Top 8 Must-Eat Foods In Barcelona You Must Try At Least Once

Everyone knows that Spain is a dream destination for foodies, but not everyone realises just how varied the cuisine is from region to region.

The good news is that if you’re planning a trip to Barcelona – the capital city of the Catalan community – there are all sorts of local must-eat foods to delve into, many of which date back to hundreds if not thousands of years.

Here are a few dishes that you simply can’t miss during your time in Barcelona.


Foodie's Guide To Christmas In Barcelona paella

No foodie trip to Spain would be complete without a paella feast! This iconic rice and seafood dish actually originates from Valencia and was originally made with beans and meat instead of fish a shellfish.

Today, in every corner of Spain, paella is reserved for important celebrations and family occasions.

Where to eat it: There’s absolutely no question the best paella is always homemade paella. It takes a very long time to cook, so it’s difficult for restaurants to make fresh. Only 5 minutes walk from Gaudí’s iconic landmark Park Güell, talented home-chefs Bego and Iván offers Barcelona’s best paella in town using a traditional recipe from Alacant.

You can watch their whole cooking process while you enjoy an ecological white wine, from El Pla de Manlleu or rosé wine from Penedès A.O., a region famous for its excellent wines and cavas.


Top 8 Must-Eat Dishes In Barcelona bombas

During the dark days of the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona was fraught with danger. Anarchists and revolutionaries roamed the then slummy streets of Barceloneta (now the city’s glitzy seafront neighbourhood), hurling handmade grenades in their fight against General Franco’s Fascists.

These tiny grenades turned out to be extremely effective, and inspired a local (and highly imaginative) chef to create what is now one of Barcelona’s most iconic tapas dishes, “la bomba” (or the bomb).

It’s basically a tennis ball-sized potato croquette served with two different sauces: a white garlic allioli that represents the string fuse that the anarchists would light before launching their grenades, and a rich and spicy red sauce that represents the bombs’ explosive qualities.

Not only are bombas delicious, but they are quite literally an edible piece of Catalan history, a must for all foodies in Barcelona!

Where to eat it: There are lots of good places to eat “bombas” in Barcelona, but it’s rumoured that they were invented at La Cova Fumada, a crumbling old hole-in-the wall type of place in the heart of Barceloneta.

HIGHLIGHT: In case you’re interested in learning to cook a complete Barcelona meal, you should check out home-chef Núria’s widely popular Half-day Catalan Home Cooking Classes.

Her classes take place at her home in the heart of Barcelona and she offers 3 classes, each with a different theme. Each class consists of a main dish, 2 fresh market tapas, and a dessert.

Calçots and romesco sauce

Top 8 Must-Eat Dishes In Barcelona calcots

The calçot is a type of green onion that is native to the region of Catalonia. They come into season at the end of winter and the locals celebrate their arrival with wild street barbecues. These sweet onions (and all sorts of meats) are grilled to enjoy with homemade romesco sauce, a traditional Catalan salsa made with hazelnuts, almonds, and red peppers. It really is the ultimate foodie fiesta!

Where to eat it: The biggest “calçotada” parties happen out in the countryside, where rural communities get first pickings, but you will find plenty of street parties throughout Barcelona. You can also enjoy this rustic ritual at restaurants Quinabarra and L’Antic Forn in the city centre.

Highlight: No trip to Barcelona is complete without touching fresh calçot in the famous Boqueria market. Angels & Carmen, Foodie Sisters as the world calls them, offer Boqueria Market Tour & Best Spanish Cooking Class in Barcelona.


esqueixada Top 8 Must-Eat Dishes In Barcelona

Probably the most authentic Catalan salad you can eat, this light and rustic feast is made with “bacalao” (or raw salted cod) and served with romesco sauce, tomatoes, onions, and black olives. It’s fresh and zesty, perfect with a glass of sparkling Catalan Cava!

Where to eat it: The old-world restaurant La Vinateria del Call (which is said to be the oldest wine bar in Barcelona) is the perfect place to discover this good old fashioned local dish.

Pa amb Tomàquet

top 8 Must-Eat Dishes In Barcelona

It’s true what they say: “The simple things are always the best.” And it’s especially true in this case. Translated literally as “bread with tomato,” this is an essential dish that can be enjoyed as an accompaniment with every meal from breakfast to lunch and dinner.

It’s basically bread-rubbed with garlic and the juice of a tomato and seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Some places even serve the ingredients separately so you can make it yourself.

Stack it with cheese and/or slices of meat, and you’ll find yourself in foodie heaven in no time.

Where to eat it: Everywhere and anywhere that you eat tapas! If you go to a restaurant and they don’t have it, you’re not in a good restaurant.


escalivada top 8 Must-Eat Dishes In Barcelona

Like so many of Spain’s iconic dishes, escalivada is all about showcasing the quality of each ingredient. It’s made simply by grilling eggplant and red peppers over an open wood fire and serving them on toasted bread with lashings of quality olive oil, garlic, salt – and if you’re lucky, anchovies.

It’s simple, but spectacularly delicious.

Where to eat it: Pop into Sésamo in the ever trendy Sant Antoni neighbourhood and you’ll soon understand why the locals love this ancient dish so much.


mato top 8 Must-Eat Dishes In Barcelona

France may be the most famous country in Europe when it comes to cheese, but with its quantity, quality and diversity, there’s no denying that Spain is a close contender. And in Barcelona, or anywhere else in Catalonia for that matter, the one cheese you simply must try is mató.

Soft, sweet, and spreadable (a lot like ricotta), the Catalans eat this unsalted goats cheese with honey and walnuts – the perfect regional dessert!

Where to eat it: Anywhere that offers it is good, but for a taste tour of Catalonia’s finest cheeses, pop into the Formatgeria la Seu and speak to Katherine, a Scottish lady with an immense knowledge of Catalonia’s many options.

Crema Catalana

crema catalana mato top 8 Must-Eat Dishes In Barcelona

Last but not least, crema Catalana! Made with a creamy vanilla custard and blow torched until it forms a glassy crust, you may well recognise this as “creme brûlée.”

In fact, it’s basically the same thing – the Catalans will tell you they created first, the French argue that they did. Either way, once you crack open the crunchy top layer with your spoon, you’re sure to fall in love!

Where to eat it: All Spanish/Catalan restaurants will offer it as a standard dish, but at Pastisseria Escribà they serve it over waffles to make it doubly decadent!



You can always try delicious tapas and seafood paella with a professional Spanish chef, attend a Spanish cooking class together with a Boqueria market tour, or have Paella over lunch.

A Foodie’s Guide To Christmas In Barcelona

A Foodie’s Guide To Christmas In Barcelona

The Catalan capital is world-famous for its sensational gastronomy. The good news for food-focused travellers visiting during the festive season is that there’s even more to get excited about.

From local specialities that you can only find in Catalonia, to must-eat Spanish Christmas nibbles, here’s what and where you simply need to eat during your time in Barcelona!

[irp posts=”922″ name=”5 Traditional Spanish Foods You’re Probably Pronouncing Wrongly”]


A Foodie's Guide To Christmas In Barcelona turron

You know Christmas is on its way when the Spanish supermarkets start stocking turrón – or torró as the Catalans call it. Made with a sweet nougat from toasted almonds, there are two types of this delicious Spanish treat: hard and crunchy, or soft and chewy.

Try the original version with whole almonds, or try seasonal specials such as marzipan nougat with cinnamon and lemon zest.

Where to eat it: There are lots of fantastic Turrón shops in Barcelona, but my favourite is Sirvent, where they’ve been perfecting their recipes since 1920! They also do great ice-creams!


A Foodie’s Guide To Christmas In Barcelona embotits

Image credit: Flickr

The Catalans are famous throughout Spain for their quality cured meats and sausages, or “embotits” as they call them. And whether it’s “fuet” (Catalan salami), Iberian jamón (A-grade Spanish ham), or spicy chorizo, Christmas is the perfect excuse to sample as much as possible.

Where to eat it: You won’t have to go far to find these meaty treats, but for a selection of extra-special Christmas products be sure to visit the La Botifarreria de Santa Maria.

Escudella i Carn d’Olla

escudella-i-carn-dolla Foodie's Guide To Christmas In Barcelona

Probably the most Catalan Christmas dish of all, this hearty meat and vegetable stew is typically enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Cooked slowly, the broth is rich and delicious, so the Catalans add giant pieces of pasta that look like snail shells called “galets” to absorb and savour the flavour.

Where to eat it: Ask any Barcelona resident who makes the best escudella i carn d’olla and they’ll tell you their grandmother’s name, but you can also enjoy and authentic version at Casa Julia.


Foodie's Guide To Christmas In Barcelona paella

When you think of traditional Spanish cuisine the first thing that normally springs to mind is paella. But what many people don’t realise is that the Spanish only eat paella for special occasions, and Christmas is one of those occasions!

Cooked slowly and spiked with saffron, the rice is mixed with fish, meat and/or shellfish and absorbs the rich flavours – it’s a real treat! Another top tip: the Spanish only eat paella for lunch (not dinner) because they believe it’s too heavy to eat before jumping into bed.

Where to eat it: The locals will tell you that the best paella is a home-cooked paella. Luckily for travellers in Barcelona, you can enjoy an authentic home-cooked paella at BonAppetour host Teresa’s home!


Foodie's Guide To Christmas In Barcelona canelons

Another classic Catalan Christmas tradition, these chunky meat-stuffed pasta tubes are topped with a creamy layer of rich béchamel sauce – very similar to how the French and Italian eat them. A must-eat if you’re in Barcelona during the festive season!

Where to eat it: Pop into Bar del Pla for an authentic taste and wash them down with a  glass or two of local wine.


Foodie's Guide To Christmas In Barcelona cava

Whilst we’re on the topic of wine, Spain is paradise for wine lovers. The region of Catalonia is especially delicious, with a staggering 10 official DOs (Denominació d’Origen), which are regions classified for their finest producers. And though the locals see Christmas as an excellent opportunity to have a jolly good time and drink both red and white wine by the gallon, the star of the season is unquestionably Catalan Cava.

Now, even some of the most dedicated wine lovers have the misconception that Cava is a poor man’s Champagne. But in fact, it’s actually the exact same product made in the exact same way – it’s just that there are laws which state only sparkling wine from the Champagne wine region in France can be labelled as Champagne.

And because Barcelona is only an hour or so away form the Penedès wine region, which produces a staggering 95% of the world’s Cava, you can drink the very best of it at dangerously low prices.

Where to drink it: Everywhere and anywhere that sells wine!

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate

Foodie's Guide To Christmas In Barcelona chocolate amatlier

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without chocolate, and in Barcelona there are tons of great options to choose from.

Where to eat it: Visit the one of the Farga cafes or shops for a taste of locally-made heaven, or combine chocolate with the city’s iconic Modernist architecture at Casa Amatller, which is a mansion that was home to the wealthy chocolate-making Amatlier family.

Staying in Barcelona till New Year’s Eve (or after)?

Spain is famous for their quirky New Year’s Eve ritual.

Here’s how it goes: at the strike of midnight, everyone eats twelve grapes (in one go!).

It’s believed that if you manage to squeeze the twelve grapes into your mouth, you will have good luck for the rest of the year. Throw in a toast with a glass of Cava to start the new year in style!

Also, you can join in the celebration of Three Kings Days (Epiphany), which is celebrated on the 6th of January in Spain, and is even bigger than Christmas.

Foodie's Guide To Christmas In Barcelona roscon

A special dish called Roscón de Reyes (Kings’ Wreath) is typically eaten to celebrate. It’s a type of milky brioche cake topped with medallions of colourful candied fruits, and piped with marzipan and cream, like edible crowns.

Where to eat it: Grandma probably makes them best, but you can get a special one at Escribà, Barcelona’s most iconic bakery. Christian Escribà says he sells over 3,000 roscóns a day during Christmas!

5 Traditional Spanish Foods You're Probably Pronouncing Wrongly

5 Traditional Spanish Foods You’re Probably Pronouncing Wrongly

Did you know that there are more people who speak Spanish as their first language than English? In fact, Spanish ranks number two globally with 400 million native speakers (as compared to 360 million English native speakers).

You would think that, coupled with the fact that Spanish food is so popular worldwide, we’d know how to pronounce traditional Spanish dishes properly. However, most people still call what is probably the most well-known Spanish food of all time pah-eh-la. 

That’s paella, by the way. And it’s actually pronounced pa-eh-ya:

Avoid embarrassment when ordering food in Spanish – here are 5 more commonly mispronounced Spanish foods that you should start memorizing, pronto.


1. Tortilla española

5 Traditional Spanish Foods You're Probably Pronouncing Wrongly

Eggs, potatoes, and onions. It sounds just like a typical omelette, but the tortilla española is actually the national dish of Spain.

The story goes that it was invented when a Spanish military officer, General Thomas Zumalacárregui, stopped by a peasant’s house dying of hunger during a war. The woman only had eggs, onions, and potatoes, but threw them together anyway. Thankfully, the general enjoyed it immensely, and popularized it thereafter.

How to pronounce it: tor-ti-ya ess-pan-yo-la

2. Salmorejo

5 Traditional Spanish Foods You're Probably Pronouncing Wrongly

A cold soup, salmorejo is the lesser well-known cousin of the famous gazpacho. Both, however, are locally recognized as traditional Spanish dishes.

Made with tomatoes, bread, oil, garlic, and vinegar, salmorejo is typically thicker and creamier than gazpacho. The likelihood of pronouncing it is also seems to be far higher.

How to pronounce it: sal-mo-reh-ho

3. Gambas al ajillo

5 Traditional Spanish Foods You're Probably Pronouncing Wrongly

This garlic shrimp dish is a classic Spanish tapa – an appetizer or snack – that can be found in bars all over Spain. It is just as the name describes: fresh shrimp sauteed in lots and lots of glorious olive oil and garlic. Yummy.

How to pronounce it: gahm-bus-al-ah-hee-oh

4. Cochinillo asado

5 Traditional Spanish Foods You're Probably Pronouncing Wrongly

Cochinillo asado – or roast suckling pig – is a treat typically reserved for special occasions. What’s special about it is that the pigs are usually just 4 to 5 weeks, and weigh less than 10 pounds. Because of this, its meat is especially tender and delicious.

How to pronounce it: co-chi-ni-yo ah-sah-doh

5. Croquette

5 Traditional Spanish Foods You're Probably Pronouncing Wrongly

Another dish that can be found in almost any Spanish restaurant or bar, the croqueta is a breadcrumbed roll that contains just about any ingredient possible, from jamon serrano (Spanish dry-cured ham) to gambas (shrimp). Though it is incredibly popular in Spain, it actually originates from France, though the locals have certainly taken it to another level.

How to pronounce it: kroh-keht


You don’t even need to travel across Spain to try all these dishes – they are all within reach in Barcelona. Specifically, in the houses of our talented local home chefs. Check them out here.

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