Although Spanish cuisine can be enjoyed anywhere on the mainland or on the country's islands, the food of Catalonia has a few distinctive differences. Those are best savoured on a holiday in Barcelona, a city where international restaurants rub shoulders with old mainstays where the flavours of tradition still entice in the customers.
Barcelona likes to do things a little differently to the rest of Spain. For instance, the famous Spanish dish of paella has a Barcelona variant called fideua. Whereas paella uses rice, fideua uses noodles, flavoured with thick alioli sauce for a garlicky kick and often paired with seafood. Barcelona also gives a lot of love to tapas, such as manchego cheese and patatas bravas, as well as olives and pinxtos, which are like tapas except skewered onto soft, tasty bread.
It's not just the savoury stuff that gets the tastebuds tingling. Naturally, Barcelona does a roaring trade in regional wines, while desserts include the soft creamy goat's cheese and honey that forms mel i mato, as well as Crema Catalana, which is like a creme brulee tart. If you're heading on holiday to Barcelona then try it for yourself, among our other recommendations at some of Barcelona's best restaurants below.
There are restaurants aplenty in Barcelona's majestic old town district, Barri Gotic, yet this particular venue claims to be among the oldest and most storied in the whole city. Can Culleretes offers rustic treats like goose with apple sauce or pork stews with spices. The fish is always superb here and – as a restaurant of its age would be expected to produce – the Crema Catalana desserts are possibly the best in town.
The restaurant itself isn't immense, but the flavours here definitely are. You can spend an afternoon picking at tapas from the traditional to the more outlandish, such as spicy octopus. Alternatively, go for what's really put this venue on the map, and that's the chuletones. Those are T-bone steaks, locally sourced from Galician farms, and served up grilled to taste and utterly enormous. Come here hungry.
Crispy bread tapas and pinxtos are the bar snacks to enjoy at this marvellous little place. It's been here for over 100 years, and there's always plenty of hustle and bustle here, as over a century of excellence has cemented the reputation of this place firmly into the fabric of Barcelona life. Strong cheese and stronger wine is often the way to go here, and it's an ideal spot for nibbles and tipples during your holiday to Spain.
The chic and kitsch of the 1950s lives on with flash and pizazz at Bar Ramon, and you're going to find that same style matched by substance on the menu. With everything set out deli style behind the glass cabinet by the bar, the food looks as sumptuous as it tastes, and you can expect the usual mix of pinxtos and tapas to be joined by big filling bocadillo sandwiches and more stylish treats, such as foie gras and beef fillet on toast.
Named for the Escriba family who have guided it to greatness over the years, this venue has an almost tropical style in its bright and breezy interior. Sea views over cocktails are a must here, and alongside tapas, you can expect to savour salads and paellas as great as any of those served by this restaurant's inner city cousins.