This blog post was originally posted on April 21, 2014 and was updated on January 25, 2018.
Barcelona is home to some of the best food in the world, from home-made to high-end! We’re going to focus on the classic Catalan dishes in this post and tell you about 5 of our must-try foods in Barcelona.
1. Pa amb tomàquet/Pan con tomate/Bread with tomato
Sounds simple, right? It is. One of the best foods in Barcelona is so simple that we almost didn’t include it on this list. But the point we’d like to make here is that with Catalan food (and Spanish food in general) it is the simplicity that makes the food so perfect.
For pan con tomate, you need the best quality bread, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil for this typical Catalan snack. First, take your toasted bread and rub raw garlic on it. You don’t need to have peeled the garlic first, most people don’t bother. Then, cut your tomato in half, locals use the delicious tomato called Tomàtiga de Ramellet and squeeze it as you run it over the bread. Next, drizzle your creation with the best quality extra virgin olive oil and top with a sprinkle of sea salt. When you take the first bite you will understand the base of Catalan cuisine and why we love it so much!
2. Escalivada/Grilled vegetables
This very traditional Catalan dish is absolutely delicious, especially when topped with locally cured anchovies. Escalivada is made up of grilled vegetables, generally eggplant and bell pepper, which take on a smoky flavor from the traditional wood fire. The vegetables are later peeled and served with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and garlic. Anchovies on top are a delicious touch! Want to see this and some other traditional Catalan food? Watch the video below!
3. Calçots/Green Onions & Salsa Romesco
Another of the best foods in Barcelona is definitely calçots with Romesco sauce. Calçots are a special type of green onion native to Catalonia. Each year they come into season at the end of winter, and people host barbecues in the countryside where the average consumption is 20 calçots per person (before the grilled meats!). The Catalans eat these creamy onions with a delicious sauce made of hazelnuts, almonds, and ñora peppers called Romesco sauce. Romesco sauce goes perfectly with any vegetable but is the best pairing for a hot calçot. If you can’t make it out to the countryside while visiting Barcelona many local restaurants will offer them in the season (January-March).
4. Esqueixada/Salt Cod Salad
Craving something delicious, healthy and Catalan? Go for a ración of esqueixada, a typical salt cod salad that is often called the Catalan ceviche! Made with dried salted cod that has been reconstituted in cold water and then shredded by hand, the other ingredients in the dish generally include fresh tomato, red peppers, onions, olives, and (as we enjoy it) hard-boiled eggs.
5. Crema Catalana
You may know this addictive Catalan dessert by the name creme brûlée, which, to be fair, is not quite the same thing. But regardless of what you call it, this after-meal indulgence is certainly one of the must-try foods in Barcelona! The custard should be creamy and the sugar should be crunchy and caramelized. We won’t blame you for ordering your own.
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Lauren grew up in an Italian-American family where 3-hour meals were the norm. After 10 years in the restaurant industry, she moved to Spain where she launched her popular Spanish food blog, Spanish Sabores, and soon after led groups on the first Devour Madrid food tours.