Insider’s guide to Costa Brava’s best Restaurants
*updated blog July 2019*
The Costa Brava’s rugged, undulating coastline boasts some incredibly beautiful scenery. Just over an hour’s drive from Barcelona, and close to the French border, this coveted stretch of coastline has arguably some of the bluest waters in the Mediterranean and coves you will want to come back to year after year.
In recent years, the region has become synonymous with outstanding gastronomy, boasting a number of outstanding restaurants and some of the world’s top chefs. With a deep history of agriculture and viticulture, visitors to to the region get a chance to sample some of the most exciting dishes with the freshest ingredients to be found in the whole of Spain.
Here, we round-up our favourites. Bon profit!
Sa Rascassa, Aiguafreda
Tucked just around a corner from the small pebbly cove of Aiguafreda, Sa Rascassa is an idyllic little gem within a romantic walled garden. It is a beautiful spot serving up contemporary Catalan fare including some of the freshest fish in the region. Picture trees lit up with fairy lights, ivy growing over a stone archway and pretty white parasols overhead. You must try the “chocolate pebbles” dessert which comes served up with a surprise!
Cala d’Aiguafreda 3
+34 972 622 845
Villa Mas, Platja de Sant Pol
A beautiful beachside restaurant in the S’Agaró area, Villa Mas is set in a converted 19th Century Modernista home with high ceilings and stunning original. In the summer months, the lovely shaded terrace becomes the dining room, serving both lunch and dinner, whilst in the cooler months, the villa becomes a cosier, more intimate affair (serving lunch only).
Try their speciality arròs a la cassola – a Mediterranean rice dish served in a deep casserole with the freshest of prawns caught just up the road off the coast of Palamós. They have a wine list longer than your arm, featuring some rare (and delicious) finds!
Passeig de Sant Pol 95
17220 Sant Feliu de Guíxols
+34 972 822 526
Tragamar, Calella de Palafrugell
The picturesque bay of Calella de Palafrugell extends through six golden sandy coves connected by stunning promenades. Its pretty pastel coloured buildings house numerous eateries popular with locals and visitors alike.
Right on the playa sits Tragamar – the Costa Brava bastion of stylish Barcelona restaurant group Tragaluz. The menu offers classic Mediterranean dishes with several Asian fusion options, prepared with scrumptious local produce (the tomatoes here are some of the tastiest on record). Bag a seafront table right on the promenade and relax with a crisp glass of local cava as the kids entertain themselves on the beach.
Platja del Canadell s/n
17210 Calella de Palafrugell
+34 972 615 189
Es Dofi, Tamariu
Es Dofi is a traditional family-run restaurant. Unpretentious and friendly, the tables are lined up on the beachside promenade overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean, just yards away. Another ideal spot for kids to play safely in the sand – parents can relax with chilled local wines and no nonsense, simply presented dishes. The grilled turbot with mouth-wateringly chunky homemade chips and the juicy calamari drizzled with zingy lemon are both delicious.
Paseo Mar 21
+34 972 620 043
Toc Al Mar, Aiguablava
Located in the idyllic cove of Aiguablava, this chiringuito style beachside bar overlooks the shallow crystal clear waters and rocky pine tree covered coastline protecting this tiny, tranquil bay. This uber chic, surf style beach shack is anything but pretentious, with pretty lanterns out on a wooden deck a hop skip and a jump from the water.
The chef cooks almost everything over a wood-fire and sources all ingredients from knowledgeable local fishermen – a fantastic location for a sunny lunch by the crashing waves. Don’t just take it from us – it’s a favourite amongst some of the regions finest chefs as well.
C/Platja d’Aiguablava 6
+34 972 113 232
Mar i Vent, Aiguablava
The hotel Parador has teamed up with cocktail giant Javier de Muelas to create a Dry Martini watering hole like no other. Skip the exorbitant food and head straight for the cocktail list. Built into the steep rocky hillside, Mar i Vent is the ideal nook for a sundowner!
Playa de Aiguablava
+34 972 624 300
This much talked about Michelin starred restaurant serves up superb Catalan gastronomy presented in a minimalist, contemporary style. Expect innovative twists on well-loved classic dishes, and views to die for – the restaurant is set high up on the hill overlooking the pretty town of Llafranc, with sweeping views of the bay and beyond.
+34 972 300 104
La Calendula, Regencós
La Calendula is attached to the Hotel del Teatre in the medieval village of Regencós, just 5 minutes from Begur and the beaches of the Costa Brava. The chef, Iolanda Bustos, began this new venture after running a successful restaurant of the same name in Girona city. She offers distinctive and creative cuisine, using local products and a great variety of wild herbs, roots and flowers, which she gathers daily. The restaurant has a great terrace, and an array of local wines. It is open every day for lunch and dinner from Easter to October and during week-ends and fiestas days in November and December.
+34 972 303 859
Located in the former Café de Can Barris in Pals, an iconic 1930s’ venue, Vicus Restaurant opened in June 2011 to offer quintessential Catalan cuisine based on the finest local seasonal products. The restaurant uses Catalan products as the basis for all its dishes, such as rice grown in Pals, which is featured in several dishes. There is a handpicked wine list that largely features Catalan wines, and a special emphasis on those with the DO Empordà label, in an aim to raise the profile of these little-known wines produced by small wineries.
C/Enginyer Algarra 51
+34 972 636 088
Pa i Raim, Palafrugell
Pa i Raïm is located in vibrant Palafrugell in the former 19th Century manor house belonging to the famous Empordà writer Josep Pla. The restaurant is now run by a member of his family, ‘La Roseta’, and her husband Pep Ferriol. The impression when you enter the restaurant is that very little seems to have changed since the early 1900s – polished wood floors, chandeliers, antique furniture, family photos, ornaments and stacked bookshelves surround the tables. There is a sense of walking into someone’s home. The hallway leads through to a tranquil, high-ceilinged room with widely-spaced tables and a wall-to-wall glass façade fronting a garden area shaded by hundred-year-old linden trees, ideal for summer dining. The chefs use fresh local produce and give them all a very contemporary twist!
Pa i Raim is open for lunch every day from Tuesday to Sunday year-round, and for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
C/Torres i Jonama 56
+34 972 447 278
Open since 2014, Dvisi is based in Palamós and is a gastronomic space that stands out from the other local classic seafood restaurants. Run by couple Laura Vicente and Jordi Simón (formerly having worked at Massana in Girona), the name of the restaurant is based on a combination of the first letters of their surnames. They take extreme care with their ingredients, with a focus is on sharing and experimental dishes and an aim of keeping the meal informal. There is no set menu, and the à la carte menu is changed every three months in line with seasonal ingredients. Among the star dishes are: egg cooked at 62ºC with cep ‘de pi’ and Parmentier potato; lobster with black squid tempura and red pepper mayonnaise; laminated ceviche with coconut milk infusion, roe of flying fish and seasonal fruit; and Galician octopus smoked with cream of calçots and black olives.
+34 972 113 161
Hotel Malcontenta, Palamós
Run by Maria and Quim Casellas (chef at Michelin star restaurant Casamar), The restaurant at Hotel Malcontenta offers exciting dishes in this boutique luxury 5 star hotel, previously an old fortified Masia in Palamós. The restaurant is actually in a separate building and is an ideal location to enjoy magnificent views of the Costa Brava. The local Palamós prawns are a must – Palamós is one of the last remaining fishing fleets in this part of the coast and they are said to be one of the best.
Paratge Torremirona – Platja de Castell, 12
+34 972 312 330
This tiny beach shack is hidden away in a picturesque inlet about half a mile south of Tamariu. Accessible by boat, or via a weathered, pretty coastal path (great for working up an appetite), they serve up the simplest of food (think omelettes, shiny juicy tomatoes, sardines on toast – very Enid Blyton) in the most divine, tranquil setting. With such clear turquoise water and the smugglers cove vibe, you would be forgiven for thinking you had landed on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean!
Alternatively, pack your own tasty hamper filled with local meats, cheeses and treats and picnic aboard your very own vessel with Begur Boats.
If the seas are a little choppy, or you don’t fancy unleashing your inner Captain Haddock, there are plenty of private picnic spots to be found along the Camí de Ronda – a scenic coastal path dotted with rugged beaches and secret coves for adventures and gregarious al fresco feasting.
Sol Blanc, Pals
Run by Jordi Ribas and Sonia Labrador, Sol Blanc is gastronomic experience within an ancient Masia, which is surrounded by the rice fields of Pals. Based on the products and flavours of traditional Catalan cuisine.
Barri Molinet 14
+34 972 667 365
Located in the heart of historic Ullastret, Ibèric offers local Empordà cuisine including casseroles and fish. The cuisine is typically Mediterranean, with fried, stewed, grilled local produce, such as cottage cheese from Ca la Nuri and mushrooms, snails, black truffle or eels from the Ter river.The signature dishes are the lobster noodles, snails à la patarrellada, crayfish and all the fish stews, (‘calderetes’) and lobster rice. The restaurant was opened in 1978 by Tomàs Cateura and it was the first restaurant to buy directly from the Palamós fish market, in 1992. Now it is a family-run restaurant and the menu is quite similar to the original one, and has always incorporated dishes borrowed from other areas thanks to the recipes from visitors.
+34 972 757 108
Located in the heart of one of the Empordà’s prettiest villages, L’Eixida offers sharing dishes and a ‘menu degustació’. Rice and fish dishes are a speciality and there is a good choice of local wines.
+34 972 634 806
This creative cuisine project was inspired by the essence of traditional Empordanese cooking, using local, raw products. Prepare yourselves for a true culinary experience with truly imaginative and inspirational dishes, which have earned the restaurant a Michelin star. The wine menu comes on an easy-to-use iPad and offers a range of local and Spanish wines. This is the perfect combination of high quality and creativity. It is also pretty good value. Not to be missed!
Avinguda Costa Brava 6
+34 972 630 869
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