Tucked down a side street in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) is one of the city’s most famous restaurants and a memorable location for a cup of coffee or some Catalan cuisine. The tavern was fashioned after Le Chat Noir in Paris and quickly became a favorite haunt of Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí.
The restaurant’s artistic prowess has been intact since its opening in 1897, and paintings by Picasso, Rusiñol, Casas, and Nonell remind customers of the greats that once dined within its walls. While many Barcelona visitors opt for a meal at the historic restaurant, it also features as a short stop on Picasso-themed tours of the Gothic Quarter and El Born (along with the Picasso Museum). Fans of the bestselling novel The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, can follow in the footsteps of its characters to notable locations including Els Quatre Gats and the church of Santa Maria del Mar, during a literary walking tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Els Quatre Gats is a must-visit for anyone interested in Barcelona’s modernisme movement.
- The restaurant is wheelchair-accessible.
- The café toward the front tends to be quite casual, but the dining room toward the back is more formal; dress accordingly.
How to Get There
The café is within walking distance of just about anywhere in the old city. To get there by public transportation, take the metro (line 1 or 3) to Catalunya and walk from there.
When to Get There
The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a gastropub serving drinks and small bites throughout the afternoon and evening. If you’re here during the summer high season, plan to visit first thing in the morning for coffee and a croissant.
To Eat or Not to Eat
The atmosphere of Els Quatre Gats tends to outshine the food, which can be pricey and less authentic than what you can find elsewhere in Barcelona. To soak up the atmosphere of the space without sacrificing a meal, opt for breakfast or an evening drink with dessert.