Authentic Catalan Food Specialities You Have To Try
Keep your eyes open for these specialities on your trip.
When visiting Barcelona, it is essential that you try some of the local delicacies here. Many people simply think that Barcelona's cuisine is the same as the traditional Spanish cuisine…tapas, sangria, churros. However, this is not the case as Catalonia has a cuisine all of its own. Don’t let this put you off if you’re searching for typical Spanish food, people in Catalonia still love Gazpacho and paella as much as the rest of the country, but we definitely recommend trying these authentic (and delicious) Catalan food specialities if you want to make the most of your trip.
Pa amb Tomàquet
Probably the simplest, yet most popular dish that has come out of Catalonia. Catalans traditionally serve toasted rustic sourdough bread, sprinkled with salt, rubbed with tomatoes and finished with olive oil. You will also find that many of the sandwiches are served on bread that has been rubbed down in the same way. Some places serve the ingredients separately so that you can make your own Pa amb tomaquet!
Fideua is cooked in a similar way to Paella, in a large flat pan, however, it is made with small noodles instead of the traditional rice. It is still made with a combination of shellfish, meat, chicken and vegetables and is best served with aioli, a garlic sauce that many Catalans love. The name for the sauce actually originates from the Catalan words garlic and oil.
This is a typical sausage dish that you can find around Catalonia. It is made from meat and spices and can be found in almost every butchers, supermarkets and grocery store. There are lots of Catalan restaurants that will serve traditional Botifarra dishes as well as restaurants that make it their speciality – look out for names of restaurants that include ‘Botifarra’ (or variations of it)! You will often find it served with white beans.
Esqueixada is a salad that is made up of peppers, tomatoes, onions, red wine vinegar and raw salted cod fish. The salted cod is preserved by being rubbed down in salt and then dried outdoors. It is a light and refreshing dish that many enjoy in the warm summer months!
Bacallá a la Llauna
Cod is a really popular fish in Catalonia and there are many different ways to prepare it. La Boqueria market is a great place to find this dish and try it freshly prepared. It is made with fresh cod that’s floured, pan-fried and oven baked and then topped with garlic, red pepper, tomato and white wine. Similar to the butifarra, this is often served with white beans.
Don’t get fooled by its appearance, this dish is actually very tasty! Many will say that this is traditional of Valencia, however, it is on the menu in lots of traditional restaurants in Barcelona and its surrounding areas. It is a rice dish that is similar to paella but instead of saffron giving it a yellow colouring, it has squid ink to give it a rich black colour.
A simple yet traditional dish in Catalonia made up of grilled Mediterranean vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, aubergines etc.) and served with olive oil. You will find some variations of this dish as some places tend to add onions, garlic and occasionally, anchovies.
This traditional Catalan dish comes from the neighbourhood of Barceloneta. It is considered native to Barcelona and you might not find it outside of the city. The bomba – or the bomb – is an explosion of flavour (no pun intended). It’s traditionally a bit bigger than a golf ball and is a meat and potato croquette. It is served with a spicy salsa sauce and alioli –similar to patatas bravas. If you take a wonder around Barceloneta you are bound to stumble upon a traditional tapas bar serving this very authentic dish.
Calçots are probably one of the most surprising authentic Catalan food specialities. There is a time of year for this traditional dish and the Calçotadas are a must-do from February to April. Calçots are small sweet onions, similar to leeks or spring onions, which are roasted and served hot. The Calçotada is a traditional gathering among family and friends and many areas hold street parties where locals can come and socialise over a feast of calçots. They serve them with a sauce called Romesco which consists of tomatoes, toasted almonds, garlic, dried pepper, olive oil, parsley, salt and vinegar. There are many places in Barcelona where you can find Calçots all year round.
The way you eat them can be quite tricky as you need to use your hands. Once you’ve peeled the calçot, you dunk it into the romesco sauce and eat it as in the picture below. You could wear a bib if you’re scared to get your clothes dirty.
Crema Catalana is a sweet dessert that is similar to the French crème brulee. It is a creamy vanilla custard dessert that, like crème brulee, is finished off with a blow torch to give it a glassy crust. What makes it different is the ingredients used. Crema Catalana is made with fine cornflour and milk and it is cooked slightly differently from crème brulee.
Time to Eat these Catalan Specialities!
Now you’ve been drooling all through this article of authentic Catalan food specialities, head out to the nearest restaurant and enjoy your feast! Various restaurants in Barcelona serve these dishes so we are sure you’ll manage to find what you want.
Where to Stay
If you want a true Barcelona experience, with all the opportunity to try as many of these dishes as you want, we recommend you stay in one of our luxury apartments. They are all located in the best areas of the city, so you won't struggle to find an authentic restaurant to treat yourself in. We cater to many styles, tastes and sizes and we are sure we have something you will love. Visit our website today!
Catalunya Palace on ChicRoom Barcelona