In Spain eating is a sort of a ritual. You gather a group of your best friends, go together to a local restaurant and stay there for hours, ordering tapas and sharing them, drinking wine, chatting… Feel like a local in Barcelona with this guide of tapas & other great food of Catalonia!
Pan con Tomate / Pa amb tomàquet
The most popular tapa of Catalonia is grilled bread with olive and tomatoes. The tomatoes used must be very ripe and so soft that you can actually spread the tomato on the bread like butter.
Pimientos de padron
These grilled green peppers have a nice sweet taste but some of them are very spicy which is the reasons the padrons are sometimes called “the culinary Russian roulette”. Don’t worry about that though, about one in a hundred is spicy.
You can get pimientos de padron basically everywhere in Spain, sometimes in Portugal and Italy. And if you feel like cooking some on your own, here’s an easy recipe!
It’s a Spanish blood sausage – I normally don’t eat that sort of stuff but the ones in Barcelona were delicious! They are cut in small pieces, nicely fried and come in small portions.
Fried potatoes! Best order them with other tapas, they’re like a side dish. A garlic and a tomato sauce is always served with patatas bravas.
Small anchovies marinated in vinaigrette, served with garlic and parsley. I recommend ordering them as one of the last tapas as their taste is fresh and acidic, they also go really well with beer.
Small deep fried balls filled with dough and meat or fish (the best ones are with cod, or bacalla). It’s a very comforting snack which you will like even if you’re not into Spanish food.
Iberian ham made of Iberian black pigs who eat only acorns. It really does have a unique, “acorn” taste. The best hams are made of free range piggies who come from small farms – they’re also the most expensive ones obviously!
You can buy huge pieces or even whole legs of Jamon Iberico in La Boqueria, there are also restaurants which offer ham tastings but you can get good quality Iberian ham practically in every restaurant in Barcelona.
Deep fried, grilled or in a salad: the seafood is always delicious in Spain. In some of the restaurants you can order a mix of seafood tapas so you just try all of them in one go.
Oh, you must try paella in Barcelona. Paella is a rice dish, often served with meat but in Barcelona a seafood version is more prominent. It’s a very filling meal which can be a bit heavy on the stomach but you have to eat it at least once in your lifetime.
No, it’s not the Mexican tortilla you might know, the Spanish tortilla is more of a rich omelette with potatoes and onion, often with potatoes, chorizo sausage, mushrooms, ham… It’s very big so you usually order just a piece or half to share with (a lot of) friends.
With each meal must always some cava, which is a light Spanish sparkling wine. Catalonia makes the most cava and people in Barcelona are very fond of their drink. Salut!
Recommended restaurants in Barcelona!
Irati, Carrer del Cardenal Casanas, 17
Irati is a Basque standing bar (tapas are called pintxos in Basque) with great atmosphere. You just pick any tapas from a bar, order some wine with them and pay later, tapas are 2,50 euro a piece. It’s tasty, quick and in the city centre. Irati serves all tapas from the above list!
Ciudad Condal, Rambla de Catalunya 18
A sort of a chain restaurant in Barcelona but it was recommended to us by a Barcelonian and we were not disappointed at all! There’s always a lot of people inside so you might wait to be seated for a couple of minutes. The staff is wonderful though, food super fresh and tasty. The prices are quite low for Barcelona, as a lunch for two is about 20-30 euros.
7 Portes, Passeig d’Isabel II, 14
Situated near Gotico quarter, 7 Portes is one of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona as it was established in 1836. It’s very old-fashioned indeed but in a good way as the interior is clean and cozy. 7 Portes is well known for its paella which is brought in huge steaming pans and the portions are huuuge! I had a lot of fun there but be advised that this place is not the cheapest one and get very crowded during the high season.
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