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A Taste of Catalan

Written by Mario

You just arrived in Barcelona and are excited to start practicing your Spanish! Then you go into a restaurant and see all types of funny words: Llom, Xocolata, and more. News flash: you have just arrived in the capital of Catalonia! Over the past few years, the Catalan government has been pushing to keep the Catalan language and culture alive. This means that in all public places like schools, libraries, parks, stores, most signs will be in Catalan.

togetherIf you end up speaking to a local this is important to know, as most Catalans are very patriotic and would like to gain independence in the near future. This is a sensitive topic for some locals, so it’s best to be supportive and choose your words carefully if it comes up. You can read more about it here.

Don’t feel intimidated, though. Most residents are bilingual and also speak Spanish.

Just in case, here are some Catalan words that could make your stay more enjoyable and the locals be more welcoming. If you plan to stay longer, you have a few options to learn even more Catalan.

Greetings & Phrases

Here are few basic terms to greet people and use in conversation.

  • Bon dia – Good Morning or Hello
  • Bona tarda – Good Evening (used after 3pm)
  • Bona nit – Good Night
  • Si us plau – Please
  • Moltes gràcies – Thank you very much (Gracia is usually used only with Moltes , yet the ‘c’ is softer)

Restaurant & Food

These terms are great if you’re in a restaurant and need to order something. Especially important for any vegans or vegetarians to spot what terms are related to meat. To learn some other local cuisine, head over to our food section.

  • Begudes – DrinksFuet
  • Aigua – Water
  • Pica-pica – Starters (Tapas from Andalucía & Pinxos from the Basque country are often served)
  • Pa amb Tomaquet – A local starter with bread, olive oil, and fresh tomatoes
  • Gambes – Shrimp
  • Amanida – Salad
  • Fuet – A type of local sausage from Vic
  • Llegums – Beans
  • Pescat – Fish
  • Llom/carn de porc – Pork
  • Pollastre – Chicken
  • Carn de bou/vedella – Beef
  • Xocolata – Chocolate (In catalan ‘x’ is often used instead of ‘ch’)

Also here are a few prepositions you might see in your menu

  • Amb – with
  • i – and

I hope that brief list of Catalan terms helps you get by during your next visit to Barcelona or Catalonia! If there are any other terms you’d like to add to the list, just write them in the comments below.

About the author


Mario is a multi-talented Swiss raised in NY, currently living in Barcelona. He is pursuing a career as a maker and tech educator, which merges his love of technology and education.

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