some classic local dishes off the menu like codfish fritters or trinxat salad or steamed mussels, whilst admiring the larger-than-life Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem painting that hangs on the wall (although you’ll have to go to the National Museum of Catalan Art to see the original).
If you want to squeeze in before the Tripadvisor hordes arrive they serve breakfast from 9am.