9 Things To Eat In Barcelona
One of the most beautiful things about eating in Barcelona is the pace at which locals do it. There is no rush, and time is always found to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or Vermouth. Waiters never rush (good luck getting them to bring you your check), and locals tend to camp out at the table long after they’ve finished enjoying conversation and time together. It's a cultural phenomenon known as sobremesa, and if you're expecting it, it can be a wonderful change of pace.
We absolutely love seeking out and trying local foods wherever we visit and found that even though we were looking for them we had a tough time figuring out which foods those would be in Barcelona. Near the end of our stay in the area we did end up finding quite a few local foods and thought we'd put them all in one place so you don't run into the same problem. When in doubt I would recommend restaurants in the Born or Gothic areas, we found most of the traditional foods there and since they are quite close to some very popular sites it should be easy to pop over for a meal.
9 Local Foods To Try During Your Stay In Barcelona
1. Pimientos de Padrón: These small and slightly sweet peppers are generally mild, but one in every handful will be surprisingly spicy. Typically served as an appetizer, it's also a great form of entertainment to see who will get the spicy one (a bit of a pepper roulette). They’re simply deep-fried, salted and served with a cold, red sauce to dip them in.
2. Pa amb tomàquet: This simple snack is a big deal in Barcelona so make sure you get some at one point during your stay. It is just a slice of toasted bread rubbed with tomato, topped with olive oil and garlic. Very basic, but oh so good. It is usually given as a side dish, but is also a popular as a breakfast item.
3. Calçots: These fire roasted baby leeks are specific to Spring - traditional parties known as 'Calçotadas' take place during this period. The vegetables are normally barbecued and served on a roof tile with Romesco Sauce followed by copious amounts of grilled meats.
4. Bacalla amb Panses i Pinyons : Doesn't look particularly alluring but this roasted cod with raisins, pine nuts and tomato sauce was incredibly good. I didn't expect to like this at all but it was probably my favorite dish in Barcelona.
5. Patates braves: Roasted potatoes served with Allioli and a special, spicy sauce. They come with the sauce on top but are meant to be stirred up so each potato is covered in a mixture of the sauces.
6. Gambas Al Ajillo - Shrimp cooked with butter and garlic, I prefer this beautifully simple dish when the shrimp are cooked peeled rather than whole.
7. Crema Catalana - The classic Catalan dessert, very similar to crème brûlée. The difference is that the cream is bit smoother (it is flavored with lemon zest and cinnamon) and the sugar on top is caramelized with a broiler instead of with a flame. If prompted they will tell you that it is not only better than it's French counterpart but also existed first.
8. Catanies: We actually had these delightful little treats on our flight to Spain and had no trouble finding more after we arrived. Catànies bonbons are made with sweet toasted and caramelized Marcona almonds dipped in a white chocolate praline and coated in a variety of powders (cocoa powder, lime powder, coffee powder, etc.). In my opinion the lime flavored ones are the best.
9. Chocolate & Churros: Churros are Spain’s answer to doughnuts. Lengths of choux pastry are piped from a star-shaped nozzle and deep-fried, they can be savoury or sweet, chunky or skinny, eaten straight up or dipped in a thick hot chocolate - this is obviously the best way to enjoy them (more about that here).
BONUS :: Vermouth - A fortified white wine to which a secret blend of botanicals (roots, herbs, roots, spices, flowers and barks) is added. "'Vermut" in Catalan is regularly taken over ice with a slice of orange in the afternoons.
Bonne Appétit, or as they say in Catalonia 'Bon Profit'.
Where do You find these tasty local foods?
We found a good deal of them on the menus at these two restaurants right across the square from the Born Cultural Center. It was a great way to try a bunch of the local foods all at once and at the same time enjoy the cool ambiance of the Passeig del Born.
Casa Nova: 8am - 2:30am
La Taverna del Born: 12pm - 12am