Catalonia is a region with a great culinary tradition, and especially Barcelona, where the first Spanish cookbook was printed back in 1477.
The location of Barcelona is decisive for its gastronomy. On one side it has all the advantages of the proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, and on the other it also uses the ingredients from the mountainous interior of the country. In fact, what best defines the Catalan food is the expression ‘mar i muntanya’ (meaning “sea and mountain” in Catalan). Reflecting the tendency of mixing local seafood with meat. The mixture between the elitist dishes of French cuisine and the typical dishes from Spain offers a worldwide known stylish result.
“Catalan cuisine mixes ingredients from the sea, such as seafood, with ingredients from the mountainous interior such as vegetables and meat”
In Barcelona you won’t enjoy just Catalan food, but you will also have the chance to try typical Spanish dishes, as the Catalan chefs don’t hesitate using the most classical dishes of the Iberian Peninsula. Of course the tapas are also very popular in this city, taking particular predilection for the famous Basque-style tapas, also known as pintxos.
What to Eat in Barcelona?
But when talking about strictly Catalan food we must start with the pa amb tomàquet, which accompanies many of the dishes. It consists of garlic bread with some tomato and olive oil in it, really simple but surprisingly amazing.
The Esqueixada is another typical Catalan dish. It’s a salad with salted cod, a really fresh and tasty dish ideal for having at some terrace in a warm day. The different specialties with rice or noodles, such as paella or fideua, are also very known. They are usually served with some Alioli, a Catalan sauce made out of mayonnaise and garlic.
If you are a meat lover Barcelona won’t disappoint you at all. There are many restaurants specialized on grilled meats and moreover you will have the chance to try the wide range of Catalan sausages, such as fuet, secallona, butifarra, etc. Actually, a very simple and popular dish in this city is butifarra amb mongetes (meaning pork sausage with beans).
As a dessert there is the one and only Catalan cream, similar to the famous French crème brûlée. Remember Catalonia is also a producer of wine and Cava (similar to Champagne), so don’t forget to ask for some of these in order to enjoy your meal.
Where to Eat in Barcelona?
Barcelona is one of the most touristic cities of the Mediterranean, no wonder why. The hotel occupancy has incredibly raised during the last years, even if many people choose to rent an apartment in Barcelona. It’s also important to know which the good restaurants are, otherwise you will end up going to some expensive and bad quality touristic place ¡Note!
Pitarra: This restaurant is in the middle of Ciutat Vella, the historic neighborhood of Barcelona. It was opened in 1890 and it’s one of the oldest in the city. Its name recalls the writer and dramaturge Frederic Soller, called Pitarra. You’ll find a wide selection of traditional Catalan food, especially fish, served in a unique atmosphere. Remember to ask for some good Cava. You’re on vacation!
Casa Calvet is one of the most famous restaurants in Barcelona, it’s located in L’Eixample Dreta in a building designed by Antoni Gaudí. It used to be a factory, nowadays turned into very elegant rooms in which you will enjoy good food. The atmosphere is private and cozy. The experimental cuisine of chef Miquel Alija combines traditional Catalan cuisine with Asian touches.
Biblioteca Restaurant: This simple restaurant in the Raval has acquired an excellent reputation for its fine cuisine. The chef always uses the freshest local ingredients. Enjoy a memorable dining experience, while you can watch the chefs working in the open kitchen.
La Tomaquera: In this restaurant located in Poble Sec you will take homemade wine and enjoy the food in a lively atmosphere. If you want to try Catalan snails, this is the ideal place to do it. The menu includes grilled or smoked meats as well as several dishes from Catalonia. And remember that there is no better homemade sangria in summer that the one they serve here.
El Glop: This restaurant offers Catalan food in a rustic atmosphere with simple decoration. It’s not a gourmet restaurant but the dishes are great as well as the atmosphere and the service. Get ready for large portions of rich food that must be accompanied by Cava or Sangria. The restaurant is located in Gràcia, away from the city center, a perfect alternative for the downtown touristic restaurants.