Barcelona, the birthplace of modernism and the capital of Catalan cuisine, offers an exquisite selection of traditional dishes that set the standard in Spanish cuisine. If you are visiting Barcelona and don’t know what to eat during your vacation, here is a list of 14 typical foods you must try while in the city.
Pan amb tomaquet (Bread with tomato):
There is no more emblematic dish, not only in Barcelona but in all of Catalonia, than pan amb tomaquet. Although it is a simple dish, it consists of rustic bread (of good quality, that’s essential) rubbed with tomato, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, pan amb tomaquet is the foundation of any good Catalan meal.
Calçots with Romesco Sauce:
Between January and April, Barcelona is filled with calçots, tender spring onions that are grilled and served with Romesco sauce. Despite their simplicity, they are a delight that will leave you wanting more, especially because of the atmosphere, as the calçotada is often a social event, a time to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. If you’re going to eat calçots, don’t forget the bib… You’ll know why once the meal begins.
Although originally an Italian recipe, Catalans have adopted canelones as their own and made them the typical dish for Christmas meals. In its most classic version, they are filled with minced meat and gratinéed with bechamel sauce, taking you on a culinary journey straight to the heart of Barcelona.
Coca Catalana is a dish very similar to Italian pizza, and it can be found in both savory and sweet versions. The specific recipe may vary depending on the region of Catalonia, but it is most commonly found with peppers and sardines in its savory version, or with fruits in its sweeter variation.
Not exclusive to the Catalan coast, but Barcelona is undoubtedly one of the best places to try it. This delicious rice dish is very similar to a seafood paella, and its uniqueness lies in the color of the rice, which turns black with the squid ink. If you’re visiting Barcelona, arroz negro is a must in any Catalan restaurant.
Butifarra with Mongetes:
Never has such a simple recipe been so full of flavor: a butifarra (the quintessential Catalan sausage) accompanied by cooked mongetes (white beans). Perfect for a Sunday lunch.
Escudella i Carn d’Olla:
This hearty meat stew is a traditional winter dish in Catalonia and a classic for Christmas. Soup, pork, beef, chicken, vegetables… it’s a dish that leaves no one indifferent. Want to know a secret? In many Catalan households, the Christmas canelones are filled with the leftovers from the escudella i carn d’olla.
Suquet de Peix:
Like many dishes in traditional cuisine, suquet de peix is a stew that originated from the daily recipes of Catalan fishermen. With a deep and complex flavor, this fish and seafood dish is a delight for seafood lovers.
A perfect recipe for any time of the year, either as a main course or as a side dish to a heavier meal. This simple yet flavorful salad of roasted eggplant, peppers, and onions is an excellent vegetarian option in Catalan cuisine.
Esqueixada de Bacallà:
This raw cod salad is a popular summer dish not only in Barcelona but throughout Catalonia. Seasoned with tomatoes, onions, olives, and red bell pepper, Esqueixada is an explosion of flavors in your mouth. You can’t miss it!
This tender beef stew with mushrooms is perfect as a main course for a family meal, but you will also find it in the best traditional restaurants in Barcelona. The meat is cooked until it melts in your mouth, while the mushrooms give it a special touch.
Pollo Asado a la Catalana:
If classic roasted chicken is already a great delicacy, the Catalan recipe is perfect for meat lovers: Pollo Asado a la Catalana is cooked with plums, pine nuts, and white wine, offering a dish as light as it is rich and flavorful.
A good lunch or dinner is incomplete without a delicious dessert to finish it off. For the sweet tooth, there’s nothing better than Crema Catalana. This Spanish version of crème brûlée, similar to custard but thicker and with a delightful caramelized top, is the perfect ending to any meal.
Mel i Mató:
If you’ve eaten so much that you can’t handle a Crema Catalana, we offer you a lighter but equally delicious dessert: fresh Catalan cheese drizzled with local honey. A delight for your taste buds.
What to do after dinner?
But life in Barcelona doesn’t end after dinner: the Catalan capital offers you countless entertainment options that you will greatly enjoy. How about topping off the day by attending an authentic flamenco show? Take advantage of your stay in Barcelona to enjoy the show that Gran Gala Flamenco offers every night at the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Teatro Poliorama. Book your tickets now!