Authentic Catalan food specialities you must try

When visiting Barcelona, it is essential that you try some of the local delicacies here. Many people simply think that Barcelona just has the traditional Spanish cuisine…tapas, sangria, churros. However, this is not the case, Catalonia have their own cuisine. 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 you to try these authentic Catalan food specialities if you want your trip to be complete.


Pa amb tomàquet


Authentic Catalan food specialities

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Probably the simplest dish but the most popular dish that has come out of Catalonia. Catalonians traditionally serve it on 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 up your own Pa amb tomaquet!




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Fideua is cooked in a similar way to Paella, in a large flat pan however, however, it is with made with small noodles instead of the tradition rice. It is still served with a combination of shellfish, meat, chicken and vegetables and is best served with aioli. Aioli is a garlic sauce that many Catalonians love. The name for the sauce actually originates from the Catalan words garlic and oil.




Authentic Catalan food specialities

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This is a typical sausage dish that you can find around Catalonia that is made from meat and spices and can be found in almost every butchers, supermarkets or grocery store. There are lots of Catalan restaurants that will serve traditional Butifarra dishes as well as restaurants that make it their speciality – look out for names of restaurants that include ‘Butifarra’ (or variations of it)! You will find it served with white beans.




Authentic Catalan food specialities

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It’s a salad that is made up of peppers, tomatoes, onions, red wine vinegar and raw salted cod fish. The salted cod is preserved whereby the fresh cod is rubbed down in salt and then dried outdoors. It is a light and refreshing dish that many enjoy in the warm summer months!




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A simple yet traditional dish in Catalonia made up of grilled Mediterranean vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, peppers, 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.


Bacallá ‘a la llauna’


Authentic Catalan food specialities

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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 try this dish and try it freshly prepared.  This Catalan dish is made with fresh cod that’s floured and 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.


Arroz negre


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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.


Crema Catalana


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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 different to crème brulee.




Authentic Catalan food specialities

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It’s probably one the most surprising authentic Catalan food specialities. There is a time of year for this traditional dish and the Calcotadas are a must-do from February to April. Calcots are small sweet onions, similar to leeks or spring onions, which are roasted and served hot. The Calcotada is a traditional gathering among family and friends and many areas hold street parties where locals can come and socialise with others over a feast of calcots. 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 Calcots all year round.


Romesco sauce – Photo by Mumumío / Visual Hunt


The way you eat can be quite tricky as you need to use your hands. Once you’ve peel the calçot, you dunk it into the romesco sauce and eat it as on the picture below. You could wear a bib if you’re scared to get your clothes dirty.


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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 the best bombas in town.


Time to eat the Catalan specialities!


Now you’ve been salivating all through the article of these authentic Catalan food specialities, reach the nearest restaurant serving them and enjoy your feast! Various restaurants in Barcelona propose these dishes and surely you’ll manage to find what you want.


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