Barcelona is a popular vacation destination situated on the northeastern coast of Spain. This city of modern art and remarkable history is renowned for its enchanting beauty, individuality, and culture.
It is home to abundant archives, museums, libraries, and picturesque architecture. One way to experience the culture is through the food in Barcelona, Spain.
Barcelona, the Catalan capital, offers local Catalan foods that date back hundreds of years. With glistening Mediterranean beaches right on your doorstep, you’ll find quality seafood that captivates the hearts of countless foodies from all over the world.
The busy streets of Barcelona are lined with restaurants and cafes. You’ll find diverse traditional dishes. From Bombas and Escalivada to Crema Catalana and Leche Frita, the choices are inviting and plentiful. To make your food choices easier, we’ve highlighted some of the top traditional Barcelona dishes and restaurants below.
Quick tip: Wondering whether to tip at the end of a meal? Why not consider reading our guide on tipping in Spain.
Delicious Barcelona cuisine
Spain is one of the top destinations in the culinary world, with cuisines varying from region to region. In Barcelona, a top attraction is its authentic local dishes and variety of Catalan cuisine.
The Catalan cuisine is certainly Mediterranean with products from both the mountains and sea. You’ll find that dishes are heavily influenced by fresh seafood, vegetables, pork, wheat products, and olive oil. The lush location allows for a perfect balance between a variety of food elements.
Some of the central ingredients used include tomatoes, aubergines, artichokes, mushrooms, garlic, capsicum and legumes. These are carefully combined into dishes with innovative appearances, styles, and tastes.
Barcelona Food Tours
If you’re wanting to experience Barcelona’s food in the best way possible, why not take a tour? There are options available for every kind of traveler. Plus, you’ll be able to take the knowledge home with you, so you can recreate some of your favorite dishes.
- Paella cooking class and Boqueria Market Tour
- Tapas and wine small-group walking tour
- Cocktail master class with tapas
- Wine and tapas tour
Barcelona Traditional Food
Barcelona is renowned for its flavorful variety of authentic local foods. Whether you’re a meat lover, seafood fanatic, vegetarian, sweet, or savory kind of foodie, Barcelona has traditional dishes for all.
Typical Barcelona food
If you’re wondering what to eat in Spain? We’ve compiled a list of must-try, popular foods in Barcelona below.
Fideuà is a traditional Catalan food that is prepared in the same dish and style as the classic Spanish paella. It is cooked with a base of thin short-cut pasta and tossed with seafood in aioli and olive oil.
It is commonly served with a delicious combination of fresh seafood including prawns, mussels, squid, and cuttlefish. You’ll find varying recipes at restaurants in Barcelona, with flavorful seafood and hints of fresh lemon and garlic.
Fideuà is certainly a must-try dish – you’re likely to see why locals favor it over its rice relative, paella.
Esqueixada is a typical Catalan dish ideal for salty food lovers. This refreshing summer salad is made with a traditional base of bacalao (salt cod).
It is made with shredded bacalao, onions, tomato, and olive oil. You’ll find it topped with olive variations including peppers and hard-boiled eggs. As this dish is served cold, you’ll find it especially enjoyable on warmer days.
Escalivada is a popular food in Barcelona and one of the city’s top vegetarian dishes. It contains a combination of rich and smoky flavors from roasting fresh, local vegetables.
It is a typical Catalonian dish made with grilled vegetables (bell peppers, eggplant, onions, and tomatoes) covered with fresh garlic and olive oil. You can find it served on its own or on top of a crispy slice of bread.
Quick tip: Although escalivada is typically a vegetarian-friendly dish, anchovies may be added. We recommend double-checking just to be sure this is not the case.
Escudella d’Olla | Sopa de galets
Escudella d’Olla, a hearty homestyle Catalan stew, is an ideal traditional dish for those cooler days in Barcelona. It is especially popular during the chilly seasons between October and May.
It combines two related dishes – a broth in the form of a soup followed by various meats and vegetables.
During Christmas in Spain, locals enjoy a variation of this traditional dish – Sopa de galets. This festive dish includes large snail-shaped pasta shells in the soup. It is typically served as an entrée during the holiday season.
Quick tip: If you’re considering visiting Spain for Christmas, why not read our guide on weather in Spain during December?
Crema Catalana is a creamy custard dessert similar to the French crème brûlée. However, you’ll find that it is lighter than its French rival.
This traditional dessert is prepared with flavors of citrus and cinnamon and crowned with a glossy layer of caramelized sugar.
Mel i mató
Mel i mató is a traditional Catalan dessert named after its central ingredients that is honey and cheese. Contrary to its simple name, it’s not your typical cheesecake.
Made with soft unsalted cheese blended with a generous dollop of sweet honey, and topped off with walnuts. The balance of flavors makes it an ideal dessert option.
Restaurants in Barcelona, Spain
Now that you know what to eat in Barcelona, you’re probably wondering where to find it. The city is filled with an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and bars offering mouth-watering, delicious dishes.
To help you find the best food in Barcelona, we’ve listed some of the top restaurants below:
- Brugarol Barcelona
- Sésamo – enjoy tasty Escalivada at a trendy location
- Angle Barcelona
- Disfrutar – experience fine dining with innovative menus celebrating fresh seafood from the Mediterranean coast
- RAO Restaurant
- Restaurant Can Culleretes – enjoy escudella d’olla at a traditional Catalonian restaurant founded in 1876
- Con Gracia
Final thoughts on food in Barcelona
Needless to say, it’s easy to see why Barcelona is renowned for its culture of eating and diversity of Catalan cuisine.
The city offers traditional dishes with a variety of options for all. From dishes served warm or cold, sweet or savory, light or hearty, all are filled with delicious flavors and rich history.
So, get ready to go on a tasteful adventure with the finest foods in the city.
The famous food in Barcelona is one of many exceptional experiences the city has to offer. To find out more, check out our guide on the best free things to do in Barcelona.