Spain is famous for its paella and its tapas – and Barcelona is no different when it comes to its love of the bright yellow saffron-scented rice dish and the caring-sharing experience that is tapas.
Tapas are small portions of food that are served separately. The usual method is for a number of people to order a few dishes and then everyone assembled to dig in and eat almost buffet-style.
Typical tapas are a plate of salted almonds, garlic-fried prawns, chorizo cooked in cider, a portion of tortilla, fried green peppers, ham or cheese croquets, Russian salad, fried potatoes with spicy sauce (patatas bravas) and the ubiquitous pan con tomate – white bread with garlic, olive oil and tomato.
You will often find two different prices on menus, one is for a racion and the other is for a tapa – the only difference being that the raciones are larger versions of tapas.
Pinchos or Pinchxos
Originating from the Basque Country, pinchos are even smaller than tapas and consist of bit-sized slices of white bread that are topped with different ingredients such as meat, fish or cheese. In some places these are also known as montaditos.
When eating pinchos you will be provided with a plate so that you can select your pinchos of choice, buffet-style, and the price you pay will depend on how many cocktail sticks are left on your plate when you have finished eating.
Platos combinados are entire meals that are generally quite basic but filling. For example a typical plato combinado might consist of French fries, fried eggs, and some form of meat – either bacon or pork loin.
That most famous of rice dishes – paella – is fairly ubiquitous throughout Spain. Different varieties contain fish, fish and meat, seafood and often there is a vegetarian option too, although be sure to specify no meat, fish or seafood when ordering for vegetarians, as the Spanish concept of vegetarian can often differ to what other nationalities consider vegetarian.