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Tortilla, or Spanish omelette, can be found everywhere, as well as fried finger food in the shape of croquetas, calamari, delicious cod balls and boquerones, which are anchovies marinated in vinegar.
Seafood is as popular as you would expect here, with grilled fish often on the menu, as well as octopus and fresh tuna. The paella here traditionally comes with fresh seafood, including prawns and clams.
Fideuá is an even more typically Catalan dish, again heaving with prawns and mussels, but with short spaghetti-type noodles of rice. Caracoles, or snails, are also common – just don't try to tell the Catalans that they're French.
Almost every meal comes with pan con tomate – toasted slices of bread rubbed with fresh tomato and drizzled with olive oil, also brushed with fresh cloves of garlic in more rustic establishments.
Of the traditional spots that are worth dining at, the always-packed Bar del Pla (Carrer Montcada, 2) is one of the local favourites, known for its coca de sardines, which is focaccia-style bread with sardines. The foie is also a must-try.
Nearby is one of the city's most historic eateries, El Xampanyet (Carrer de Montcada, 22). In this classic, bustling joint you're served a wonderful house sparkling wine from giant casks, accompanied by your choice of various stunning tapas – tortilla con chorizo, cured anchovies, calamari fried in a moreish onion sauce, different types of botifarra, or sausage, and much more.
For more in the way of high gastronomy, you could try one of the restaurants associated with the Adría brothers, of El Bulli fame. Tickets (Avinguda del Paral·lel, 164) in Eixample might be their crowning achievement – the whole experience is about experimentation and innovation, so hold on to your sombrero.
In the northwest of the city, check out El Canalla (Carrer Major de Sarrià, 95), specialising in Mediterranean and market food, with the likes of prawn carpaccio and salmon tartar; the aubergine chips are also not to be missed.
Another great locale from the same masterminds as El Canalla is Palosanto (Carrer d'Avinyó, 30) in the Barri Gotic. It’s a sophisticated, stylish tapas bar offering a mix of classic and more creative dishes, all courtesy of youthful staff. There’s a great terrace here that looks over the quirky Plaça George Orwell.
Many restaurants in Spain offer a fixed-price menu at lunchtime so, if you’re on a budget, it’s a wise idea to make this your main meal of the day.
For a relaxed tapas bar, head to Pepa Tomate (Plaça Revolució De Setembre De 1868, 17) in Gracía, which is known for its tapas with eclectic influences: the fried spinach balls with honey sauce, for example, and the green taco of smoked guacamole.
Barcelona is a city with terrific culinary clout. Your tummy and your taste buds will be very happy indeed.
Round off your evening with a drink or two. Whether it’s an all-night disco or a chilled-out terrace bar, we highlight some of the best nightspots on our Barcelona nightlife page.