Traditional Catalan cuisine


Catalonia has its own rich deep rooted history and that what makes such a distinctive cultural background of this region.  Its cuisine has been heavily influenced by neighbouring France and Italy.
Catalan cuisine is with no doubts Mediterranean, stemming from both the land and sea.
You will find a great variety of meats, fish, vegetables, legumes, grains, fruits, wines. All proudly grown in the region of Catalonia.
Here some example of traditional Catalan dishes;


The region of Catalonia has its unique culinary customs and eating calçots are one of them.
Calçots are a variety of scallions from Lleida town and its neighbourhood.
The calçot from Valls, Tarragona, is registered as a protected geographical indication by the European Union. They are similar to leeks, larger than a typical green onion, and milder.


Calçots are chargrilled over a flaming barbecue and then eaten by dipping them in Salsa Romanesco or in Catalan "Salvitxada", a sauce made of almonds, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, vinegar, and oil.

Don't forget to enjoy Calçots with a nice red wine.

By the way. Do you know how red wine is drank in Catalonia traditionally? From the Porrón. 


Porrón is a traditional glass wine pitcher typical of Spain originating in Catalonia

Porróns are most commonly filled with wines, either white or red. They are  also common in Catalan restaurants. You hold the Porrón above your head from the neck  of the bottle, then gently poring the wine in your mouth open and dropping the head back. 

The lack of contact with the lips allows a group of people to share the same Porrón, therefore retaining a sense of hygiene. It is shaped such that the wine stored inside it will have minimal contact with the air, while being ready to be used at all times, though it does require some skill to ensure the wine enters one's mouth and to keep it from spilling onto clothing.


Pa amb tomàquet

Pa amb tomàquet is an essential part of any Catalan meal. It’s a simple snack as a tapas or starter : slices of bread are crisped up and rubbed with first garlic then  rubbing a half tomato, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and finished off with a sprinkling of salt.



Escalivada, also sometimes transcribed in Spanish as escalibada, is a traditional dish from Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia and Aragón of smoky grilled vegetables. It typically consists of roasted eggplant and bell peppers with olive oil, onions, tomato, minced garlic, anchovies and salt.

Canelones de Sant Esteban

This dish is made at home all across Catalonia on the day after Christmas, Sat Esteban  the 26th of December, using up any and all meat leftover from the previous days' feasting. Anything really works here for the filling – the key is to make sure whatever your use , meat, fish ,mushrooms, etc, it is finely minced or ground before stuffing the pasta and layered with creamy béchamel sauce.  This dish has influences from the Italian cannelloni. The only different thing tomatoe sauce is not used for Catalan Cannelloni.

But now a days Canelons are served any time of the years in restaurant in Catalonia.

Best Canelones you will find then at Sabor de Barri in the Ribera's neighbourhood


Although originally from a town in the Valencia region, it is very widely eaten in the Catalan coast too. Very similar to a sea food Paella but made with short noodles (thin very short spaghetti like) instead of rice. Monkfish, squid, shell fish and prawns are usually added and cooked everything in a fish stock. The presentation of a Fideuà is always spectacular as it comes out on the dish pan where it is cooked. A creamy garlic mayonnaise homemade sauce called  Allioli is a great accompaniment mixed with the dish. 

A restaurant where Fideua' is a pretty cheap  dish and one of the best  ( a part from the ones my mother in law Angela makes which are unbeatable and super delicious ) is El Rey de la Gamba 1 in La BARCELONETA along Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 53

Arròs negre

Arròs negre is a recipe dish very common on the coast of Spain and Catalonia. Requires the use of  the squid’s ink to flavour the squid’s ink. So this black rice (literally) that is cooked in the same pot as the paella, a flat wide pan. It is always served with Allioli, a homemade garlic mayonnaise.

A restaurant where is cheap but for me is one of the best for Arros Negre' is El Rey de la Gamba 1 in La BARCELONETA along Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 53

Arroz caldoso con bogavante ( lobster )

Lobster with Rice Caldoso -also known as Arroz Caldoso con Bogavante– comes from Valencia in Spain. It translates into lobster cooked in a ‘brothy rice’. This  traditional dish has various flavors- including tomatoes, paprika, saffron, onion and red bell peppers.

The flavors are similar to a paella, however the rice is not fully absorbed but floats in a liquid broth as you caan see from the second version in the photo below which can be called just Arroz con bogavante ( lobster ) but without broth , so more the classic Paella style.

Again both versions are from El Rey de la Gamba 1 in La BARCELONETA alongo Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 53


 Above; Arroz Caldoso (broth)  con Bogavante - lobster-

Below; another classic version of Arroz con Bogavante without broth

Espinacs a la Catalana

This Catalan-style spinach prepared with garlic raisins and pine nuts, lemon, fresh olive oil. A delicious side dish.


Cargolets is a typical traditional Catalan food, well also all over Spain too. Generally boiled and sauteed in a pan with olive oil, spices, salt, another version with tomato sauce  and sometime adding up a sauce to dip the snail's body which you need you extract them out  with a tooth pick. I would say this dish is for snails lovers only.I adore them. Yum!

Can Cargolet restaurant in Sant Antoni neighbourhood , in Carrer del Comte d'Urgell, 17,

make the best snails for me.

"Galta"  braised pork cheeks

Galta is braised pork stew cheeks in red wine olive oil, garlic carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, tomato.

It is very typical in traditional Catalan restaurant. Try it at La Gelida restaurant in L'Eixample left side's neighbourhood in Carrer de la Diputació, 133, or at El glop restaurant in Gracia's neighbourhood in Carrer de Sant Lluís, 24



Fricandó is one of the many traditional Catalan dishes.

It’s slow-cooked beef stew with mushrooms. Fricando' is served with Picada sauce (a puree of nuts, herbs, garlic, and wine) created in a pestle and mortar used to give a final touch on top of the dish.

In the odl days normally Fricando' used to be a treat for Sundays, the only day of the week when many families could afford to eat meat. It is of those recipes that only improves when eaten reheated the next day. 




Cap i Pota

It literally means ‘head and leg’. Cap i Pota is a traditional Catalan dish that is still served in traditional Catalan restaurants.  It is a slow cooked stew made with a base of offal or tripe, simmered until soft. Ham hocks and veal head are added to this stew. Some people add a traditional Catalan sausage  called Botifarra

Best Cap i pota for me is at la Gelida in L'eixample left side's neighbourhood in Carrer de la Diputació, 133


Escudella i carn d’olla,

Escudella i Carn d’Olla, known in Castilian as “Cocido” is a traditional Catalan dish, a combination of soup and stew, Escudella i Darn d'Olla is a popular, traditional Catalan soup filled with pasta, meat such as chicken or lamb, prosciutto pieces, ground pork, and botiffara sausage, with the addition of vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and chickpeas.

Mongetes amb Botifarra 

Botifarra amb mongetes is a classic Catalan dish of grilled sausage with white beans.  These beans they are a particular kind of bean that is quite long and cylindrical typical from Catalonia.



Salt cod, called bacallà in Catalan a salad which consists in finely chopped salt cod, tomatoes, onions, extra vergin olive oil and vinegar , salt, It is often served as a tapas dish. Esqueixada is sometimes described as the "Catalan Ceviche" because it is made with raw fish (although the cod is salted cured and dry) in a marinade.


Suquet de Peix

Suquet de Peix is a simple fish stew from  Catalonia. The stew typically uses any fresh seafood — shrimp, mussels, clams, whitefish,  and added potato and tomato which gives body to the dish. Serve with bread to dip in this flavorful stew and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Pastis de Poma

My favourite dessert simple and delicious.

Made wth fresh sliced apples, a base of puff pastry covered with a fine layer of gelatine and a cherry sometimes. You can find it in patisserie or bakeries.

My favourite place to have it with an cafe solo is Cafes Roure in Sant Antoni neighbourhood in Carrer del Comte Borrell or from El Forn ( bakery in English ) de la Lola, always in Sant Antoni, Carrer del Parlament.

Mel i Mato'

A typical Catalan dessert consisting of curd cheese made from goat, sheep, or cow milk, ( similar to Italian Ricotta) and honey pored on top and sometimes sprinkled with walnuts. It is eaten as a dessert.

Crema Catalana

The dessert known in most of Spain as Crema Catalana, or Crema Quemada (burnt cream) in Catalan cuisine, is similar to a crème brûlée; the desserts look similar although Crema Catalana is made with  milk, cinnamon and lemon and orange zest, over the top sugar is poured and subsequently burnt, while Crème Brûlée is made with  vanilla flavoured cream. 


Xuixo is a pastry is deep fried and covered in crystallized sugar and filled with custard cream.

You will generally find fresh is in patisseries or bakeries

Best Xuixo for me is from pastisseria Lis Riera Alta in el Raval neighbourhood in Carrer de la Riera Alta, 19 or in Carrer de Calàbria, 137 in the Eixample left's neighbourhood

El Vermùt

Vermut’, or vermouth, is undoubtedly one of Catalonia’s favourite drinks - there’s even a whole time of day named after it, ‘l’hora del vermut’ in tapas bars, where people come together before lunch to enjoy the appetizer accompanied by a variety of snacks.


Estrella Damm: the beer of Catalonia

Estrella – which means “star” in both Catalan and Castillian – is a pilsner beer first brewed in Barcelona in 1876 and today found throughout throughout Catalonia, including the bars and restaurants of Costa Brava.


Moritz by Moritz

Moritz is less widely distributed than its rival Estrella Damm. The classic Moritz beer is a low fermentation pilsner with noticeable hops and hints of citrus and a slightly sweet aftertaste. The Moritz factory in the Sant Antoni's neighbourhood is no longer the main site of production but is today a popular place to grab a drink and soak up some of the brewery atmosphere and a great tapas place too.


Cava wine

Catalan main sparkling wine producers agreed and adopted the name Cava after the Catalan word for cellar, where the wines were traditionally stored.

Most of Cava production takes place in the Penedés s region. In order for the wines to be called 'Cava', they must be made in the traditional méthode champenoise.

Moscatell (Sweet) and Moscat (Dry) wine

In Catalonia if a wine called is called Moscatell it is usually sweet, and if it is called Muscat it is dry. In the Penedès region of Catalonia there are several wineries that produce them.

Best enjoyed with savory end-of-meal dishes like cheese boards or with desserts or even as desserts themselves, as a glass of sweet wine from Spain is perfect all year round.