WANT: Exquisite seafood in a classic, elegant setting
Occasion: The perfect place to go with parents, for an intimate celebration, or for a business meeting
Phone: +34 932 184 230
Reservations: Suggested, book online or call +34 932 184 230 / +34 935 155 151
Hours: Everyday: 12 am – 1 am
Prices: Expensive (around 70€ for dinner and wine)
The concierge at my parents’ hotel recommended Botafumeiro to us when we were spending the day in the Gràcia area. We initially planned to go here for lunch, but once we saw the menu – which is the same as the dinner menu – as well as the poised waiters dressed in white jackets, we realized it was too formal and heavy of a meal for what we wanted. We had dinner in a few hours so we wanted a light lunch that day. We decided to come back to Botafumeiro the following night for dinner instead.
When we came here for dinner, we were more than pleased with our experience. The large, classic restaurant could be described as almost outdated, but has a timeless quality that makes it one of the more elegant restaurants I’ve been to. Traditional decor, including light wood banisters and chairs, as well as white table linens, give it a luxurious and nautical style. Though elegant, the atmosphere is unpretentious, relaxed, and enjoyable. The waiters are professional, friendly, and helpful, and their meticulous attention to detail is something rarely seen in a country where waiters do not usually expect tips.
Since 1975, the restaurant has been serving the finest catches available, selected every morning at the fish auctions of Catalonia and Galicia. As one of the most renowned seafood restaurants in Barcelona, it draws loyal local customers back time and again, and you can expect to see famous clientele including movie stars, politicians, and the King of Spain, according to Trip Advisor.
“When the raw material is the best on the market, the only thing a chef need do is respect the product, using the right amount of heat and seasoning to arouse all its flavour and aroma.”
– Moncho Neira, Botafumeiro owner and chef
We began our meal at Botafumeiro with cava, or Spainish wine. Between the three of us, we ordered two appetizers, two main courses, and two desserts – which was plenty of food even if we had cut out dessert. For our appetizers, we got the spider crab cocktail and the traditional botafumeiro “cod and raisins” pie. Just as our waiter suggested, the spider crab cocktail was incredible. It was essentially a salad of big pieces of the freshest, juiciest crab I’ve ever had, green onion, and red pepper, all on a bed of lettuce. It’s safe to say that the dish was definitely worth the price; I can’t even imagine what a hard job the chef who has to shell all the crabs to get that much meat must have! The traditional “cod and raisins” botafumeiro pie was also a large dish. The raisins weren’t visible in the dish but we could taste their subtle sweetness. Overall, the pie was really tasty and served as a good, heavier complement to our other appetizer. I would definitely recommend both dishes, particularly the spider crab cocktail.
For main courses, we ordered the baked hake with seafood sauce and the sea bass with spring onions and mushrooms. Both were incredibly fresh and I highly suggest getting fish if you go to Botafumeiro. The baked hake comes in a seafood stew of potatoes, clams, and other seafood. With similarly outstanding quality, the sea bass is cooked in the same sauce it’s served in and was so tender it falls apart when you eat it. The people sitting next to us ordered the raw seafood platter, which was massive and looked amazing as well. My parents and I agreed that Botafumeiro served some of the freshest and best seafood we have ever had, and I would suggest shying away from ordering a paella here because it would take away from the taste of exquisite seafood itself.
We finished dinner in around an hour, but it quickly turned into two hours once we started ordering desserts. I got the warm chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream. It was excellent, and so was my dad’s gran marnier soufflé flambé. The soufflé was an egg soufflé with orange liqueur poured over it, and served on fire. We didn’t know ahead of time, but Botafumeiro offers complimentary desserts based on the size of your party. For the three of us, we got three slices of white pound cake, three almond wafer cookies, and three rich, dark chocolate truffles.
The high-end, authentic Catalan and Galician cuisine served in a fine-dining setting makes Botafumeiro the perfect place to go with your parents or family, especially for celebrations. It would also be great for business meetings, as it has top-notch service, free wifi, a professional setting, and seafood that will not let clients down. If you’re in Barcelona and want the finest seafood in Spain, Botafumeiro is undoubtedly the place to go.