Barcelona Food Guide: What To Eat, Where To Go

Bryony

Updated on Jan 26 • 7 minute read

Spain is home to a myriad of delicious traditional foods, sweets, and unique dishes. While each region of Spain has a unique cuisine, Barcelona is the ultimate destination. Not only is Barcelona one of Spain’s best cities to live in but also one of the best Spanish cities for food.

As you walk through the streets of Barcelona, you’ll get to explore the unique and tasteful Catalan cuisine. And if you’re a foodie, your taste buds will thank you for the drool-worthy and lip-smacking tastes they’re about to discover.

With thousands of eateries spread across the streets of Barcelona, it’s nearly impossible to judge the absolute best. So to help you narrow it down, we’re sharing some of the local approved restaurants in Barcelona where you can devour local Catalan dishes.

Watch out for tourist traps

Every year Barcelona welcomes millions of visitors and not surprisingly, there’re plenty of tourist traps scattered around. To get a real feel and taste of Catalan food, prioritise going to these top places where you can eat authentic local food in Barcelona.

How much does eating out cost in Barcelona?

Meal costs in Barcelona are on the cheap side as the cost of living in is relatively low when it comes to food and entertainment.

ItemAverage cost
Fast food combo meal€7.80
Inexpensive meal (Menu del dia)€11
3-course meal for 2€40
Coffee€1.64
Soft drink€1.75
Local beer (0.5l)€2.50
Imported beer (0.33l)€3

What is Barcelona’s famous food?

As Barcelona is nestled in Catalonia, it’s got quite a different gastronomical taste than the rest of Spain. Locals insist that you can’t leave Barcelona without trying these top 15 Catalonian dishes:

  1. Fideuà- Fideuà is paella but with noodles. Unlike the original paella from Valencia, a fideuà has lots of seafood and shellfish as Barcelona is close to the coast.

  2. Pa amb Tomàquet- Grilled bread brushed with garlic, topped with tomato relish and seasoned with pepper, salt, and olive oil. Perfect for any mealtime.

  3. Esqueixada- This light, refreshing, ceviche style Catalan salad is made with raw salted cod (bacalao), tomatoes, onions, romesco sauce and black olives.

  4. Escalivada- Escalivada is made of grilled eggplant, red peppers, garlic, salt and olive oil. Optionally, anchovies or sardines can be added. It’s perfect as a tapa or as a topping on another dish.

  5. Suquet de Peix- This traditional Catalan potato-based fish stew used to be made with fresh fish that was unsold at the market. Today, you can even find bell-pepper powder, saffron, and picada, a special Catalan sauce to give this hearty dish a touch of elegance.

  6. Escudella d’Olla- Also known as Sopa de Galets is a popular Christmas dinner dish in Catalonia. It’s a 2-part dish. The first is a hearty broth made of various types of meat. The broth or soup is served with snail-shaped pasta (Escudella). The second or main dish (d’Olla) is a platter of meats, vegetables and chickpeas.

  7. Arròs Negre- Here’s an eye-catching dish. Squid ink is used to flavour and colour the rice black. This black rice is then served with squid and aioli.

  8. Mandonguilles amb Sípia- A unique dish that combines stewed meatballs with cuttlefish. In fact, since Catalnonian’s love combining ingredients this combination of meat and seafood is officially called mar i muntanya (sea and mountain).

  9. Botifarra amb Mongetes- white beans or haricot beans served with sausage (botifarra). Traditionally a hearty farmers dish that is perfect for lunch.

  10. Cargols a la lluna- Cargols (snails) are a delicacy in this part of Spain and they’re often cooked in an oven on a tin tray with sauces or vinaigrette.

  11. Canelons- Canneloni stuffed with stewed meat is traditional in Barcelona. It’s primarily served during Christmas when leftover meat from Christmas dinner is wrapped in cannelloni and topped with bechamel sauce.

  12. Espinacs amb pansies i pinyons- This Catalan dish combines savoury with sweetness brilliantly. Spinach is fried in olive oil with raisins and toasted pine nuts.

Top street foods in Barcelona

Some of the best street food to enjoy in Barcelona include-

  1. Empanada- a deep-fried doughy pastry that envelopes different sorts of fillings like meat, cheese, onions, etc.

  2. Bombas- A crunchy round snack that is filled with potato and meat and topped with garlic aioli and a spicy red sauce.

  3. Tortillas- A Spanish tortilla is an omelette with potatoes. Sometimes they’re also cooked with onions, garlic, pepper, etc.

  4. Calçots- This long-stemmed green onion from Catalonia is in season from January to March. It’s grilled on an open fire and topped with romesco sauce, which is made up of red peppers, hazelnuts and almonds. You might want to use the bib and gloves as it can be messy to eat!

  5. Croquetas- A deep-fried tapa dish that is filled with meat and bechamel sauce or potatoes. Crunchy and delicious!

  6. Entrepà- Sandwiches in Catalan are called entrepà or bocadillos in Spanish. This baguette like bread can be stuffed with meat, cheese, fish, egg, or even something sweet.

  7. Bikini sandwich- This Catalan street food is called a Bikini sandwich because street vendors have been selling these ham-cheese sandwiches in front of Barcelona’s Bikini Club for years. In other parts of Spain, this sandwich is called mixto.

Traditional desserts in Barcelona

Aside from the super-popular churros, here’re 6 local desserts that we recommend you try in Barcelona:

  1. Mató- A creamy, sweet cheese that is often topped with walnuts and honey. It’s healthy and delicious!

  2. Crema Catalana- Similar to creme brûlée, this vanilla custard is torched until it creates a light crust. Its uniqueness lies in its citrusy and cinnamony taste.

  3. Leche Frita- Although the literal translation is fried milk, this custard-like dough is deep-fried and dusted with sugar to make for a perfect dessert.

  4. Pastisset- Filled with almonds, these little cakes are a must-try!

  5. Menjar Blanc- This almond milk pudding with a hint of lemon and cinnamon is perfect for vegans too. The recipe for this dish dates back to the oldest Catalan cookbook!

  6. Xuxo- This Catalan doughnut is stuffed with pastry cream and sprinkled with dusty sugar.

Where to eat in Barcelona?

Now, if you’re ready to check out some of the best local dishes, you’ll want to try them at one of the 16 eateries below:

1. Bar del Pla

Located in El Born district, this popular joint offers comfort food that tastes delicious. They add an international touch to their Catalan flavours and also offer great Catalan wines for you to try.

2. La Cova Fumada

Although easy to miss, this one is worth the trouble of finding it. This is a family-run restaurant that's been serving authentic tapas dishes since 1944!

3. Louro

Louro is a Galician restaurant located in the El Raval district. It's located in a beautiful building and is frequented by locals, has delicious food, great service, and a nice atmosphere.

4. Bodega Joan

Located in Eixample, Bodega Joan is value for money. It's known for its friendly staff, tasty paella, charcuterie platters, and other Catalan dishes.

5. El Nacional

A paradise-like up-scale food court is the best way to describe El Nacional. You can taste your way through the 4 bars and 4 culinary sections.

6. La Paradeta

Won't you love to choose fresh fish and have it cooked in front of you in a style you like? Well, that's possible at any of La Paradeta's locations. Simply pick fresh seafood in this market-style seafood joint, grab a drink, and enjoy!

7. Jai-Ca

A good staff, cheap but big tapas portions, and a buzzing atmoshphere await you at the popular Jai-Ca in Barceloneta.

8. Can Paixano

Located in buzzing Barceloneta, Can Paixano is the place to be! It's one of those places that is famous for being cheap, but in a good way. Locals recommend hitting this place up for a drink and pairing it up with croquetas, cheese platter, or a botifarra sausage.

9. La Bombeta

This place is quirky, authentic, and loved by locals. They serve up traditional Catalan food and are known for their bombas. They've no wifi, accept no credit cards, and encourage people to enjoy the moment.

10. Xiringuito Escribà

It's located in Poble Nou and offers an excellent seaside view. The higher prices here speak for the quality and if you want to splurge on seafood, this is the place to do that.

11. Quimet I Quimet

This family run restaurant might be a hole in the wall, but oh so worth it! They're known for their quirky interior decorated with bottles from around the world and the yummy montaditos – tiny sandwiches made in front of you.

12. Can Margarit

Here you'll get served up with a free glass of cava as you enter. They offer authentic, traditional, and rustic Catalan and Andalusian food. Their rabbit stew (jumillana) is highly recommended.

13. Los Toreros

This is located in an unpretentious spot in a space with bull-fighting relics and mementoes. Serving a menu filled with tapas and thoughtful wine pairings, you can easily eat here on a budget!

14. La Dolca Herminia

Tucked away in an old theatre with vaulted ceilings and crisp white tablecloths, this staple eatery is offering a wide variety of specialities. They also boast a set menu that includes a drink, allowing you to sample several Catalan dishes at a more economical price.

15. Cerveceria Catalana

If you’ve been yearning for freshly squeezed orange juice and the tastiest breakfast tapas in the city, then you’ve landed in the right place. The atmosphere is fun and hip, making this a great brunch spot.

16. La Boqueria

La Boqueria is the biggest and highly popular food market in the city. It dates back to 1217 and continues to attract locals and tourists alike. Of the many bars and restaurants found here, try out El Pinotxo Bar. It’s constantly noted as Barcelona’s best low-key tapas bar where you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of bustling counter service and piping hot food.

Fine Dining – A Dinner to Remember

When considering a fine-dining experience, keep in mind that Barcelona is a very large city, along with a number of tourists to add to the crowds. So, if you are planning to dine at a popular upscale restaurant, it’s always best to make reservations well in advance.

Estimar

Owned by the famed Gotanegra family of Barcelona, this upmarket seafood restaurant is the ideal spot to enjoy a meal that’s delightful and classy. With a lovely wine list to accompany the heralded dishes, there’s also a location in Madrid.

ABaC

Serving modern Catalan dishes, this intimate restaurant is only open to 56 diners at a time. Beyond the food, guests love the upscale design and the relaxed ambience, making it an excellent choice for date night or a delicious meal in an upscale environment.

Getting to these eateries

No matter in which Barcelona neighbourhood you’re in, getting to any of these eateries is easy. Barcelona has a reliable public transport system that’s also relatively cheap. So hop on and get exploring!

If you want to explore all these eateries by restaurant hopping, we recommend having activities in between eating. Why not hit up the art museums and galleries in the day and the nightclubs in the night? With so much to do, it’s going to be a day to remember!

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