What are the five best Barcelona food experiences?

Answers from Our Experts (3)

Photo for Ken Oringer

Well you have to get percebes, but they are really hard to find now and very expensive. I think angullas are another one, which are baby eels. Also I would say, obviously the jamon iberico. It’s something that everyone talks about, but every time I go to Spain, I can’t stay away from it. 

Mai Pham
Paella, Photo by Mai Pham

1. Jamon Iberico. Order it at a tapas bar, or straight from a vendor in one of Barcelona's many food markets. Don't think about it, just do it.

2. Lobster paella. A good paella is hard to find outside of Spain. In Barcelona, head to Barceloneta for some of the best paella in the world, or visit one of the market-adjacent little restaurants for a decadent paella with seafood purchased fresh from the market.  

3.  Navajas, almejas, ciperones, sepia and pulpo. There are five things I try to eat as much of as I can while in Barcelona, and they all have to do with seafood. Razor clams, clams, squid, sepia and octopus are some of the best you'll find in the world. Simply grilled or steamed (in the case of clams), with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon, the pleasure you'll experience from their taste and texture will rival many of the Michelin starred experiences in the city. Head to Kiosko Universal in La Boqueria or Cal Pep for a Michelin-starred omakase-style sampling.

4. Patatas Bravas.  Potatoes in spicy tomato sauce are one of the quintessential hot tapas you'll find in the city. Done right, the slightly crispy skin combined with the smoother, soft textures of the potato and the added zing of tangy spice are simple, but out of this world.

5. Tapas. You'll find countless tapas bars in Barcelona, some mediocre, others excellent. For an honest experience among locals, head to La Bombeta in Barceloneta and make sure you can order things like La Bomba and almejas (clams) in Spanish. The almost surly, middle-aged waitstaff take pride in the fact that they only speak Spanish. For specialty gourmet tapas, head to Bubo in the Barrio Gotico. Order any number of tapas from their menu and revel in the beauty of the dishes you receive: potato croquettes, pulpo a la gallega, albondigas, sardines, and more. For tapas from the Basque region, go to a pinxto bar like Euskal Extea or  Sagardi, and try one of their many delicacies served on french bread -- spanish omelette, hot ham and cheese croquettes, Spanish sausages, and crab salad are among the more popular pinxtos to try.


Ryan Craggs

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a place with food as varied and fresh as Barcelona; its location on the Mediterranean and closeness to the mountains give the city the best of both the land and sea. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the five best food experiences in Barcelona:
 
1. La Boqueria. You name it, and if it’s indigenous to Catalonia and edible, you’ll find it at the famous La Boquiera. This expansive market sells the freshest fruits, vegetables and seafood around — and you can even have your purchases prepared in corners of the market, so you can nosh while you shop around.
 
2. Pa amb tomàquet. It sounds simple — bread with tomato — and that’s what makes pan con tomate beautiful. Find yourself a restaurant with terrace seating and enjoy this typical dish that squashes and spreads tomato over the bread, topping it off with ham, sausage or cheese.
 
3. Arròs negre. While in Barcelona, don’t shy away from black rice, a variation of paella made with squid’s ink. Each region has its own take on paella, and Catalonia’s specializes in seafood. The squid’s ink isn’t like many ingredients you’ll ever have — and that’s why it must be tried.
 
4. Cava. If you’re at all into wine, then you must drink like the locals by sipping on a glass of cava, the Spanish version of Champagne. What better place to have Spain’s sparkling wine than in the very place from which it hails?
 
5. Crema Catalana. Similar to the French dessert crème brulee, crema catalana is a custard dish traditionally served on St. Joseph’s Day. The custard is often flavored with lemon, orange zest or cinnamon, and the sugar is traditionally caramelized with a special iron broiler, as opposed to the crème brulee technique under an open flame.

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