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Barcelona is a foodie’s dream in terms of flavor, presentation, and experience, and is also the headquarters of Catalan cuisine. I have thoroughly enjoyed trying all sorts of new foods, deserts and restaurants. Here are a few dishes I recommend that you cannot go without trying while in Barcelona…


Pan con Tomate

The infamous staple dish…Pan con Tomate. It’s so simple but SO delicious. I can’t think of one Spanish restaurant I have gone to that doesn’t serve it! It is very common here and served on almost any occasion, breakfast, lunch and dinner! You take a piece of bread (more commonly a baguette) and cut it into slices. If you want the added flavor, you can rub a clove of garlic on the slice of bread. Then, take your tomato and slice it in half horizontally. Take one section of the tomato and rub it onto the bread. Finish with some sea salt and some olive oil. 


If you have ever visited Spain, you know it’s almost impossible to leave without eating their famous paella dish. Although paella is originally from the Valencia area, it is served at many restaurants all around Barcelona. Paella is a Spanish rice dish served with seafood, chicken, or vegetables. It is cooked and served in a large round pan and can feed so many people!

Fun Fact: One of the largest paella dishes reaches up to 60 inches and diameter and can feed up to 300 people! If you want to try something a little unique, I recommend trying paella cooked in squid ink.


This is a new food and experience all wrapped up into one. If you are trying to find a traditional Spanish dish that is nothing like what you can get anywhere else, try calçots!

Fun fact: The calçots from Valls (Tarragona) is a registered EU Protected Geographical Indication!

Romesco Sauce

Mmmm, nothing like the perfect sauce to go nicely with your calçots (or any roasted vegetable for that matter). Romesco sauce is a tomato-based sauce that originated from Valls, Tarragona, Catalonia. It is super common to have vegetables or to dip your calçots in it.

When I traveled to Tarragona, Spain, we had the best calçots with romesco sauce – they truly make the PERFECT combo!

Patatas Bravas

These aren’t just any potatoes – these are tapas you can find at almost every restaurant. Patatas bravas are fried potatoes, normally cut into the cubes served with mayonnaise and brava sauce…and it’s even better when the brava sauce is spicy.

If you ever find yourself hungry for a midday snack, find a tapas bar with some patatas bravas…it’s definitely my go-to!


Wait until you hear about this next dish…have you ever heard of the fish, Monkfish? This is by far the most exotic seafood I have ever had in my life. Though it may look like an unappealing fish to eat, it was absolutely delicious. It was seasoned with garlic and pepper and served with steamed vegetables!!

If you ever find yourself at a restaurant that serves Monkfish, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Crema Catalana

Dessert is arguably almost as important as the meal itself. In Barcelona, it is common to have desserts after your meals, yes even lunch! One of my favorites and a Catalonia original is Catalan Cream.

This dish is similar to a crème brûlée, so if you like pudding, you will LOVE this dish!


I have been to some of the most exotic and unique restaurants here in Barcelona. The food, the presentation, the service, and even the price is something you can not beat anywhere else. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat!


El Nacional

El Nacional is a must see! It has 6 restaurants within it and a multitude of cuisine to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, tapas, Spanish dishes, etc. they have it all.

Mercat de Santa Caterina

This huge market is full of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, etc. Not only can you buy fresh food, but they make incredible tapas right in front of you!

El Passadís

El Passadis is a quaint little restaurant located in Tarragona, Spain. They are famous for their delicious calçots and romesco sauce. If you ever find yourself traveling outside of the city, head over to Tarragona and try this restaurant!


SednA serves incredible seafood with a nice view of Barceloneta Beach.

Bun Bo

Vietnamese-inspired cuisine only a few steps away from Barcelona’s Cathedral!

El Nacional


Lilo Cafe

Beachy vibes, and healthy brunch food. Not only do they have a wide variety of Vegan options, but their presentation is one of the best in Barcelona!

Brunch and Cake

Yes, breakfast and cake! Brunch and Cake has incredible food and cocktails. Their presentation is unique and full of color!

El Arbol

El Arbol is one of my favorite restaurants to sit in and enjoy a meal. Their interior design, as well as their food, does not disappoint.


All I have to say is get the Nurse Jackie Burger!

Hammock Juice Station

Have fun sipping on your smoothie and eating your avocado toast in the comfort of your hammock chair!

Brunch and Cake


La Cava Cakery

Cupcakes and Cava, name a better combination!


Brunelles has some of the best pastries and cakes you will ever eat! Their large variety of treats is guaranteed to have whatever you’re in the mood for. They are even recommended by some locals here.


Nothing beats ice cream with a view! Enjoy your rich, creamy treat on the steps of the beautiful Barcelona Cathedral.

La Cava Cakery



Presentation is key! If you want to try some of the most exotic drinks of your life, head to Paradiso. Not only is inside incredibly decorated, but your experience

Bobby’s Free

Enjoy a wide variety of unique cocktails while sitting in a barber shop! What a weird combo right? Well, it’s definitely worth the experience!

Good Times

The service, the tapas, the people, the decor – all amazing! If you want to have a fun time, make sure to check out Good Times!

Bobby’s Free


  • Kakigori – Japanese Cuisine
  • Andaman – Indian Cuisine
  • Rosa Negra – Mexican Cuisine
  • Taquerias – Mexican Cuisine
  • Wild Beef – American Style Cuisine
  • Burger Heros – American Style Cuisine
  • Sedna – Mediterannean Cuisine
  • The Fresh Poke – Asian & Hawaiian
  • Ramen Shifu – Japanese Cuisine
  • Brunch and Cake – Brunch and Cafe
  • Juicy – Brunch and Cafe
  • Eatmytrip – Brunch and Cafe
  • L’Antica Pizzeria – Italian Cuisine
  • Sentore – Italian Cuisine 
Madelyn Schmitt

Madelyn is from Illinois Wesleyan University, and studied abroad through a Customized Program in Spring 2021.