Tucked down a side street in Barcelona’s Barrio Gotico (Gothic District), Els Quatre Gats (meaning ‘The Four Cats’, or ‘a few people’ in Catalan slang) is one of the city’s most famous bar-restaurants and a memorable location to sample some delicious traditional Catalan cuisine. The Parisian-style tavern was the brainchild of local businessman Pere Romeu, taking its inspiration from Paris’ atmospheric cabaret bar, Le Chat Noir (The Black Cat), and creating a bohemian ambiance that immediately resonated with the city’s artists and writers. Opening its doors in 1897, Els Quatre Gats quickly amassed a number of legendary patrons, becoming the favorite haunt of Picasso, who held his first 2 exhibitions in the main dining room, and a popular meeting point for revered architect Gaudi.
Although Els Quatre Gats closed for much of the mid 20th-century, the iconic bistro was restored and reopened in the 1970s to charm a new generation of locals and tourists. Today, the restaurant’s artistic prowess remains intact and the paintings by Picasso, Russinol, Casas and Monell still remind customers of the greats that once dined within its walls. Antique wooden furnishings, marble columns and traditional ceramic floors keep the timeless feel of Els Quatre Gats alive, and the atmospheric dining area seats up to 120 people beneath glittering crystal chandeliers.