• Helina Sanchez, Paella Barcelona Cooking School

What is the Famous Food in Barcelona?

What is Barcelona's famous food? Here is a list of the main local dishes you must try in Barcelona.

Famous Tapas & Starters

Pan con Tomate (pà amb tomàquet or pà amb tomàquet in Catalan) is a traditional Spanish snack. It's a staple of Catalan cuisine! And a 100% vegan recipe too! It consists of a slice of bread scrubbed with a special type of tomato and seasoned with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Actually, in many local places, you will be served just ingredients, and you are supposed to make your pan con tomate by yourself :) It's super easy! Check out my Pan con Tomate recipe to learn how to make it.

Patatas bravas are deep-fried potatoes that open every tapas list in any tapas bar. Usually served with Alioli sauce and Brava sauce. 100 % vegan recipe (but make sure that aioli sauce is made without egg yolks). Check out my hand-made Aioli recipe without egg.

Do you want to cook delicious Patatas Bravas by yourself at home? Welcome to my Patatas Bravas online cooking class!

Croquetas or Croquettes. This is an appetizing blend of smooth bechamel sauce and Jamon Iberico, or mushrooms, or chicken, or squid ink, or chorizo, or blue cheese, or whatever you can imagine :) coated in crispy breadcrumbs and then deep-fried.

Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelet). Tortilla de patatas for sure is one of the best Spanish Tapas: can be enjoyed not only hot but also at room temperature or even cold. For tapa, it's typical to cut the tortilla into square bite-size pieces and serve it on cocktail sticks. It can work for vegetarians if it's made without chorizo. Here is my Tortilla de patata recipe.

Chipirones. It is delicious deep-fried small (baby) squid. Why the name is "chipiron" and not "calamar"? The name comes from Basque Country (Northern Spain), where small beach squid used to be called txipirón. This name spread throughout the Peninsula Iberica adapting to the "chipiron" we know today. So chipirones are medium or small sized squid, while the name "calamar" is reserved only for a large squid.

Mejillones a la marinera. Steamed mussels served with delicious paprika & white wine sauce. Speaking about mussels, in general, the quality and flavor of the dish depend entirely on the quality of the mussels themselves. If mussels are not good the cooking skills will not help. The best mussels are coming from Galicia that's why it is best to look for Mejillon Gallego.

Pulpo a la gallega. It is a Galician-style octopus, a traditional Galician dish.

This is a boiled octopus. But before boiling, the octopus should be ''scared'': dipped in and out of the boiling water three times, while being held by its head—this is meant to curl the tips of the tentacles. Then, it is trimmed with scissors, sprinkled with salt and both sweet and spicy paprika (pimentón dulce and pimentón picante), and drizzled with olive oil. The octopus is served on top of boiled potato slices.

Paellas & Rice dishes

Paella Mixta: this is the most internationally popular version of paella, consisting of mixing seafood and chicken. Usually, it is made with prawns, chicken thighs, and squid, but can vary.

Paella de Mariscos (Seafood paella): made with a variety of seafood, usually langoustines, prawns, cuttlefish, or squid, and rich, flavorful seafood stock.

Paella Valenciana (Meat paella): this is the most traditional paella that originated in Valencia. Inside, you will find different types of meat: chicken, rabbit, sometimes snails, and flat beans, peas, artichokes.

Paella Negra or Arroz negro: seafood paella cooked with cuttlefish or squid ink. Ink not only gives this dish black color but enriches it with a very intense seafood flavor.

Arroces (Rice dishes).

These are rice dishes similar to paella but different in ingredients and sometimes cooking process or the pan used for their elaboration, and therefore carry different names, for example:

Arroz caldoso de marisco (con bogavante): soupy rice with a lot of seafood and usually a lobster on top, served in a soup bowl

Arroz seco: dry rice with a lot of soccarat (the rice stuck to the bottom of the pan) for all crispy rice lovers!

Other Barcelona's famous dishes

Fideuá (short noodles "angels hair"): a less sophisticated, but nonetheless delicious, paella alternative, made with seafood stock and fideos (vermicelli) and served with aioli sauce.

Suquet de pescado, or de langosta, or de rape: a soupy dish made with white fish and seafood in seafood stock, very typical in Catalonian and Valencian areas. it was created by the fishermen of the area in order to make use of the fish that was difficult to sell.

Zarzuela de pescado y marisco: an elaborate dish common in Catalunia and Balerian islands, made with different fish, squid, prawns, and mussels stewed in sofrito.

Rape a la plancha: delicious steaks of a very flavourful and delicate grilled monkfish.

Traditional Catalan Dessert

Crema Catalana. Identical Catalan dessert (similar to a creme brulee). It is made from egg yolks, milk, sugar, cornflour, lemon zest, cinnamon, or vanilla, with a crisp caramel crust.

These dishes are the main must-try food in Barcelona that is coming to my mind.

However, the diversity of Barcelona's famous food is so wide that sometimes it's great just to get lost in some local areas of the city (like Gracia, Eixample, Sarriá districts) just look for local-looking restaurants and follow your instincts!

Enjoy your meal in Barcelona!

And come to check out our Seafood paella cooking class!