Els Quatre Gats - Barcelona

Els Quatre Gats, or The Four Cats, is a Spanish restaurant in Barcelona which is full of Spanish history. Located in the centre of the city, Els Quatre Gats has been around for over 100 years and has always drawn a crowd, including many famous visitors including artists and writers.

The Restaurant

Restaurant Els Quatre Gats

The history of this restaurant in Barcelona actually begins in Paris at the end of the 19th Century. Pere Rameau, who had been working at the famous cabaret venue, Le Chat Noir, in Paris as a greeter and a waiter, decided that he wanted to replicate the atmosphere of Le Chat Noir in a restaurant in Barcelona. For Pere Rameau, this meant that the restaurant had to be more like a bar, with cheap food and a piano. In order to set up his restaurant, Pere Rameau relied heavily on his friends, such as the artists Santiago Rusiñol and Ramon Casas, for financial support.

Pere Rameau eventually opened his restaurant, Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats), in June 1897. The restaurant was a great mix of traditional design and artistic flair. One of the first famous visitors to Els Quatre Gats restaurant was the poet Rubén Dário, who said that the restaurant had surpassed being a mere copy of Le Chat Noir of Paris, and had become a legendary place in its own right.

The emphasis of Els Quatre Gats was to not provide the best food possible, but to provide the best atmosphere. To ensure this, Pere Rameau used to sit with his customers and chat with them as though they had known each other for years. Small shows were put on from time to time to entertain the crowds which were advertised with the help of posters painted by Ramon Casas.

As the years went by, Els Quatre Gats attracted many more customers, including the famous Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso, who made this restaurant his local while he was living in Barcelona as a young man. Picasso also held his first solo exhibition at this Spanish restaurant. Other famous customers who went to Els Quatre Gats include Isaac Albéniz, Ricard Opisso and Antoni Gaudí.

Pere Rameau was an excellent host at the restaurant, but he was not an excellent businessman. He often let people off if they didn't have enough money to pay for what they ate, and those that did pay often gave much less than they should have. The bills mounted up and in 1903, Pere Rameau was forced to shut the restaurant. Pere Rameau continued to be a poor man up until his death in 1908.

The restaurant was used by the artistic circle in Barcelona as their headquarters for a while, up until the Spanish Civil War. After this, the restaurant was left disused until the 1970s when it was reopened by three Catalan businessmen who converted Els Quatre Gats into a centre of gastronomy for the city of Barcelona.

Although the restaurant has been renovated, Els Quatre Gats still resembles the restaurant that was opened all those years ago. The stained glass windows, the traditional style bar, and the antique lights make you feel like you have taken a step back in time. This is definitely a restaurant to pencil in a visit to in your Barcelona city guide.

The Menu

Menu Els Quatre Gats

Els Quatre Gats offers a variety of Spanish food which is always beautifully cooked. This Spanish restaurant offers an 'à la carte' menu as well as a lunchtime menu and a special menu for Saturdays. Alongside the main dishes, you can also order some Spanish tapas style dishes to share with your friends of family.

Some of the highlights from the menu at Els Quatre Gats include 'Lubina al horno con patatas, cebolla y tomate' (Baked Sea Bass with potatoes, onion and tomato), 'Pollo asado con ciruelas y piñones' (Roast chicken with plums and pine nuts), and 'Bacalao con espinacas a la crema' (Cod with spinach in a creamy sauce).