Cadaques restaurants

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Rosa Azul

Price guide: Budget
expert-rated restaurants in Cadaques
Expert overall rating:4.4 (out of 5)

Laid-back cafe bar with gorgeous views over the bay at Cadaqués. Great for tapas or cocktails.

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If there was ever any doubt about the Costa Brava as a top foodie destination that all changed when Ferran Adria’s El Bullí was repeatedly voted the ‘Best Restaurant in the World’.

This wasn’t just a one-off blip. The Costa Brava and Barcelona now have one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain. But that’s not to say that the only great restaurants round here are of the fine dining variety. There’s no shortage of other top class eateries which are often just as good, even without the tyre firm’s rosette. I personally love traditional Catalan food with its hearty, rustic dishes like butifarra and white beans and roast chicken and chips with aioli.

One of the things that’s different about eating in the Costa Brava compared to bigger Spanish cities is that you won’t necessarily find a huge choice of different international styles round here. Having said that, many menus will feature international dishes like steaks and freshly cooked fish and if you (or your children) are desperate for some pasta, a lot of menus will often feature canellonis or spaghetti.

The exception to that rule is that you will find pizzerias in most of the more popular towns. There are also individual exceptions like Restaurant Xado in Palafrugell which specialises in Moroccan tagines and couscous as well as Catalan staples.

The other thing worth mentioning is that unlike many other parts of Spain, restaurants do tend to close earlier here in the evenings. You still won’t find many places opening before 8pm but they do tend to close around 10.30pm. Whereas in Barcelona, Madrid or Seville you could happily roll up for dinner at 10pm and find yourself queuing for a seat, here you’ll find the kitchens about to close, so the best time to arrive is usually between 8-8.30 and 9pm.

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I’ve purposely included a mix of styles and price ranges so that as well as some of the more top-end, Michelin-starred places, you’ll also get local cafés and bistros with great value menu del dias (menus of the day) and the kind of sized portions that mean you won’t be hungry for a week. They are all places that I’ve eaten in myself and I think are the best in the area.

I should also point out that although I’ve tried to include as broad a range of price levels as possible, the Costa Brava is unquestionably one of the pricier areas in Spain when it comes to eating out. Whereas in Andalucia, you’d be spoilt for choice for good value tapas bars and local restaurants, the Costa Brava tends to be where well-heeled Barcelonans head for their weekends and holidays and prices inevitably tend to reflect that.

Finally, it’s probably worth my mentioning that I’ve not included El Bullí itself on my list on the basis that for one, if you’re into food, you won’t need to me to tell you about it and secondly, it’s due to close in 2011 and has a waiting list that stretches from Roses to Hong Kong. So even though it’s obviously one of the top places on the Costa Brava, unless you’ve already booked or are royalty, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get a table. Besides, to my mind, there’s plenty of equally impressive cooking elsewhere on the Costa Brava.