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Best Spanish Food in Barcelona

Best Spanish Food in Barcelona: A Guide to the City’s Culinary Delights

by Christian Petzold - updated August 8, 2023

Do you love Spanish food? How many real Spanish dishes have you tried? And no, food from Spanish-style restaurants in other countries doesn’t count.

We’re talking about real Spanish food. The kind you’d find in the busy markets of Seville or the family kitchens in Catalonia.

Whether you’re a seasoned Spanish food lover or just starting to explore, we’ve got you covered. We’ve curated this list of the best Spanish food in Barcelona that will have you craving for more with every bite

Best Spanish Food in Barcelona.

1. Croquetas

Croquetas 2

In your quest for the best Spanish food in Barcelona, take advantage of the croqueta, a beloved tapas staple.

What’s inside these tasty bites? Well, the favorite filling is jamón or Spanish ham. But in Barcelona, every bar or restaurant has its unique take.

Here’s the basic recipe:

  • Star Ingredient: This could be ham, fish, cheese, veggies, or potatoes.
  • Béchamel Sauce: Gives the creamy inside.
  • White Bread & Egg: Helps everything stick together.
  • Onion & Spices: Adds a flavor boost.

These are mixed, shaped into small discs, and deep-fried to a golden brown.

Whether stuffed with ham or veggies, croquetas are a vital part of the best Spanish food in Barcelona. Trust us; they’re yummy!

2. Rabo de Toro

Rabo De Toro

Are you ready to try a dish that’s as full of history as its flavor? Meet ‘Rabo de Toro,’ a traditional Spanish stew made from a bull’s tail. Originally served after bullfights, it’s now a must-try dish in Spain.

Ask any local about stew; ‘ Rabo de Toro’ will likely be their first recommendation. This popular dish is a staple on the menus of many Spanish restaurants.

Here’s what goes into it:

  • Bull’s tail: The show’s star, cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
  • A medley of veggies and spices gives the stew its rich flavor and makes each bite a delight.

The bull’s tail is slow-cooked until it’s oh-so-tender. This Spanish dish isn’t just a meal; it’s a taste of Spanish history you can’t miss out on!

3. Pisto


This dish can be a tapa, appetizer, or even a main course when you add chorizo or a fried egg.

Here’s what you’ll find in it:

  • Lots of vegetables: Think tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant, and garlic.
  • A good splash of olive oil for added flavor.

Pisto is usually served warm, but you can customize it. Feel free to grill the veggies or add your favorite spices. Enjoy this flexible, tasty dish your way!

4. Paella

Paella 1 1

Paella is a well-known Spanish dish. It’s so famous that some people call it Spain’s national dish. The dish is made with rice, filled with lots of flavor.

Here are the main ingredients in a typical paella:

  • Rice: This is the main ingredient. It’s simmered and absorbs all the other flavors.
  • Vegetables: Usually, it includes white and green beans. However, the types of vegetables can change.
  • Meats: You might find chicken, rabbit, or both in your paella.
  • Seafood: Some paellas have fish, shrimp, mussels, and calamari instead of meat.
  • Arroz Negro: In some special versions, the rice is black. It gets its color and rich taste from octopus ink.

The ingredients can vary depending on where you order paella or how you like it. But no matter how it’s made, paella is always a colorful and tasty representation of traditional Spanish cuisine.

5. Carrillada


One dish that must be noticed when discussing the best Spanish food in Barcelona is Carrillada. It’s a comforting, melt-in-your-mouth dish that truly tastes Spanish tradition.

The ingredients of Carrillada are simple but full of flavor:

  • Meat: Carrillada uses beef cheek or pork cheek. This meat is slowly braised until it’s as tender as pot roast.
  • Sauces: The type of sauce depends on the meat used.
  • If you’re using pork cheek, you’ll typically find it paired with garlic, tomatoes, and port wine or white wine sauce. It’s also common to add onions and carrots for extra flavor.
  • On the other hand, beef cheek often goes with a sauce made from red wine, onions, and a mixture of mushroom sauce, wine, and tomatoes.

6. Gazpacho


Gazpacho is a Spanish dish you’ll want to try if you’re a fan of tomato soup. Forget about canned soup, Gazpacho takes it to a whole new level!

Here’s what goes into Gazpacho:

  • Tomatoes: Fresh Spanish tomatoes are the star, giving Gazpacho its bright, bold flavor.
  • Cucumbers: These add a refreshing crunch.
  • Green peppers: For a bit of bite and color.
  • Onions: These add depth to the flavor profile.
  • Vinegar & Garlic: These ingredients add tang and spice.
  • Herbs: For an extra layer of flavor.

This cold tomato soup is a delicious, mouthwatering example of traditional Spanish cuisine.

7. Salmorejo

Thought only one Spanish soup could steal the show? Think again. Meet Salmorejo, a close relative to the cold soup you might know, but with its own twist.

What sets Salmorejo apart? Let’s break it down:


  • Fresh Tomatoes: The base of the soup, providing a refreshing and tangy taste.
  • Bread: Used to give the soup a thicker, heartier texture.
  • Garlic: Adds a punch of flavor to the mix.
  • Vinegar: Lends a tangy edge to balance the flavor of other ingredients.

You can serve Salmorejo hot or cold, depending on your preference. And the finishing touch? A generous topping of jamon (Spanish ham) or hard-boiled egg bits sprinkled right on top. It’s a unique spin on Spanish soup that will excite your taste buds.

8. Jamón Ibérico

Jamon Iberico

Jamón Ibérico cured Iberian ham is a universal snack in Spain. It’s usually:

  • Sliced thinly: The ham is cut into thin slices, making it easy to snack.
  • Eaten alone or with cheese: Enjoy the ham or pair it with fine cheese at a local Spanish tapas bar.
  • Found hanging in stores: As you walk around Spain, you’ll often see Jamón Ibérico hanging from the ceilings of stores and bars.
  • Paired with local cheese: If you’re lucky enough to try this snack in Spain, grab some locally-made Spanish cheese.
  • Available online: If you’re not in Spain, you can still buy Jamón Ibérico online.
  • Perfect for tapas: It’s a hearty yet light snack for mid-day tapas.

Remember, Jamón Ibérico is not the same as Jamón Serrano. They’re both delicious, but they’re different.

9. Cochinillo


Cochinillo is a favorite Spanish dish, often found in Segovia. It’s a roast suckling pig popular for family gatherings and Christmas celebrations. The roasted pork is so tender that you don’t even need a knife.

Here are the main ingredients:

  • Suckling Pig: Smaller than typical pigs and very tender.
  • Vegetables: Depends on the recipe.
  • Spanish Olive Oil: Adds a fruity flavor.

You should ask a local butcher to find a suckling pig. For the best Cochinillo, try it in Spain!

10. Pulpo A La Gallega

Pulpo A La Gallega

If you’re looking for the best Spanish food in Barcelona, don’t skip pulpo a la gallega. This simple but flavorful dish includes the following:

  • Octopus: The central part of the dish.
  • Paprika: Adds a smoky taste.
  • Rock Salt: Brings out the flavors.
  • Olive Oil: Used for a smooth finish.

Despite its simplicity, pulpo a la gallega stands out in Spanish cuisine. It’s typically served as a seafood tapa in Barcelona. For an authentic taste, it’s cooked in a copper cauldron and served on a wooden platter.

11. Tortilla Española

Tortilla Espanola

Tortilla Española, also known as tortilla de patatas, is one of the best Spanish foods in Barcelona and a unique spin on the traditional omelette you can’t miss.

Curious about what sets it apart from your regular omelette?

Here’s what goes into this classic dish:

  • Eggs: As with any omelet, eggs form the base.
  • Potatoes: This is where the twist comes in. Potatoes are a key ingredient in a Tortilla Española.
  • Caramelized Onions: This sweet addition brings an extra layer of flavor.
  • Olive Oil: The omelet is fried in hot olive oil, adding a delicious richness.
  • Spanish Bread: It’s often served cold alongside crumbly Spanish bread for a complete meal.

This dish is not just for breakfast. It’s perfect for lunch and dinner too. It’s thicker than a traditional omelet and boasts a soft, sweet center. You can find this enticing dish in Barcelona in many restaurants and tapas bars. It’s a top contender when discussing Barcelona’s best Spanish food!

12. Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana 2

Crema Catalana is a delicious Spanish dessert worth trying if you’re a crème brulee fan. It’s a creamy custard dessert topped with a layer of hard caramel.

Here are the main ingredients you’ll find in Crema Catalana:

  • Milk and Cream: These create a rich and creamy base for the dessert.
  • Egg Yolks: They give the custard its smooth texture.
  • Sugar: This is used in the custard and also caramelized on top.
  • Vanilla: It adds a lovely flavor to the custard.
  • Orange Peel and Cinnamon: These are sprinkled on top for extra zest and warmth.

When you can try this Spanish dessert, don’t miss it. It’s a truly delightful treat.

13. Fabada Asturiana

Fabada Asturiana

Fabada Asturiana is a hearty Spanish stew, perfect for those chilly winter days. It’s a traditional dish from Asturia and is packed with flavor.

Here’s what’s typically inside:

  • White Beans: These are the main ingredient, giving the stew its rich, creamy texture.
  • Meat: You’ll usually find blood sausage, chorizo, or pork in this dish, adding flavor.
  • Similarity: If you’re trying to imagine the taste, consider it similar to black pudding.

This stew is an all-time favorite in Asturia and a must-try for lovers of Spanish cuisine.

14. Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas 2

“Patatas bravas,” also known as “brave potatoes,” is a treat you’ll love if you love spicy food or dips. But don’t worry if you can’t handle too much heat, this dish is still a delight.

This traditional Spanish dish is simple but delicious. It’s made of peeled and cubed potatoes that come with a side of spicy red sauce.

Here are the core components:

  • Potatoes: Peeled, cubed, and perfectly cooked. They’re tasty on their own.
  • Spicy Red Sauce: The ingredients of this sauce can vary. Some places might make it spicier than others.

15. Chorizo


Chorizo is a favorite in Spain. One bite, and you’ll know why. It’s a key part of Spanish food!

You can add this tasty Spanish sausage to just about any dish. It also pairs well with Spanish cheese or Rioja wine.

You’ll often find it in traditional Spanish dishes like Chorizo a la Sidra and Chorizo al Vino.

This smoked sausage is dry-cured, so you can eat it straight away, no matter the time of day.

Don’t just take our word for it. 50 million Spaniards can’t be wrong!

Here are the main ingredients in Chorizo:

  • Pork: The primary ingredient, finely chopped.
  • Paprika: Gives the sausage its signature flavor and color.
  • Garlic: Adds a savory note.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor.

Remember, depending on the region, the ingredients can vary slightly, adding a unique twist to each version of chorizo.

16. Bacalao


Bacalao, or salted cod, is a popular ingredient in Spanish cuisine.

It can be enjoyed in various forms:

  • Stuffed in croquetas, grilled, or fried
  • Pimientos Piquillos Relleno de Bacalao: Spanish piquillo peppers filled with bacalao

The salting technique initially used for preservation, now enhances the taste. Pair it with Spanish paprika, tomato sauce, or vegetable with wine sauce for a delightful flavor combination. Bacalao is a must-try that will make you fall in love with Spanish cuisine.

17. Pan Tumaca

Pan Tumaca

If you’re a fan of the Italian classic, bruschetta, get ready to fall head over heels for pan tumaca, a delightful Spanish dish that’s equally satisfying. With its straightforward recipe and minimal ingredients, pan tumaca proves that sometimes less is more when it comes to flavor.

Here’s what you’ll find in this appetizing snack or quick breakfast bite:

  • Bread: A crusty slice of bread forms the foundation of pan tumaca.
  • Salt: A sprinkle of salt adds a savory touch to enhance the flavors.
  • Tomato: Ripe, juicy tomatoes are the star ingredient, providing freshness.
  • Olive Oil: A drizzle of high-quality olive oil adds richness and a smooth finish.

With just these simple ingredients, pan tumaca captures the essence of Spanish cuisine. It may resemble bruschetta with its combination of bread, tomato, and olive oil, but don’t be fooled – its flavors are uniquely delightful.

18. Leche Frita

Leche Frita

When seeking the best Spanish food in Barcelona, don’t miss out on the delectable delight of leche frita. This traditional Spanish dessert, fried milk, is a must-try treat that will leave you craving more.


  • Milk: The star ingredient, creating a creamy and rich pudding.
  • Flour and Egg: Used to form the crispy coating that encases the milk pudding.
  • Cinnamon and Powdered Sugar: Sprinkled on top, adding a delightful touch of flavor.

Leche frita captures the essence of Spanish culinary delights. With its creamy interior and crispy exterior, this dessert perfectly balances textures and flavors.

Find out more about Barcelona with these guides: Best Affordable Restaurants, Top Fine Dining, Best Street Food

Author’s Note

Barcelona is a food lover’s dream about experiencing the best Spanish cuisine. From crispy croquetas to savory paella, there’s a dish for every palate.

Indulge in the aromatic flavors of Rabo de Toro stew, or refresh your taste buds with a bowl of gazpacho. Don’t forget to savor the renowned Jamón Ibérico and delight in the classic Tortilla Española.

As you explore Barcelona’s streets, you’ll encounter Patatas Bravas, Chorizo, Bacalao, and more, each offering a unique and delicious taste of Spanish gastronomy.

Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure and discover the true essence of Spanish food in Barcelona. Buen provecho!

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