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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 06 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Catalan cuisine has traditionally been creative, combining sea and land ingredients, sweet and savoury, and French influences with Mediterranean and Iberian. Seafood, vegetables, wild mushrooms, nuts and fruit, pork and poultry are the main local ingredients.

 

What to try

Classic Catalonian dishes include rich stews, rice dishes, the surf and turf mar i muntanya (sea and mountain) dishes; escalivada (mixed grilled vegetables) the unusual salads combining seafood and hazelnut or almond sauces; and the national dish, botifarra sausage with white beans. Nearly every bar or restaurant offers pa amb tomaquet – lightly toasted bread smeared with fresh tomatoes and olive oil and the favourite dessert: crema catalana. Also see our round-up of 15 traditional Spanish foods to try in Spain.

The nearby Penedes wine region yields the perfect white and red wines to match, along with cava, the city’s iconic bubbly. Chilled vermouth with tapas is the aperitif in Barcelona’s lively bodegas (small local bars).

Also see our round-up of traditional Spanish foods you must try in Spain.

The dining scene

Ever since Ferran Adria’s wowed the world’s gourmets at El Bulli, Catalan cuisine has never looked back. Now one of the world’s most innovative food spots, Barcelona is at the top of its game, with some 24 Michelin-starred restaurants.

The countless tapas bars and bodegas offer the chance to sample dozens of fabulous specialities in small, mix-and-match portions.

The city’s food markets are the perfect appetiser, overflowing with fresh seafood, wild mushrooms and truffles, cured hams and sausages, sweet seasonal fruit, sun-ripened vegetables and olive oils.

Recommendations

7

Boadas

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

cocktail on the counter

Founded in 1933, Barcelona’s oldest cocktail bar hasn’t changed since; come for superb cocktails in an evocative, Art Deco atmosphere.

Min age 18

Best for ages 18+

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Eixampeling Brunch Cafe

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Eixampeling Brunch Cafe

If Michelin stars could be award for donuts, this riotously colourful café in the Eixample would win hands down. Imaginative toppings are crammed on top pf the good old fashioned donut, from sweet to savoury, create a new culinary art form that will have foodie salivating.

Best for ages 4+

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Granja Viader

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

hot chocolate with churros in background

Stop for breakfast at this historic milk bar, with its classic Catalan ensaimada pastries, crema catalana, horchata (tiger nut milk), hot chocolate and more.

Best for ages 18+

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Penedes Wine Region

Penedes, Catalonia, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
landscape view of a small wine estate surrounded by vineyards

The home of sparkling cava, this beautiful wine region is made up of historic vineyards set in rolling Catalan countryside.

Best for ages 18+

Sant Antoni Market

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

view of exterior front, beautiful red building, people walking around

Recently restored, this enormous X-shaped market from 1882 overflows with delicacies daily – except Sunday, when it becomes a flea market.

Best for ages 18+

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More details >

Santa Caterina Market

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

External view of the entrance

The city’s oldest covered market was rebuilt in 2005, and crowned with an undulating roof of multicoloured tiles – peruse hanging jamon and stacks of veg, or lunch at no-frills restaurant counters.

Best for ages 18+

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More details >

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: Any

Getting there & doing it

Many of Barcelona’s top Michelin starred restaurants are in luxury hotels in the Eixample neighbourhood. There are excellent seafood spots along the beaches and in the old fishermen’s quarter of Barceloneta. Restaurants in the most touristed areas, especially around the Ramblas and Sagrada Familia, tend to be mediocre rip offs.

Check out Barcelona Food Experience for the latest on the city’s food and wine scene.

When to do it

Although restaurants open earlier for tourists, locals in Barcelona eat lunch (often the main meal of the day) from 2pm to 4pm, and dinner, a traditionally lighter meal between 9pm and 10pm, or even later on weekends. Sundays are very quiet. If you run out of fuel, there’s always tapas to keep you going into between meals.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Barcelona Tapas and Wine Experience Small-Group Walking Tour

Barcelona

Barcelona Tapas and Wine Experience Small-Group Walking Tour
On this 3-hour walking tour of Barcelona's El Born and Gothic Quarter neighborhoods, you may eat as much as you walk. Follow your local foodie guide as you visit four of the city's best tapas bars to sample food and drinks typical of the Catalonian region. As you sip wine and nibble on small bites, hear more about Spanish culinary traditions and get plenty of inside tips from your guide on where to eat and what to do during your time in Barcelona. A maximum of 12 people per group to ensure a more intimate experience with your foodie tour guide. A vegetarian option is available. Midday tour: 11.00am Evening tour: 6.00pm

Price: €95

Min age: 0

Rating 4.85 / 5 [2412 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Interactive Spanish Cooking Experience in Barcelona

Barcelona

Interactive Spanish Cooking Experience in Barcelona
Enjoy a 2.5- to 3-hour interactive cooking experience with a local chef. Visit the La Boqueria market before preparing tapas, paella, and sangria. You will then be able to sit down and enjoy the freshly made meal.

Price: €65

Min age: 5

Rating 4.46 / 5 [1438 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Barcelona Tapas Walking Tour; Food, Wine & History

Barcelona

Barcelona Tapas Walking Tour; Food, Wine & History
Delicious food, local wines and an incredible experience. If you are a foodie, wine lover, food critic, vacationer or just somebody who loves trying new and interesting things, we want you! Our tour is for everyone to come and enjoy and learn about our delicious Spanish cuisine and drink. You will be lead around four local hot spots and sample a variety of delicious tapas and wines with our knowledgeable and passionate guide.

Price: €59

Min age: 0

Rating 4.69 / 5 [758 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Barcelona Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

Barcelona

Barcelona Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours
On our Secret Food Tour: Barcelona, you'll enjoy a variety of the best authentic Spanish dishes on the secret streets of the areas of Born and Barceloneta. You'll try tapas, mouth-watering Paëlla, refreshing Sangria and wines, the best jamón, and much more. Don't forget our secret dish as well! At the end of your tour, you'll have sampled some of Barcelona's most delicious dishes and gained a better understanding of our culture and history.

Price: €96

Min age: 0

Rating 4.95 / 5 [669 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Barcelona Electric Bike Small Group Tour with Tapas and Wine Tasting

Barcelona

Barcelona Electric Bike Small Group Tour with Tapas and Wine Tasting
Combine Barcelona sightseeing by electric bike with tapas and drinks on a 3.5-hour city tour, led by a local guide! Fun and safe, the bike has an electric motor that kicks in as soon as you pedal, so your energy is saved for sightseeing. See landmarks such as El Born Cultural Centre and Frank Gehry’s ‘Golden Fish’ sculpture; explore Parc de la Ciutadella, Las Ramblas and the fishing port of La Barceloneta. After your amazing bike ride, finish up the experience by having some wine and cava paired with some spanish tapas at a local restaurant with the guide and the rest of the group.

Price: €65

Min age: 1

Rating 4.85 / 5 [524 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Barcelona

Catalonia, Spain

Close up of the spires of La Sagrada Familia

Spain’s cultural heart has unforgettable architecture, a pioneering arts scene, creative cuisine and nightlife that buzzes till dawn.