What to Eat in Barcelona: A Quick Guide to Must-Try Dishes

Christian Petzold

Published June 20, 2023
What to Eat in Barcelona

Barcelona offers a culinary adventure like no other. From traditional Catalan cuisine to mouthwatering seafood and delectable sweets, the city is a food lover’s paradise.

Get ready to indulge in the flavors of Barcelona and discover the must-try dishes that make this city a gastronomic destination. Let’s explore the diverse and delicious food scene that awaits you in Barcelona.

Traditional Catalan Cuisine

History and Influence of Catalan Cuisine

Catalan cuisine has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Influences from the Mediterranean region have shaped the culinary culture in Barcelona. Fresh, local ingredients play a significant role in Catalan cooking, strongly focusing on seafood, vegetables, and meats. When deciding what to eat in Barcelona, it’s essential to sample some traditional Catalan dishes to appreciate the region’s flavors and culinary techniques truly.

Dishes to Try

Here are a few must-try dishes while visiting Barcelona:

1. Esqueixada de Bacallà: A delicious summer dish made with shredded salted cod, tomatoes, red peppers, onions, black olives, and olive oil. A refreshing and flavorful choice, you can find the dish in typical Catalan restaurants.

Esqueixada De Bacalla

2. Canelons: A popular Catalan dish consisting of pasta tubes filled with ground meat, béchamel sauce, and grated cheese. This dish is typically served during holiday celebrations and special occasions.


3. Fideuà: A close cousin of paella, this seafood dish is made with short pasta noodles instead of rice. Cooked with seafood, such as fish, squid, and prawns, this dish is enhanced with saffron and garlic. A genuinely unique Catalan specialty!


4. Botifarra amb mongetes: A classic combination of sausages and white beans, this dish is a staple in Barcelona. The sausages are usually grilled, while the beans are seasoned with garlic and parsley.

Botifarra Amb Mongetes

5. Crema Catalana: To satisfy your sweet tooth, try this popular Catalan dessert made of a smooth custard topped by a thin caramelized sugar shell. It is similar to crème brûlée but with a touch of lemon zest and cinnamon that gives it an authentic twist.

Crema Catalana 1 1

While in Barcelona, immerse yourself in the rich culinary heritage of the Catalan region. Try these delectable dishes and experience the flavors that make this cuisine an integral part of what to eat in Barcelona.

Seafood Delights in Barcelona

Barcelona’s Rich Seafood Tradition

With its prime position on the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona is renowned for its fantastic seafood scene. As you explore what to eat in Barcelona, you’ll quickly discover that the city’s culinary heritage is deeply tied to the bounty of fresh seafood from the surrounding waters. While strolling through the bustling markets and charming tapas bars, immerse yourself in the rich flavors and traditional dishes that make Barcelona’s seafood offerings exceptional.

Must-Try Dishes

1. Fideuà: A traditional noodle dish resembling paella, fideuà is made with short, thin noodles and various seafood, such as shrimp, calamari, and clams. This dish is unique to the Catalonia region, and you can enjoy an authentic version at La Mar Salada.

2. Grilled Fish and Seafood Platters: To enjoy the freshest seafood in its purest form, indulge in a delicious grilled fish or seafood platter featuring a variety of tasty ocean treats. Top spots for trying these dishes include Bodega la Peninsular in the beautiful Barceloneta neighborhood and Marisqueria Esthvan, highly praised for its loving and homely atmosphere.

Grilled Fish And Seafood Platters

3. Catalan Style Mussels: Savor the delicious combination of Mediterranean mussels and Catalan flavors, as these bivalves are simmered in a savory sauce made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and parsley. Botafumeiro is one of the most prestigious seafood restaurants in Barcelona, where you can experience this tasty dish.

Catalan Style Mussels

4. Seafood Paella: A trip to Barcelona would only be complete with savoring the iconic Spanish dish, paella. Delight in the city’s signature version loaded with fresh seafood, such as clams, mussels, shrimp, and calamari, perfectly cooked in saffron-infused rice. Pez Vela offers an exceptional seafood paella you shouldn’t miss.

Seafood Paella

As you continue to discover what to eat in Barcelona, savor the various seafood delights as they genuinely showcase the city’s unique coastal flavors and culinary talents.

The Paella Experience

When considering what to eat in Barcelona, you can’t miss trying the iconic Spanish dish, paella. Paella is a rice dish with various ingredients such as seafood, chicken, rabbit, and vegetables. While paella originated in the Valencia region, Barcelona offers its distinct take on this classic meal. Here, paella is one of many rice dishes called “arroz” in Spanish or “arròs” in Catalan. As a culinary explorer in Barcelona, you’re encouraged to branch out and try the regional varieties.

Best Places to Try Paella in Barcelona

Barcelona boasts numerous restaurants that serve exceptional paella. Here are some of the best places to try different styles of this dish:

1. Colom: Known for its flavorful seafood paella, Colom has a fantastic atmosphere. Make sure to try their tapas as well!

2. Micu Maku: A local favorite, Micu Maku’s Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine is sure to impress. Remember to make a reservation.

Remember that paella is traditionally eaten at lunchtime on weekends. Make a reservation if you plan to visit a popular spot. Happy feasting!

Local Market Experiences

Barcelona’s Vibrant Food Markets

When considering what to eat in Barcelona, exploring the city’s famous food markets is a great way to sample the local cuisine. La Boqueria is the most famous market in the city, with a long tradition and history that dates back to the 13th century. You can find this bustling market along the famous street, La Rambla. Another great market to visit is Mercat de la Llibertat, located in the charming neighborhood of Gràcia. Both markets offer exceptional opportunities to immerse yourself in the local food scene.

Some Common Products

At these markets, you’ll find abundant traditional Catalan ingredients and dishes. Some typical products you can expect to come across are:

1. Bacalao: salted and dried cod, often used in various salads and mains.

2. Esqueixada de Bacalao: a salad made with shredded salted cod as its base.

3. Tapas: bite-sized appetizers or snacks, often served with drinks.

4. Jamón ibérico is a widely-known cured ham that’s a must-try in Barcelona.

5. Pan con tomate: a delicious and simple dish made with bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes and topped with olive oil and salt.

Fresh Produce and Unique Finds at These Markets

The markets not only offer prepared dishes for you to enjoy but also display a variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and charcuterie. Here are some highlights to look out for:

  • Fresh seasonal fruits like oranges, cherries, and figs
  • Artisanal cheeses from local producers
  • A wide array of olives, pickles, and marinated products
  • Unique finds such as dried spices, olive oils, and vinegars

So, as you stroll through these vibrant markets, don’t hesitate to stop and taste some of the amazing products. Use the opportunity to speak with the vendors and learn more about their craft and the regional culinary traditions. No matter where you choose to visit, the various Barcelona food markets will provide you with a culinary adventure to be noticed.

Tasting Tapas

Tapas Culture in Barcelona

When exploring what to eat in Barcelona, tapas should be on your list. Originating in Spain, tapas are small dishes meant for sharing. In Barcelona, tapas culture is an integral part of socializing, allowing you and your companions to enjoy a variety of flavors and ingredients while experiencing the city’s vibrant culinary scene.

Popular Tapas to Try

Here are some popular tapas options that you should try during your visit to Barcelona:

1. Patatas Bravas: Cubes of crispy fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce and aioli

Patatas Bravas 1

2. Croquetas: Crunchy fried nuggets with various fillings, such as ham, cheese, or vegetables.

Croquetas 1

3. Pan con Tomate: Toasted bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil

Pan Con Tomate

4. Pimientos de Padrón: Fried green peppers, often served with a sprinkle of sea salt

Pimientos De Padron

5. Gambas al Ajillo: Succulent shrimp cooked in garlic, chili, and olive oil

Gambas Al Ajillo

Recommended Tapas Bars

To enjoy a truly authentic tapas experience, consider visiting the following establishments:

1. Bodega Biarritz 1881: A popular tapas bar with a unique experience and a vast menu to choose from

2. Prado de Flores: Known for its Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine, this restaurant offers an enjoyable tapas adventure

3. Quimet & Quimet: A well-known tapas spot offering a wide range of unique and delicious combinations

4. Bar del Pla: A local favorite, Bar del Pla features an enticing mix of traditional and inventive tapas options

Remember to embrace the lively atmosphere and the opportunity to taste various dishes as you immerse yourself in Barcelona’s tapas culture.

Sweet Treats in Barcelona

Sweet Side of Barcelona’s Food Scene

When it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth in Barcelona, the options are plentiful. Wondering what to eat in Barcelona for a delectable dessert experience? Get ready to indulge because this city has a treat in store for you. From traditional Catalan sweets to innovative creations, Barcelona is a haven for mouthwatering delights that will leave you wanting more.

Dishes to Try

1. Crema Catalana: A classic Catalan dessert similar to crème brûlée, this creamy custard is topped with a caramelized sugar crust. It’s hard not to fall in love with this heavenly dessert, which can be found in many restaurants and pastry shops around the city.

2. Catànies: These chocolate-covered treats consist of caramelized almonds coated in dark chocolate and powdered sugar, making them a must-try for nut and chocolate lovers. You can find them at Casa Gispert and other artisan chocolate shops in Barcelona.

3. Mel i Mató: A traditional Catalan dessert made with refreshing honey and creamy mató cheese, this simple yet satisfying dish is perfect for those looking for a unique, local taste.

4. Neules and Turrón: These sweet treats are often enjoyed during the holiday season. Neules are light, crispy wafers, while turrón is a nougat-like treat made from honey, sugar, egg whites, and almonds. You can find them in many shops and bakeries across Barcelona, especially during the holiday season.

5. Churros con Chocolate: A trip to Barcelona would only be complete with indulging in this famous Spanish treat. Crispy, deep-fried churros are best enjoyed dipped in warm, thick hot chocolate, providing a delightful contrast of textures and flavors. There are many churrerías in the city where you can enjoy this tasty snack.

Churros Con Chocolate

As you explore Barcelona, don’t hesitate to treat yourself to these sweet indulgences. Your taste buds will thank you!

Barcelona’s Wine and Cava Culture

Local Wine and Cava (Sparkling Wine) Traditions

When exploring what to eat in Barcelona, you should take advantage of the city’s rich wine and cava culture. Cava, the official name for Spanish sparkling wine, has been gaining recognition as a serious rival to French Champagne. In Barcelona, cava is a pillar of the tapas culture, often enjoyed as an accompaniment to the city’s delicious bites.

Catalan wines are equally celebrated, with the region boasting a long winemaking history that dates back to Roman times. The diverse landscapes of Catalonia—from the Mediterranean coast to the pre-coastal mountain range—combined with a unique climate, yield a wide range of wine varieties to be appreciated by any wine lover.

Popular Vineyards and Wine Bars to Visit

When enjoying the best wine and cava experiences in Barcelona, visiting local vineyards and wine bars is essential. Here are some top recommendations:

1.The Wine and Cava Trail: This tour will take you to the heart of Catalonia’s wine culture, covering an area of more than 27,542 hectares with 153 wineries. You can immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscape while learning about and savoring the region’s finest wines and canvas.

2. La Venta: This Michelin-starred restaurant offers outstanding menus with local culinary flair and exquisite food and wine pairings. Indulge yourself in an exceptional, upscale Catalan wine and dining experience.

3. Top Cava Bars in Barcelona: Explore some of Barcelona’s best cava bars, such as El Rincon de Cava, for a more casual setting. These establishments offer a relaxing environment to sample the region’s delicious sparkling wines while enjoying tapas and mingling with the locals.

After treating your palate to the tastes of Barcelona, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the city’s wine and cava culture.


Barcelona offers a culinary adventure like no other. From traditional Catalan cuisine to mouthwatering seafood and delectable sweets, the city is a food lover’s paradise. Get ready to indulge in the flavors of Barcelona and discover the must-try dishes that make this city a gastronomic destination. Let’s explore the diverse and delicious food scene that awaits you in Barcelona.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *