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Barcelona is a culinary adventurer’s dream destination. Catalan cuisine has an abundance of delectable treats to offer for the foodie in all of us. Plus Barcelona is the heart of culinary innovation, not only in Catalonia but in all of Spain. This is a city that is meant for you to stretch your waistline just a bit! If Barcelona is in your future travel plans here are the 7 Catalan dishes you must try in Barcelona and where to find them!
Top 7 Catalan Dishes You Must Try in Barcelona
Fidueà is Barcelona’s equivalent to paella. The preparation is similar to paella but instead of rice, it’s prepared with fideus, a short thin Catalan pasta. Also, this dish is prepared exclusively with seafood. Don’t waste your time with bad tourist versions of paella on la Rambla and instead enjoy this tasty blend of Catalan and Valencian culture.
Stop on by Cal Pep to try fidueà, as in my opinion, they have the best in the city! Be prepared to wait in a line, though, as this is a very popular place with the locals as it specializes in traditional Catalan cuisine!
Plaça de les Olles, 8
1 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Mondays; closed Sundays
Esqueixada is the quintessential Catalan salad and is made with salt cod. Did I forget to mention that the Catalonians love salt cod? Well, they do!
The preparation is quite simple. Salt cod is shredded and then mixed with tomatoes, onions, olive oil, and salt. Occasionally bell peppers and olives are added which is how I prefer it. It is a refreshing dish for a warm summer evening!
You will have no issue with finding this Catalan dish on a menu in Barcelona. My favorite spot to enjoy this beautiful dish is La Bodega d’en Rafel in Sant Antoni.
Botifarra amb Mongetes
Botifarra amb mongetes is Catalan comfort food. Traditionally this is a peasant dish from the countryside of Catalonia. There are no frills to it but just delicious ingredients meant to fill you up.
The beauty of this dish is in its simplicity. The dish consists of botifarra sausage, a traditional uncured white sausage, and white beans that are cooked with garlic and parsley.
Many traditional restaurants and bodegas in Barcelona will serve this dish however if you want a taste of classic Catalonia then Cal Boter in the Gràcia neighborhood is the place to go!
Carrer de Tordera, 62
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday;
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday;
12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday
Bacallà a la Llauna
Bacallà a la llauna is salt cod baked in a tin. The cod is cut into the steaks and then prepared with olive oil, white wine, tomato, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then the cod is baked in a tin (traditionally) or a small baking dish. This is definitely one of the more old school Catalan dishes you must try in Barcelona.
Head over to the Sant Antoni neighborhood and grab a table at La Bodega d’en Rafel, a locals’ favorite and old school dive bodega. Their bacallå a la llauna is delicious and perfect when washed down with some crisp white wine.
La Bodega d’en Rafel
Carrer de Manso, 52
7:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday
La Bomba or “the bomb” is the symbol of Barcelona’s anarchist spirit. The dish is prepared to look like a bomb in honor of the anarchists from the Spanish Civil War.
(If you really want to get into the history of La Bomba and other Catalan dishes you must try then you need to check out our book Eat Local in Barcelona: A Guide to Catalan Cuisine!)
The La Bomba is a round croquette of fried mashed potato, stuffed with ground beef. An allioli is then spread over the top to look like a fuse while a spicy bravas sauce of garlic, tomatoes, chilli peppers and paprika become the sparks at the end of the fuse.
La bomba is a perfect snack with a beer at a classic bodega. You can try them all over the city. These are my two favorite places: La Cova Fumada, in Barceloneta, where the la bomba was invented or, my favorite of the two, La Bombeta located a few streets away in the same neighborhood.
Calle de la Maquinista, 3
10 a.m. – midnight daily
La Cova Fumada
Carrer del Baluart, 56
Open 9 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday;
6 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Thursday and Friday;
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
Calçots are simply large green onions grown only in Catalonia and are available in late winter through early spring. The locals love calçots so much that they throw huge parties called la calçotada to celebrate the calçot season. If you visit Barcelona in the winter or early spring calçots have to be on your list of Catalan dishes you must try if simply for the experience!
The calçots are roasted on a grill over grapevines, then wrapped in newspaper and allowed to steam. Once they are unwrapped, the calçots are dipped into a romesco sauce. Once properly sauced the sweet insides are sucked out!
Calçots can be found in restaurants however, the best way to experience them is by going to a la calçotada. Here you can consume copious amounts of wine, grilled meats like sausage, and of course the main star calçots!
You can find a calçotada with a quick google or facebook search online as many of the neighborhoods in Barcelona host their own. Or you can try them at Ciutat Comtal in Eixample if you can’t attend la calçotada.
Rambla de Catalunya, 18
8 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. Monday through Friday;
9 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
Mel i Matò
Mel i Matò is the perfect way to end a great meal in Barcelona. The main ingredient is the Catalan cheese matò which is similar in texture to ricotta. The matò is unsalted and has a creamy, mildly sour flavor similar to greek yogurt. It is served in a glass and topped with honey and nuts, usually walnuts.
Mel i matò can be found through Barcelona but to me, the best restaurant to enjoy this delectable dessert is Casa Lolea in El Born.
Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 49
9 a.m. – 1 a.m. daily
Barcelona is a beautiful city that has something for every traveler especially when it comes to food. The cuisine is unique, beautiful, complex, and yet simple. These traditional dishes are just the tip of the iceberg of what Barcelona has to offer. That being said, these are a good jumping off point to understanding the cuisine of Catalonia and Barcelona and these are the Catalan dishes you must try in Barcelona.
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