Barcelona is a foodie's dream. I don't know what it is, but the food just has more flavor here. One of the best ways to truly experience a new culture is through the gastronomical art of eating local food! Barcelona will not disappoint you on this front. I truly encourage you to go out of your comfort zone and just eat everything. Most of the time I have no idea what I am actually eating, I ask what the best thing on the menu is and stuff my face. It always ends up being a unique experience for my taste buds, and so far those experiences have all been good ones! Here I will list some of the unique foods that you must try when coming here!
I put this as number 1 for good reason! Even if you don't try anything else, please just try this! It is basically cured ham that has turned into an art form here in Spain. Spaniards are very proud of their ham and it is a huge part of their food culture. You can find this pretty much everywhere you go. Around any corner, there is probably a big hunk of pig leg hanging from the window just waiting to be artistically cut for your personal food pleasure.
2. Chocolate con Churros
This takes hot chocolate to an entirely new level. It is so thick that it’s pretty much just a cup filled with melted, gooey chocolaty goodness. Served with a plate of hot sugary churros on the side, you are in for an incredible experience.
Paella is probably one of the most famous dishes here in Spain. It is a rice dish that you can order with seafood, chicken, or a mixture of both. After a long day of sightseeing, it is the perfect comfort food to fill your hungry belly. I would ask how large the servings are because they are typically big enough to serve two people, but that also varies depending on what restaurant you go to.
Tapas are truly a thing of beauty. They are small dishes similar to appetizers that are synonymous with
drinking here in Spain. Pretty much anything can be a tapa, and the different types of tapas can be regional. You can find them on almost any menu, and they are delicious! You are meant to order a few and share with friends. The tradition was originally for you to order a drink and they would give you a small plate free with the drink, but here in Barcelona that is no longer common practice and you must pay a few euros per tapa as well as your drink. There are still a handful of tapas bars left here that offer free tapas and you can find a good list of them here.
5. Drank - sangria/CAVA
If you have never heard of Sangria, it is a drink similar to a punch made with wine, fruit and typically brandy. It is sooooooooo delicious and it is one of my favorite things. If I were Maria from the Sound of Music, then I would include it as one of my favorite things that keeps me from feeling so bad. Cava is basically Catalan Champagne. It used to be called champagne, but because it was not grown in the Champagne region of France, it is no longer able to be called that. The taste is extremely similar, but I find it to be a bit less dry. It is delicious and it makes an amazing mimosa.
6. fresh juices
The juice here is just soooooo freaking good. If you go to La Boqueria Market then you will find numerous vendors selling freshly squeezed juices in any combination of fruit you can imagine. My favorites are Kiwi & Coconut and Pitaya and Coconut! If you bring some rum, it could be the best cocktail….just saying. *pro tip: if you do go to La Boqueria, make sure to buy the juices from the vendors in the back because they are only €1, whereas in the front of the market they are €2 and €1.5.
I know you are thinking that you did not come all the way to Spain to eat a burrito…well it is not the burrito that you are probably thinking of. This burrito is deep fried and immensely more amazing. I’m not 100% sure how they do it, but taking a bite into the deep fried gooey goodness is something you won’t want to miss!
No, not the swimsuit! This bikini is a very inexpensive sandwich. Think grilled cheese with ham. If you are hungry on the go and not wanting to spend a lot of money, you can find this tasty treat at an average of 2.50 Euro. So good.
9. pan con tomate
I was extremely confused the first time they put this bread on the table and there was something spread on it that tasted familiar, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. It was delicious and I ate it as fast as I could, but I was so curious after. Apparently, this is a way of eating bread that is unique to Catalunya. They take a toasted baguette and spread tomato on it. Not tomato puree, but just the flesh of the tomato. I have never seen it like this in my life, but now it is one of my favorite things here and I might carry it with me forever. When I get home I will be spreading tomatoes on my bread. *PRO TIP: if they put bread on your table without you asking, it is not free. So, if you do not want to pay for bread just kindly let them know that you do not want to stand they will take it away without charging you. Otherwise, you get a nice little surprise on the bill later.
10. Patatas bravas
This is a potato dish that consists of diced fried potatoes smothered in a sauce that is typically a spicy tomato sauce or an aioli. It is one of the most famous tapas here in Spain and you can find it pretty much anywhere. It is perfect for soaking up all that alcohol you will probably consume when you come to one of the biggest party cities in the world. My beautiful Barcelona.
*Some Things to Keep in Mind When Eating Out Here
-Tip your waiter or bartender
while the tipping culture is not as big as it is in the states, in Barcelona it is still common courtesy to tip your server 10% for good service, 7% for decent service, and no tip for bad service. This is a huge part of the way that they make their living, so be courteous to the custom.
-water is not free
Sometimes a beer can be cheaper than a glass of water, so good excuse to order that adult beverage. I recommend bringing a filtered water bottle with you when coming to Europe, because it is pretty much common everywhere that you will have to pay for water. These expenses add up quickly, so save some cash and bring your own water with you wherever you go!
-they will most likely not split the bill
if you are going out to dinner with friends then bring cash! They will most likely say that they cannot split the bill, so you are all expected to pay your own share in cash. This is common in bars as well, the bartenders do not like it when you pay with card. Cash is definitely used more frequently.
I hope this article helps you when deciding what to order on your trip to Barcelona! If you have any more suggestions I would love to hear them in the comments below!