food in Barcelona
Updated last month

Overall, Spain is a wonderful, diverse place full of life, fun, tranquillity and better food. Each autonomous area has different characteristics. These are reflected in people's way of thinking in their relationship with the country, but the differences can also be found in gastronomy. Being located on the shores of the Mediterranean, Catalonia boasts a more varied range of ingredients and delivers fantastic results. Seafood, tomatoes, red peppers, eggplants, mushrooms and artichokes are just a few gems for the ingredients found here.

Sunbathing on the Costa Brava, you can easily forget that there are many mountains in Catalonia. This is how the concept of mar i montanya (mounts and sea) emerged, which in theory means that fish and meat are on a plate during meals. Of course, Catalan cuisine is strongly influenced by Spanish and French cuisines. In short, the table is not missing red meat, seafood, chicken, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts.

If you want to dig deeper, you need to know that ham (pernil) and cheese (formatge) are the stellar stars of the meal in Barcelona. Besides, you can find many kinds of sausages made with pork (for example, botryar). There is also a great tradition of mushroom picking. Some people disappear for days to collect mushrooms in the forest. Another interesting thing is the big and sweet spring onions, that is, calçots. The season runs from January to March. The method of preparation is very simple: cook on hot peas (if you like, grilling) and vegetables. It is not consumed by itself but with some sauce such as romesco, which is a mixture of finely grounded tomatoes, red peppers, onions, garlic, almonds and olive oil.

Besides potatoes, rice is also very common. The arrós a la catalana is the Catalan version of the Spanish paella, cooked in a pot, without saffron.

Another speciality is fideu, a paella-like dish that replaces rice noodles.

Catalan coca is almost like a pie or pizza. There is also a salty and sweet version.

The tapas are not originally not from Catalonia but have become part of the local cuisine for decades. To get a clearer picture of the local gastronomy, below are some of the traditional food.

Vegetarian food

Pa amb tomàquet - bread with tomato. When you prepare this meal, the bread should be browned (dry). Once you're done, rub half of the bread with a half cut tomato, then add a little olive oil to it.

Escalivada - this is essentially a hot garnish made from grilled vegetables (eggplant, red pepper, tomato and onion). The vegetables are peeled, pitted and blended with olive oil

Calçots - the listed sweet spring onions are not to be missed.

Meat dishes

Botifarra - This is an untreated spicy sausage which is simply baked. Most often served with pa amb tomàquet or boiled beans.

Escudella - this is Catalan broth is made from meat, beans, potatoes and cabbage. Sometimes the dough is cooked in it.

Xai rostit amb 12 cabeçes d’all - it means lamb with 12 garlic heads.

Embotits - this is the common name for different types of sausages.


Esqueixada - basically a salad of peppers, tomatoes, onions, red wine vinegar and cod. The fish is dried in salt. Wash before cooking and serving.

Fideuá - paella from seafood, made from dough instead of rice (mentioned earlier).

Suquet de peix - it's like roasted fish, prepared with tomatoes, potatoes and garlic. There is no definition of the fish to be prepared. The raw material will change according to which fish you can buy in the market in the morning.


Romesco - as mentioned previously, a sauce made from tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic.

Allioli - the other favourite here, made from garlic and olive oil, which is mixed until they get whitish foam.


Crema Catalana - the dessert you find in every restaurant. This traditional candy can be compared to French brûlée.

Mel i mat - fresh cream cheese with honey, sometimes served with nuts.

Besides the traditional food, local markets are an integral part of the Catalan lifestyle, which serves to buy daily fresh ingredients.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.