The food of Barcelona, Spain has been heavily influenced by its rich history and cultural norms. The current cuisine of this diverse Catalan region is the perfect mix of Old World traditions and contemporary cooking styles and ingredients. Here are six classic Catalan dishes to not miss while visiting this vibrant country and its beautiful city of Barcelona!
This classic tapa of pan con tomate is simple yet delicious, perfectly exemplifying how Spanish cuisine takes ordinary ingredients and elevates them to something extraordinary. The tapa uses bread, tomato, olive oil, garlic, and salt to create a flavorful start to any meal. Or combine the bread with a hearty salad for a light meal.
Hailing from the Catalan region, the bikini street food gets its name from its origination as a popular sandwich that debuted in the 1950s at the Bikini concert hall in the district of Les Corts. This melty ham and cheese sandwich was inspired by the classic French croque-monsieur. While the traditional base is simply ham and cheese, many variations have been added over the years. Some bikinis even have a fried egg on top or an additional layer of broiled cheese.
Named coca, this Catalan version of an Italian pizza makes for a great tapa selection or light meal. The oval-shaped dough is pounded thin to create a crispy base for a variety of toppings. Depending on your mood, you can top it with savory or sweet toppings. What differentiates coca from regular pizza is the absence of cheese and herbs. The dish can also be served hot or cold, aiding in its versatility for many occasions.
One of the most prominent dishes in Catalan cuisine is the savory sausage butifarra. This sausage works particularly well as a grilled entree or as an ingredient in paella. The primary ingredient in the butifarra is ground pork. The meat is mixed with a combination of spices and other complementing ingredients such as rice, onion, or pine nuts. The mixture is then stuffed into the casing.
As one of the most popular entrees in the Catalan region, arroz negro is made with squid, prawns, and rice. The primary ingredients are then seasoned with herbs and spices. The squid ink gives it its unique black appearance. Arroz negro is often referred to as black paella. The distinctive squid ink leads to the deep flavor of the dish while also contributing to its striking presentation.
Crema Catalana is a quintessential Spanish dessert is the perfect ending to any meal. The custard dessert is similar to crème brulee with its crispy and caramelized topping. The other ingredients include milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, orange peel, and cinnamon.
You can enjoy all of these mouth-watering Spanish dishes in Barcelona. Be sure to add a trip to this historical city to your travel bucket list so that you can sample the very best of authentic Catalan cuisine.