The best thing about eating out in Barcelona, is the abundance of seafood. As a Muslim traveller, it means there is always a decent variety of food on offer wherever you go in the city. You’ll find a few sneaky halal places dotted around as well.
Here are some of the local dishes we managed to devour, as well as a few Spanish favourites:
For our first meal in the city, Mo and I propped up one of the seafood bars at La Boqueria and indulged in a feast of fish. Best dish by far was the Bacalao, a salted cod, which was fried with a tomato seasoning and served with home-made chips. A meaty fish with plenty of flavour and not at all dry. Amazing!
Pescaditos Fritos is basically what it says on the tin, fried fish. Normally served with a nice slice of lemon, its the kind of thing you just munch on in between dinner chat. Like chips (but not).
They’re everywhere. They’re all slightly different. Always have a yummy topping so they’re not dry. Simply order and enjoy.
After falling in love with Bacalao, I was excited to try Esqueixada when we stopped for a late dinner at Tantarantana near our apartment. Esqueixada (pronounced es-kay-jada) is a cold dish, a salad if you will, usually made with pepper, tomatoes and onions served on top of shredded cod. The vinegar mixed with the saltiness of the fish gives a nice tangy, refreshing taste, kind of like cevische actually. Perhaps more of a lunch dish.
Pa Amb Tomaquet
When I originally saw this on the menu I really didn’t think much of it. And why would I? I mean it’s basically a slice of bread rubbed with fresh tomatoes and finished off with a drizzle of oil and salt. A simple Catalan staple. But this dish must be rubbed with magical tomatoes because this dish it is super moreish and a perfect accompaniment to any main meal you’ve ordered.
A popular Spanish dish, you’ll see this everywhere. A rice dish prepared over an open fire with a variety of veg, meat or fish added. I was advised by locals that many restaurants serve ready made frozen paella (usually restaurants that have photos of their food on boards outside) . Word on the street is that Thursdays are the best time to eat it as this is when its cooked fresh. I’ve tried both a seafood and vegetarian paella at the Salamanca restaurant, right by the beach. Both tasted perfectly fresh, the seafood one was fantastic and the squid within it is probably the best I have ever tasted.
Not your typical Mexican fajita type tortilla, this one’s an omelette. We tried a Tortilla de Patatas ‘Ocana style’ at the Ocana café. A thick indulgent potato omelette which we devoured in minutes. A regular on tapas menus, tortilla omelettes are sometimes served in a sandwich, perfect for those long sight-seeing days.
We saw a lot of these in Brazil, understandably, as the roots for this dish can be traced back to both Portugal and the North West of Spain. A folded bread or pastry filled with meat usually and fried, empanadas are a great snack food or mini-meal. We were lucky enough to walk past Annur Halal café and sample a lamb empanada (delicious) and we also squeezed in a taste of a croquetas de pollo (chicken croquette) whilst we were there, making the most of the halal options available!
Don’t forget to try the sauces too!
And by sauces I mean the aioli, of course. I recently wrote about our trip to Figueres where I consumed a gravy boat portion of this garlic-infused dip. You’ll find aioli a staple on most menus, usually served alongside the patatas. Somehow, it just tastes sooo much better here than it does back home. So, give it a go! Unless you don’t like garlic. Then it’s a bad idea. A really bad idea.
Are there any other must try foods when in Barcelona?