Delicious paellas, the typical “pa amb tomaquet”, patatas bravas and the iconic black rice and more “must eat” dishes of...
The 10 Traditional Foods You Must Try in Barcelona & Where to Eat Them
If you find yourself in the most multicultural city of Spain, you cannot leave without trying the most traditional and famous food of Barcelona. The combination of flavors and textures of the characteristic Mediterranean produce make Barcelona’s gastronomy one of the most delicious in the entire world.
In this area and community, the culture of quality food is so important that many of the most internationally recognized chefs in Spain are from here, from Catalonia. For example Ferrán Adriá, Joan and Jordi Roca, Quim Hernández, Joan Bosch, Ada Parellada and other big names are from here.
Keep reading our Food Guide and discover typical food of Barcelona and where to try the quintessential catalan delicacies for a good price and the best quality.
What food is Barcelona famous for?
Mediterranean cuisine, Spanish traditions, fresh produce from the Mountains and the Sea, outdoor life, and meeting friends with a good tapas and a couple of glasses of wine identify Barcelona’s food and culture. Therefore in order to get this authentic BArcelona experience, you have to eat like locals.
Barcelona’s first-rate chefs have been in charge of recovering the entire gastronomic tradition of the land, becoming a “must” for those who visit the city and also one of the main destinations for “foodies”.
In this special region where the sea meets the mountain there is only place for extreme quality and variety. And if that were not enough, typical dishes from all over Spain are still included in the recipe books all over the city. Therefore, you won’t be able to miss a thing.
The Catalans absolutely adore the taste of the sea, high-quality cured meats and the typical “pa amb tomaquet” which is typical spanish bread with tomato, but I assure you that it tastes totally different in Barcelona and is extra delicious. In order fo you not to miss a single nuance of Catalan cuisine, we present you the 10 most traditional dishes of Catalan and Spanish food and the best restaurants in Barcelona where you can try them.
What food to eat in Barcelona? 10 classic dishes of Catalan and Spanish cuisine.
Traditional Catalan Recipes
They say if you come to Barcelona and not have a paella, you might as well not come at all. Although it is a typical dish throughout Spain, it has gained particular popularity among Barcelona locals. It is even one of the main dishes in the lunch menus on Thursdays offered by the majority of restaurants in the area. Paella is “Must Eat” food of Barcelona you can’t miss. Or in other words: this is what you eat while in Barcelona.
Paellas in all their varieties are delicious, but only if they are prepared correctly, otherwise it can be a very underwhelming experience. A good paella would amaze you with the smell alone, the flavors have to be powerful but not cloying and the texture soft and juicy as well as crunchy. Many visitors of Barcelona get surprised by the taste of crunchy paellas, as it doesn’t taste like a rice dish at all.
Making paellas and all its varieties is an art. If you are looking for the best paellas in Barcelona, you must take into account many aspects, such as the preparation techniques, the product quality, the type of rice and the cooking times, among others. We are sure, you don’t want to try that paellas from Las Ramblas, made in microwave. Rather look at the paella restaurants popular among locals or follow our advice.
One of the restaurants that achieve a truly exquisite paella is Maná 75, recognized by locals for its distinctive flavors and great quality. Cooked with first-class local produce, you can taste paellas of all different variations: rice with lobster, black rice, carabinero rice, chicken or vegetarian rices and, of course, seafood paella, all full of flavors that you will never forget.The restaurant is located by the beach of La Barceloneta.
Of course we would never forget to mention one of the most characteristic dishes in all of Mediterranean and Catalan cuisine: fideua. It is cooked with a base of fish stir fry and small fine noodles, a marvelous combination that creates the “rossejat” (fine, slightly burned and thus crunchy layer). Fideua is one of Barcelona foods that makes happy both: the stomach and the soul.
Maná 75 has a delicious recipe in which they cook fideua with the squid pulp: a combination of black rice and fideua that is crazy delicious and definitely one of a kind. “El Arenal”, “La Mar Salada” and as we mentioned “Maná 75 ” are the best restaurants to try a typical Catalan fideua for a reasonable price.
3. Pa amb tomaquet (Catalan tomato bread)
Accompanying a meal with the famous Catalan “pa amb tomaquet” is a blessing for the palate. You will think that it is just any bread with tomato, but the flavor of the ones prepared in Barcelona restaurants is unique and you wouldn’t be able to try anything like it anywhere else. Therefore Pa amb Tomaquet take a deserved place in the list of the best foods of Barcelona.
The first reference to this delicacy dates from the end of the 19th century. The secret is in the coca bread cut crosswise, a pinch of salt, tomato rubbed on the bread and a drizzle of olive oil. Simple enough right? But remarkably delicious. In general, you can order it at any restaurant or tapas bar in Catalonia, and it is very recommendable.
A tip: Use “pa amb tomaquet” to accompany soups, paellas and dishes with fish or shellfish, and you won’t regret it.
4. The charcuterie
There is no doubt that charcuterie is a jewel of the entire Spanish land and one of the most popular foods in Barcelona restaurants. What a pure pleasure having a glass of beer or red wine along with a good bite of the highest quality cold meats in Europe. The fuet, the chistorra and the butifarra are the greatest sausages of Catalan cuisine.
The butifarra, very popular in all types of meals and in sandwiches, is a thick sausage made of pork and seasoned in different ways. It can be eaten roasted, grilled, fried and some even eat it raw. The fuet is another unique sausage from Catalonia. It is made with pork, pepper and salt and is eaten raw.
If you want to take the best memories of these cold meats with you, we recommend the “mountain” rice with black sausage and pork ribs sold exclusively in Maná 75, an exquisite option without a doubt.
5. La ensaladilla rusa
The Spanish potato salad, also called “ensaladilla rusa”, is one of those dishes that although invented far from the Iberian Peninsula gained incredible popularity and nowadays can be found in almost any local restaurant. It is delicious during any season but especially desired in summer.
The most famous recipe makes some changes to the original one to add that delicious and unique touch of the sea and mountain flavor. Homemade mayonnaise and olive oil are mixed with the boiled potatoes, vegetables and eggs. Undoubtedly a unique delight for the palate.
Order La ensaladilla rusa as an appetizer together with Patatas Bravas, Pan de Coca y Bomba de La Barceloneta. You won’t regret the choice.
6. Bomba de la Barceloneta
La bomba de la Barceloneta is a culinary masterpiece from 1955 that was brought to life in the neighborhood of the same name, La Barceloneta, located in the city of Barcelona. It is a ball of meat and potato covered in breadcrumbs, deep fried and accompanied with a homemade hot sauce and aioli.
It is one of the most cherished tapas by the people of Barcelona and the truth is that they are truly delicious. In Maná 75 you can enjoy the original recipe with its secret spices that make it one of a kind.
Es una de las tapas más amadas por los barceloneses y la verdad es que son deliciosas. En Maná 75 puedes deleitarte con la receta original con sus ingredientes secretos que hacen que sea única e irrepetible.
Traditional Spanish Recipes
7. Patatas bravas
“Patatas bravas” , spicy roasted potatoes, is one of those typical Spanish dishes that should be incorporated into the world gastronomy. I can’t imagine hanging out with friends having tapas and not eating the classic patatas bravas.
They usually taste sweet and a little bit spicy. In some bars they serve it with aioli and hot brava sauce separately and in others directly with sauces mixed in. Undoubtedly the recipe preferred by the Catalans is that of very crispy potatoes cut in big chunks, added aioli, brava sauce, and a touch of parsley along with red paprika.
Patatas Bravas is THE MOST typical and popular food in Barcelona, you can find it in any restaurant and it will be delicious. We recommend to try patatas bravas in such restaurants as “Elsa y Fred”, “Fabrica Moritz” and if you find yourself in Barcelona during the beach bar “chiringuito” season you cannot miss the bravas at “Chiringuito Escribà.
8. Andalusian style Calamari
Andalusian style calamari is another typical Barcelona food originated in Andalusia, as its name suggests. In Spain the well-known “bocadillo de calamares”, meaning sandwich with calamari, sounds a little crazy, but I assure you that it is worth giving it a try.
Calamari can be also found as part of the main source or can be eaten as an afternoon snack on their own. In Maná 75 you can taste a unique variation of Andalusian-style squids accompanied with Kimchi mayonnaise. It is one of the favorite starters for locals who frequent the restaurant since its flavor and quality is unparalleled in the area. I assure you, it will literally melt in your mouth.
9. Steamed mussels
Mussels are a beloved, delicious low-cost starter and undoubtedly on of the most popular food in Barcelona Spain. This Galician dish is loved and cooked throughout the whole national territory. They can be seasoned with different dressings, slices of lemon, hot sauce, white wine, etc.
Starting a family meal with a mussel casserole or a seafood casserole with mussels and clams, is a sign that the rest of the evening will be perfect. This kind of seafood is ideal to accompany a few glasses of beer or a nice glass of red wine.
How much does it cost to eat in Barcelona?
Having a nice dinner out in Barcelona can seem very expensive at first glance, but nothing is further from the truth. Restaurants like “El Nacional”, “Vinitus” and of course “Maná 75” promise authentic Catalan experience and traditional Spanish cuisine with a great quality-price ratio. These restaurants are also the most popular in the city, so make sure to make a reservation in advance.
In Barcelona, depending on the area and the type of restaurant, the average price per person can vary from 20 to 65 euros. The value for money is paramount when choosing a good place to dine, at Maná 75 you can enjoy the true flavor of the Mediterranean for a price that can vary between €45 and €55.
If you still have not decided on a restaurant where you can enjoy the local cuisine, you can opt for the 22 top restaurants of Barcelona, and I assure you that they are all worth it and that you will have a dream evening.
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