After sunny spells spent visiting the amazing Sagrada Familia and hours upon hours of retail therapy along the Passeig de Gracia, some well-earned food is only suitable and appropriate. Barcelona is one of the most visited Mediterranean gastronomic havens in Europe, host to a plethora of local cooking and recipes to appease your hunger. From mouthwatering seafood paella to satisfying cream catalana confections, we have made a list of seven of the most popular foods you just have to try. Contact a Barcelona tour guide to show you around the best eating spots today!
Pa amb Tomàquet
Literally meaning “bread and tomato”, this Catalan staple is a favorite tapas dish throughout Spain. This toasted Catalan bread is generously spread with raw garlic, grated fresh tomatoes, and garnished with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Depending on the restaurant, you’ll find a deconstructed version of pa amb tomàquet served to your table for you to customize to suit your own tastes.
For short trips, we suggest taking a guided food tour with a professional Barcelona private guide to fully immerse yourself in the city’s delicious cuisine. If there is one thing not to miss, it is the gourmet delicacies enjoyed by Catalonians on the daily.
Another tapas dish that locals pay high tribute to are bombas. This potato croquette is shaped into a ball, deep fried, and served with a special spicy sauce. Its origins are still disputed, with some saying that it was created during Spain’s Industrial Revolution. Others believe that it emerged in other regions before that. Whenever and wherever its birthplace may be, Barcelona is undeniably a great place to try out these crunchy balls of flavor.
For a full-on experience, make your way to La Bombeta, another one of the locals’ favorite stamping grounds. A no frills place serving only the best local cuisine, La Bombeta is a wonderful stop after a full day of sightseeing. If you find yourself in Sant Gervasi, then Bodega Balmes is the place for you. Pair your tapas with their delicious sangria or choice wines, and you are set to have a fantastic evening.
Veggie lovers rejoice! Here is a dish worthy of gloating over. The simple yet sumptuous escalivada is a Catalan dish showcasing the region’s attention to details and quality, making sure to bring out the flavors thoroughly and with great gusto. Eggplant, bell peppers, and onions are oven-grilled and served with some olive oil. Escalivada is rich and smoky and a must-try when on Mediterranean shores.
Unknown to many visitors, the dish’s name comes from the way it was cooked in olden times. “Escalivar” translates to “to cook in ashes”, giving it a charry and unique texture only the embers of a wood fire can make. To know more about the history and beauty of Catalonian food culture, contact one of GoWithGuide’s professional Spanish tour guides and book a private and customizable Barcelona tour today.
Of course, one cannot miss out on trying the world-renowned seafood paella in its motherland. Although Valencia is another Spanish paella capital, Barcelona too has some tricks up its sleeve when it comes to these rice and seafood dishes. Paella is a dish that holds lots of meaning, as it is typically served during family gatherings and celebrations.
When in Barcelona, make sure you reserve a table at La Barraca, the place serving arguably the best paella in town. It is a little on the pricier side, so if you are looking for something special and a little luxurious, then La Barraca is the perfect restaurant for the occasion.
Be guided by the savory lure of cooked squid and find yourself in the vicinity of some arros negre. Made with squid (sometimes cuttlefish) and rice, this dish is similar to paella, but also distinctively different. Squid ink is the star of this dish, also giving the rice its black color. A good arros negre is also served with allioli, or garlic mayonnaise , to enhance the flavor.
Although not as popular and well-known as its paella counterpart, arros negre is definitely an indispensable must-try when in Spain. If you’re looking for something unique and a little different, try out this not-so-hidden gem and be surprised by all the bursts of flavors.
Jamon Iberico is not just some random run-of-the-mill ham. Iberian ham, or cured pork leg, is a Catalonian delicacy admired for its smooth texture, one-of-a-kind marbling, and rich taste. With white ribbons of fat circling delicious red meat, meat-lovers will thoroughly enjoy this cured delicacy.
After traversing Barcelona’s cobblestone streets and appreciating the city’s many sights and attractions, a slice of this dry-cured ham with some red wine is the only way to finish off your day. Reserva Ibérica is the best place for first-timers who want to step into the world of cured meats. Sample fine wine under the guidance of their in-house chefs and feel like a connoisseur in no time!
You didn’t think we’d forget about dessert! If you are into creamy vanilla custard, then crema catalana will appease your sweet cravings. It is delightful to crack open its crunchy caramelized top to reveal some of the smoothest custard fillings to date. Crema catalana is usually compared to France’s crème brûlée, but the Catalan counterpart is actually a lot lighter.
A tip for when ordering your desserts. You may think that you would want to share a portion of crema catalana. You won’t! We suggest you order one for everyone who wants a bite. We assure you, you’ll keep digging your spoon in!
Whether you’re in Barcelona for the sights, the nature, or the culture, do not miss out on the wonderful times Catalonian cuisine can bring. If you are curious to try only the best dishes in the most recommended restaurants on a limited budget or within a short amount of time, then GoWithGuide can help create the perfect itinerary for you. Leave your hassles behind and fully enjoy your Mediterranean holiday by being ushered to and fro by one of our local and friendly Barcelona private tour guides. Your Catalonian food trip awaits!