Barcelona traditional foods, secrets to eat like a local

Posted on April 4, 2018 |

Barcelona city has managed to mark its strong position on the foodie map for a long time. The Catalan cuisine is famous worldwide for its amazing flavors and sufficient portions. People from all around the world visit this part of Europe to taste dishes that are entirely different and innovative in taste, presentation, and style.

The culinary world wouldn’t be the same without the traditional Spanish food and for a better understanding of the popularity of Barcelona’s traditional food, we have eaten plenty of tapas and talked to local food connoisseurs who told us the secrets about it. Whether you are up for trying the rich botifarra sausages with romesco sauce or the typical Fideua dish, your taste buds are going to give a big shout once you try these mouth-watering Barcelona traditional dishes. Let’s find out.

Food shooping at Barcelona Market

BUNYOLS DE BACALLA (COD FRITTERS) ∼ They follow their ancestor’s original recipes

The best thing about the Catalan food is that they have still held on to their ancestor’s recipes. The people in the old times valued food more than we do now. They had a special interest in healthy and wholesome dishes. The Catalan traditional food showcases a similar idea and offers food that is sufficient in quantity and good in quality.

Have you tried century years old Catalan cod-fritters? This is a dish that has its origins in the 13th century and that it is usually found in Barcelona Markets, it is made of a mix of cod, parsley, garlic and flour which is deep fried in olive oil. You can try one that follows a 150 years old recipe by joining our market food tour in Barcelona.

Bunyols de bacalla

PA AMB TOMAQUET (BREAD WITH TOMATO) ∼ Only the fresh ingredients are used in the dishes

The second best thing that makes Barcelona’s food exquisite is the ingredients used in it. Dishes like “Pa amb tomaquet” (bread with tomato), Escalivada and Ensalada Catalana are made from fresh and healthy ingredients. Barcelona is known for its healthy tomatoes, artichokes, peppers, and eggplants, the use of olive oil into foods and the routine supply of sea products from the Mediterranean side. Here we recommend you go to the basics and try a delicious bread with tomato which you can pair with artisan cheese, Iberian ham, Catalan wines or simply eat it alone, it is delicious! This typical tapa is found in Barcelona bars and it is a kids´local favorite!

Tip: at genuine establishments in Barcelona, you will always have to make your own ¨pa amb tomaquet¨, that’s the local custom.

preparing bread with tomato

PATATAS BRAVAS (HOT POTATOS) ∼ Catalan people serve foods in trendy yet traditional and warm -welcoming manner

Food lovers know what it’s like to eat a healthy food in a warm environment. The traditional food of Barcelona is made available in a traditional and yet trendy style so that it attracts the diners more than the ordinary food. The people serving food have a huge smile on their face and are passionate about their cooking which influences the tourist’s mood as well.

Eating patatas bravas at an iconic restaurant such as El Sortidor de la Filomena Pages it is an unforgettable experience in Barcelona. Despite the fact that some would argue that this is more a ¨Madrid traditional dish¨, in Barcelona locals have twisted the original recipe. The same fried potatoes are topped with aioli and the spicy sauce is made of dry tomatoes, almonds, chili, paprika and olive oil. In the rest of the country, the potatoes are served only with a spicy tomato-based sauce.

Tip: you can enjoy this dish and other tapas at our Food Tour of Authentic Barcelona!

the best patatas bravas in Barcelona

CARGOLS A LA LLAUNA (SNAILS ON A POT) ∼ The flavor of the dishes is spot on owing to the spices used

The use of fresh vegetables from Barcelona Markets and fresh local spices makes the cooking experience even more interesting. Spices were brought by the Arabs to the Iberian Peninsula centuries ago, and as Catalan gastronomy absorbs quite well the good side of cultures, one dish that originates in Lleida was simply enhanced to the next tasting level. Go for Cargol a la Llauna, a pot of spiced snails in a spiced tomato sauce at La Tomaquera restaurant. Seriously!

snails in tomato sauce

PAELLA OR FIDEUA ∼ The food presents different cooking styles

The cuisine in Catalonia reflects the spirit of a place that was very much a thoroughfare and place of entrance for different cultures, preferring to incorporate that than resist other styles. The first Catalan recipes date to the 14th century, and nowadays modern chefs have just made innovation but only to enhance the flavors even more with fresh ingredients available at the Barcelona markets where you can find spots for eating as well. This is also a trend in the country, putting Catalan traditional foods at the top of any visitor´s agenda. Try a local Arros, a local version of paella, or Fideua, paella´s little sister at any of these seafood restaurants in Barcelona. There are plenty of variations on this dish, but it all comes to fresh seafood and vegetables.

Rice with seafood in Barceloneta

CREMA CATALANA ∼ The traditional dessert by excellence!

Are you not up for a full heavy meal? An aspect of the Barcelona traditional foods is that people share side dishes for brunch, lunch or dinner, this is the art of tapear, and we really love doing this, because it is a way to share and to secure a space in your stomach for that local sweet we all like to enjoy. After enjoying different arrays of dishes that can be perfectly paired with local wines or water from the nearby Montseny springs you get to the subliminal moment to order dessert and Crema Catalana is our pick, similar to creme brulee, it is made of egg yolks, cornflour, milk and orange zest.  It is one of the oldest desserts known in Europe, dating to Roman times before Christ.

One of our favorite spot to eat it this traditional dessert is Ca L`Isidre (National Prize of Gastronomy in 2017).

BOMBAS ∼ everyone wants to be proud of his or her own creations

Back in the 60s the concept of tapas starting to become quite something within Spain, and then to the rest of the world as we know nowadays. There are few legends behind The Bombas, an iconic tapa from La Barceloneta District. One says that the Barceloneta residents wanted to make a difference in gastronomy within Barcelona and that they twisted the classical croquette into a round ball with minced meat inside and topped with a distinctive spicy sauce, and hell they made a difference! Do not miss trying one of the quintessential Barcelona tapas, you can do that by joining our Bodegas and Tapas Experience, an evening full of stories, traditional drinks and more foods to try!

EVERYTHING IT IS PART OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET ∼ The health benefits of the traditional food are numerous!

The traditional food in Barcelona is, without a doubt, delicious but what’s more interesting about these food items is that they offer a lot of health benefits. Nearly all the dishes contain fresh vegetables like tomatoes, onions, garlic and seasonal veggies. Olive oil cuts down the unhealthy effects of the saturated cooking oil. Each traditional dish is a combination of protein and vegetables or seafood, sauce, and veggies thus, providing the required calories in every portion of the meal. Did you hear about the famous Mediterranean diet? Well in Barcelona everyone practices it on a daily basis, which is well showcased at Barcelona Eat Local culinary tours where plenty of delicious and healthy tapas are eaten by curious foodies from all over the world.

Barcelona tour goers by Appetite and Other Stories

For a new person in the city, it is difficult to jump onto typical traditional Catalonian cuisine but once you have had your very first bite of the dish, you wouldn’t wish for any other taste at all.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the about the Barcelona traditional foods and its secrets, and in case you are really into diving on Barcelona best gastronomy, why not join one of our culinary experiences: our signature food tour in Barcelona´s foodie districts Sant Antoni and El Poble-sec wanderlust into the origins and trends of Catalan gastronomy, while our Bodegas and Tapas Tour at the Gothic and Barceloneta districts provides a terrific insight into the world of tapas at iconic Barcelona Old Taverns.

And as you already got to this point, we are glad to offer you a discount code: BCNFOODIE for any of our food experiences in Barcelona that you can check here.

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