The Top 10 Barcelona Meals & Beverages to Try | Traditional Catalan Cuisine Explained

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Whether you’re visiting Barcelona for the first time or the tenth time, there are certain to be a few typical Barcelona cuisine you haven’t tried yet.

Maybe you’ve been craving savory seafood or delectable pastries. Whatever your appetite, Barcelona has more than enough Catalan food and beverages to keep your stomach satisfied and your cup flowing over.

The area along Spain’s northeast coast is noted for its delectable cuisine and enticing Barcelona beverages to help combat the Mediterranean summer heat.

If you’re planning a trip to Spain’s Golden Coast and want to know what meals to sample, our ultimate food guide has you covered with the 10 finest Barcelona foods and beverages. Add this to your Barcelona trip schedule and prepare to eat Catalan way!

See where to locate the greatest tapas in Barcelona by clicking here! Additionally, if you’re visiting Barcelona, check out this foodies guide to Costa Brava, or if you’re going to Madrid, check out this walking food tour of Madrid or discover where to go for aperitivos in Madrid!

When in Barcelona, don’t miss out on the following activities that will let you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):

  • Sagrada Familia: Skip-the-Ticket-Line Guided Tour & Ticket
  • Barcelona: Flamenco Show at City Hall Theater
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Barcelona City Tour 1 or 2 Day
  • Barcelona: Park G├╝ell Admission Ticket

The Top Ten Barcelona Meals and Beverages You Must Try!

Paella

Paella is undoubtedly one of the most well-known Spanish foods in the world, and there’s a reason for that. If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying this delectable meal, make it one of the first Barcelona dishes on your list.

While the cuisine originated in Valencia (and is often cooked with fried rice combined with chicken, rabbit, and veggies), the Catalans have really made it their own. Paella is most often eaten in Barcelona by combining rice with saffron and shellfish, ranging from calamari to mussels.

A genuine paella must be cooked to exquisite perfection on a broad, flat frying pan called a sarten. This renowned Barcelona dish’s unusual spice combination is sure to knock your socks off, so don’t hesitate to grab a taste while it’s still hot.

Cava

While most people connect Spain with sangria, cava is the most popular drink among Barcelona residents. You should come across the sweet combination at some time throughout your gastronomic excursion, so keep an eye out for it.

Wine enthusiasts will be ecstatic at the first taste of this sparkling wine, which is used year-round as a normal alcoholic beverage and not only for special occasions.

The majority of cava vines are situated in Catalonia’s Penedes area, which helps to maintain pricing per flute more than fair.

Enjoy a glass or two of Barcelona’s trademark drink, but be prepared for the bubbles to creep up on you.

Catalan Crema

This Barcelona dessert, known locally as Crema de Sant Josep, is quite similar to its French competitor, crme brle. Despite the origins of Crema Catalana have long been debated (the French claim to have invented it, while the Catalans claim the same), the delicacy is certainly worth a scandal.

This meal should be top on your list of Barcelona dishes to try if you have a sweet craving. The classic dessert is a custard composed of whipped eggs and vanilla that is poured in a glass dish and topped with a coating of caramel. The caramel is then burned into scorched, melty bliss that will have you wanting for more.

This unique flavor of the area will round off your culinary trip in Barcelona.

Bacall Esqueixada

Cod is one of the most popular fish species on the Spanish Iberian peninsula, and this delectable seafood salad is no exception. The Bacall (raw salted fish) is the main component in Esqueixada de Bacall, which is subsequently shredded into a precisely thin consistency to serve as a topping.

To make a lovely combination of fresh tastes, the cod is usually served atop a bed of chopped tomatoes, onions, red peppers, black olives, romesco sauce, and a good dollop of olive oil.

This Barcelona gastronomic treasure is great for people looking to avoid the heat while also delighting their taste senses. Although there are other seafood options in Barcelona, this one is a must-try.

Fideu

Fideu, another Valencian cuisine that evolved into a classic Barcelona restaurant staple, is a favorite shellfish meal for pescatarian diners.

Fideu, unlike the other main dishes on this list, is comprised mostly of fine noodles fried in a large frying pan. For a heady mix, the noodles are carefully cooked in shellfish broth with squid, prawns, and monkfish.

This magnificent seafood platter is not to be missed, so plunge in fork-first to get a true flavor of the Catalan sea.

Orxata

With this following drink, you may begin to question the validity of the Catalan, since it, too, has its origins in Valencian cuisine. Yet, like with many other foods on this list, Catalans have a knack of making regional cuisine their own. Orxata is a pleasant soft drink that is ideal for staying cool throughout the hotter summer months in Barcelona.

This thick, sweet combination is made from tiger nuts, water, and sugar, and is poured over ice to keep you cool. Since the beverage contains no dairy or animal components, it is suited for all dietary limitations, from lactose intolerance to extreme veganism.

If you’re fortunate, you’ll find Orxata served with Fartons, another sweet pastry, but the drink is worth tasting on its own.

Negre Arrs

Are you a seafood enthusiast looking for new experiences? If you’re feeling very daring, consider a black rice dish.

Arrs Negre (black rice), like paella, is made in a large frying pan and cooked mostly with squid and squid ink, which gives the renowned Barcelona meal its particular taste and color.

The meal will be infused with different Mariscos (seafood medleys) like as shrimp and served with aioli, a garlic mayonnaise sauce. Keep this in mind while considering distinctive Barcelona dishes.

Vermut

Like Happy Hour, the inhabitants of Barcelona enjoy their own drinking hour, known as La hora del Vermut, which lasts from sunset until daybreak.

Vermouth is a colorful beverage created from aromatized wine spiced with roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs, and other botanicals. These spices assist to make Vermouth sweet, bitter, and smooth, making for a delightful evening drink.

While the light aperitivo was originally exclusively had after meals to aid digestion, it is now more fashionable to have Vermouth everywhere and at any time. It is undoubtedly one of Barcelona’s hallmark cocktails.

Try a glass at practically any restaurant, or at one of the numerous Vermouth bars that are springing up all over the city. In any case, you won’t be dissatisfied after the first taste.

Escalivada

Escalivada is a must-try for anyone looking to get into the Barcelona tapas scene. The delightful delicacy is often served on bread at the city’s tapas bars.

This traditionally vegetarian-friendly combination consists of fried eggplant and red peppers, however anchovies are often added to the meal (so double-check just to be sure).

But, like with many meals in Spanish cuisine, great consideration should be given to the freshness and quality of the ingredients. Each taste blends with the others to create a delectable mixture of zesty sensations that will leave you wanting more.

Escalivada is one of the top Barcelona dishes to eat because of its small plates but huge tastes.

Mel and Mat

This last inclusion on the list is without a doubt one of the most iconic meals in Catalan cuisine; this dessert is a local legend.

Mel I Mat literally translates to honey and cheese, but don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the name. The soft cheese mixes wonderfully with the sweet flavor of honey in this delectable treat, making your eyes wet with ecstasy at the first mouthful.

The meal is often topped with sweet quince or walnuts for a satisfying crunch that will make you grin. This dessert is so famous among locals that you can expect to see it offered at practically every restaurant, so order a dish for the ideal ending to a Barcelona restaurant lunch. What more could your palette require?


Barcelona’s culinary culture is as broad and diversified as the city’s long and wide beaches. Nonetheless, there is something for everyone in Catalan cuisine, whether you are a seafood aficionado, a vegan, or a celiac.

There is no lack of delectable Barcelona delicacies to eat, ranging from the rich and sweet, such as crema Catalana, to the salty and savory, such as salted fish. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised as you take your palate on a whirlwind voyage of tastes.

So, friends, eat well or, as the Spanish say, Bien provecho!

Bio of the Author:

Marco Santos of Travel-Boo, who was born and bred in South Africa, relocated to sunny Lisbon with his girlfriend over three years ago.

He is on a journey to find his own Portuguese origins while traveling around Europe.

Marco started his blog Travel-Boo to share his interest for traveling across and experiencing Portugal, Spain, and the rest of Europe.

You may get in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter.

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