Barcelona Food and Drink

In Barcelona food is taken very seriously. People in Barcelona plan supper while eating lunch, when planning a day trip their most important concern is where they are going to eat. Just grabbing a bite to eat is just not an option.

In Barcelona eating comes first, when you taste the food you will discover why.

Spanish food is very good and one of the healthiest diets in the world.

In Barcelona you will find all the Spanish food options and varieties.

Catalan cuisine is an ancient Mediterranean style of cooking, characterized by the aromas of the herbs that can be found on the mountains, the animals that are bred locally and the seafood harvested from the Mediterranean.

Spanish food at its best!

If you visit the Barcelona food markets, like La Boqueria you will see all this delicious food on display.

Jamon
Spanish Cured Meats
Fruit Market

Where I come from people eat to live but here in Barcelona people live to eat!!!

Peppers

So when do the locals eat?

Typically a Barcelona food day starts with something light like a café con leche (large cup of coffee with milk) with a piece of toast or biscuits.

At about 11h it is time for real breakfast, normally a sandwich or croissant, something to keep you going for a few hours.

Lunch is then at around 14h – 15h and normally consists of a starter, main course and desert.

Supper time is normally between 21h and 22h but at times can be even later.

But don't worry in Barcelona you can almost always eat any of these meals at the times you usually do at home.... but if you do you will be eating with other tourists.

A good piece of advice, to make the wait between lunch and dinner easier, do what the locals do....

Grab a bite to eat at around 17h30 and then at 19h30 have a few tapas in one of the many bars.

Tapas, famous throughout the world and everyone's favorite.

Go to this page for more details on tapas: Barcelona Tapas

Look out for the “Menú del día” (Menu of the day), these are usually great value for money. For about 10-12€ you get 3 courses (first course, main course and desert) with bread and a drink (wine or beer or water or a soft drink), but remember coffee is not included.

What do the locals eat?

So what should you order? It depends if you are in the center or in the “barrios” (the districts outside the center)

If you are in the center you will find mainly international cuisine mixed with some typical dishes.

But if you go to the “barrios” : Think easy, don't get too fancy, try the following Catalan classics and you won't be disappointed.

Get ready for some real Spanish food!

A special mention goes to “Paella” - This is a rice dish, I am sure you know what it is! By the way, you'll always find it on Thursdays..

Paella is very popular in Barcelona (even though it comes from Valencia) and if you are looking for a good paella go to the restaurants in the Barceloneta area.

Barcelona food - First courses

  • Amanida – Salad
  • Amanida Catalana – Mixed salad and cold meats
  • Canelons – Cannelloni
  • Croquetes Casolanes – Home made croquettes
  • Gaspatxo – Cold vegetable soup
  • Macarrons - Macaroni with bolognese sauce

Barcelona food - Main courses

  • Botifarra amb mongetes – Barbacued or grilled sausage and fried beans served with allioli (one of the best garlic sauces ever invented)
  • Calamars a la Romana - Calamari Rings
  • Fricando – Meat and vegetable stew
  • Xai a la brasa – Barbacued lamb
  • Carn arrebossada – Crumbed meat (Chicken or beef)
  • Peix a la plancha - Grilled fish
  • Mandonguilles – Meatballs

Barcelona food - Desserts

  • Flam – Flan
  • Fruita – Fruit
  • Gelat – Ice Cream
  • Mel i Mato – Fresh cheese and honey
  • Music – Dried fruits and nuts normally served with sweet wine.

Coffee

Wow!! Coffee here is excellent...

  • Your basic coffees in Barcelona are:
  • Solo - espresso
  • Cortado - an espresso with a dash of milk.
  • Cafe con leche - more or less a double espresso with a lot of milk in a large cup.

You can then go on and develop your own preferred mix of these like... “un cortado largo de cafe con la leche fria, descafeinado” which is a decaf espresso with a little more coffee and cold milk.

There are some amazing combinations.... but the standard coffees are great.

Wine

Wine is present in almost all meals and there are many great Spanish wines to choose from. One of the closest wine producing regions to Barcelona is just to the south and is called Penedés, especially well known for its Cava, a sparkling wine that is very similar, if not better, than champagne.

Cava goes down really well with seafood and most tapas.

There are also excellent red and white wines produced in the Penedes and if you travel a little further south you will find the Priorat region that also produces some of the best wines in the country.

Beers

In Barcelona the standard beer is “Estrella” made by Damm, a company that was established by Alsatian immigrants in the 19th century and now produces 15% of all Spain's beer. They also produce “Voll Damm”, a flavorsome malt beer which is my favorite, it is a little stronger, so take it easy. It must be one of the finest beers ever made.

Other Damm beers are the dark Bock Damm, the smooth AK Damm, the strong Keler and the shandy called Damm Lemon. They also produce an alcohol free beer called Free Damm which is surprisingly good.

The second most popular is “San Miguel” form Lleida which is owned by Mahou.

There are also beers from smaller local breweries.

One of the most famous local breweries is Moritz, they make a lager that was once Barcelona's most popular beer. Since 2004 it has been making a strong comeback. The former subterranean Moritz Brewery, Ronda Sant Antoni 39-43, has been converted into a leisure and cultural center where you can go and taste this crisp lager.

Beer (cerveza) is usually ordered by the “canya”, which is a small draught beer, or in a larger straight glass called a “tubo”.

If you prefer shandy order a “clara” sometimes also known as a "shampoo". Claras are usually made with lemonade or lemon Fanta.

Pints will only be found in the Irish/English pubs.

If you prefer your beer in a bottle order a 200ml “quinto” or a 330ml “mediana”.

Bottled beer is normally a little more expensive than a “canya”.

Moritz Beer
Estrella Damm

Barcelona has a lot and I mean A LOT of restaurants serving magnificent food.

Be sure to make the food and drink in Barcelona part of your holiday!

Take your time sampling, tasting and experiencing the food in Barcelona.

I am sure you will want to have a Barcelona food related dinner party when you get back home.

10 Eating & Drinking Tips 

Times

In Spain people eat a lot later than in the rest of the world.

Lunch time at a typical Barcelona restaurant starts at around 14h00 / 15h00 and supper time is after 21h00. Many restaurants close on one day during the week and some are even closed in August.You will find the cafes and bars open from 07h30 and they close at around 02h00. It can be difficult to get a something to eat after 4 am unless you find one of the bars that the taxi drivers use.

Menus

Most restaurants now have multilingual menus.

From Monday to Friday do what the locals do and choose from the “menu del dia” when going for lunch. This is usually the best deal and for a fixed price you get three courses wine and water.

Seafood

In Barcelona you can enjoy seafood in many restaurants.  There are many good restaurants in the Barceloneta along Passeig Joan De Borbó and some absolute jems in the narrow streets just behind.

Try the restaurants in the Port Olimpic as well where you can enjoy the fresh seafood of the day on their open air terraces.

Don't forget…. THURSDAY IS PALLELA DAY

Tipping

Leaving a tip in not expected in most restaurants but it all depends on you and how you rate the service you were given. 5% is generally more than enough.

 Children

You can take your children with you to most restaurants and bars but they may not all have a kiddies menu. Usually there is no problem sharing or serving half portions.

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed in restaurants and bars but you can normally smoke on the outside terraces.

Deals & discounts

To find the best offers in the restaurants near to you install the Restalo App. It is great for searching for the best restaurants that suit your palate and pocket. 

Mixed Drinks

Be careful in Spain drinks are usually poured without using a tot measure. If you order a “Cubata” don’t order a double as you will more than likely be given two. Usually two blocks of ice are put in the glass and whiskey or what you have ordered is added until the ice floats. You will find that there is not enough space in the glass for the 200ml mix that goes with it.

Doggy bag

In Barcelona the doggy bag concept does not really exist... So leave what you haven’t eaten behind.... But don’t worry the portions served in Barcelona are nowhere near as big as in other parts of Spain.

Disabled people

Most establishments are fully accesable by disabled people. In fact Barcelona as a city is extremely well conditioned for disabled people.

Have you had a great or not so great food experience in Barcelona?

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