Catalan cuisine

Updated Apr 29 2024

When you visit our city we would definitely recommend you to venture further than the most touristic parts of the city, in order to see the ‘real’ Barcelona, its culture and its people. What better way to do this than to be introduced to the fabulous Catalan cuisine? It’s sure to give you a better understanding of the city and the region of Catalonia (Catalunya) as a whole.

Barcelona Food Market Lunch Tour with Wine Pairing

Barcelona Food Market Lunch tour

Includes: Tasting of local tapas and wines

Language: English

Duration: 2h30

Typical Catalan produce and cuisine

Catalan cuisine is essentially based on the cultures of Mediterranean cooking, enriched with the typical characteristics of local produce. It’s therefore no surprise that good quality seafood and meat from the region feature heavily in many dishes, as well as local produce which is grown in its rich surroundings.

Aperitifs or ‘Vermut’

On Sundays, and sometimes Saturdays, it’s very common for groups of friends and families to meet up in bars before eating (at around 12:00) for an aperitif, typically called ‘hacer Vermut’, due to the revival of drinking aperitifs such as Vermouth in Barcelona. There are lots of bars that specialise in all sorts of different varieties of this aromatic fortified wine.

What does a typical aperitif consist of?

Vermouth, or any other drink (wine, beer, soft drinks)
Conserved fish or seafood (cockles, anchovies, mussels)
Cold preserved meats

These products are nearly always accompanied with a sauce, often home-made in the bar, such is often the case with the well-known ‘Salsa Espinaler’.

Some dishes and products that originate in other parts of Spain have been introduced to Catalan cuisine over the years, which is the case with various tapas, ‘pintxos’ (from the Basque Region of Spain), and many recipes, which although might not be considered typical Catalan food as such, are very much part of the local cuisine.

Traditional Catalan Food

Catalan starters

Coca de recapte

Pa amb tomàquet



Variety of soups

Tabla de embutidos (table of sausage)

Tabla de quesos (table of cheese)

Stuffed eggs

Catalan salad

Variety of mushrooms


Patatas bravas (spicy potatoes)

Variety of olives

Croquetas (ham, chicken, mushrooms)

Grilled prawns

Ensaladilla Rusa

Pimientos del padrón

Battered calamari

Chicken wings

Tortilla de patatas

Grilled squid / sepia

Typical catalan meals

Escudella i carn d’olla


Suqet de peix

Bacallà a la llauna

Butifarra amb mongetes

Mar i montanya

Cargols a la llauna

Dorada a la sal

Traditional desserts and sweets

Mel i mató

Crema catalana

Pa de pessic


Coca (llardons, pinyons…)

Flan (crème caramel)

Magdalenes (madeleines)

Postres de músic


Ametlles garrapinyades

Braç de gitano

Rice pudding

Bunyols de vent



Pears with wine

Torta (apple / cheese…)

Strawberries (with nata / wine and sugar)

The best catalan sauces

Salsa romesc

Salsa Espinaler

All i Oli



Picada d’ametlles

Traditional Drinks





Liqueur (apple, herval…)

Vi ranci


Anís del Mono (anisette)

Where and how to enjoy the local gastronomy?

Fortunately there are many restaurants and bars in which you can sample the local cuisine, most of which have proximity, or ‘Km 0’, as their mission statement… that is, the more local the produce is, the better.

Gastronomic tours and cookery classes

Is there a better way to get to know a city than through its gastronomy? Well, that’s open for discussion of course, but we think that it’s the most entertaining and satisfying way.

We therefore recommend going on one of the gastronomic tours or taking part in a cookery class, with a tasting at the end so that you can find out more about the great cuisine that the region has to offer, whilst continuing to discover our culture and traditions.

Another great way of delving into the Catalan cuisine is to visit one of the many local grocers shops, butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and markets in the city. You’ll be able to see for yourself the huge arrays of fruit and vegetables, fish, seafood and meat – the very best of the local produce.

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