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Spanish and Catalan cuisine

Traditional Recipes: Fideuà Catalana

Written by Priyankaa

If you like a good paella, you will love fideuà – essentially the Catalan version of paella, made using short noodles instead of rice. It originated in Valencia but is now a firm favorite throughout Catalonia and you will see it on the menu in numerous restaurants all over Barcelona.

Fideuà has humble beginnings as a hearty dish, used to feed poor fishermen on board fishing boats as a way of using up seafood they were unable to sell in the market that day.

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Nowadays, it is a much more sophisticated dish using a variety of ingredients including herbs and spices such as saffron and lots of good quality fish. Fideuà is bursting with flavor from the generous amount of fresh seafood, ladles of rich shellfish broth and garlicky aioli.

Whilst it may sound a bit complex, it doesn’t require hours and hours of slaving away in the kitchen and is relatively cheap to make. This one-pot wonder is the perfect dish to serve at a dinner party if you want to impress friends!

How to make fideuà yourself – Catalan recipes

As we have already mentioned that it is not that difficult a dish, shop for the following ingredients and use the method mentioned below. You will be surprised at the amount of flavor you will get form the dish. Most of the ingredients are the same as for the paella Catalana recipe, just swap the rice for thin noodles.


ingredients fideua

Photo via Pixabay

  • 370 grams fideus noodles (or any thin pasta noodles you can find)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 250 grams prawns
  • 600 grams squid (chopped into small pieces)
  • 250 grams tomatoes (grated)
  • 2 teaspoons 1½ tsp pimentón dulce
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 liter fish stock
  • 400 grams mussels
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon (juice only)
  • Allioli (to garnish)

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Preheat the oven to 180° c. Place the fideus in a large roasting tin, cover with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix well. Toast the noodles for 10-12 minutes, turning them halfway through until they are golden brown. (This step can be done in advance.)

Gently heat the stock in a large saucepan and leave to simmer. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and add the cloves of garlic to infuse the oil with a smoky garlic flavor. When they are golden brown, remove the cloves from the pan and discard.


Photo by calafellvalo via Visualhunt

Add the prawns, cook for a minute or two until they are pink, remove from the pan and set aside for later. Add the squid to the pan and leave to cook for around 3 minutes. Next, stir in the grated tomatoes and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes until thick and sticky. Add the pimentón dulce and saffron and mix well.

Add the fideus and coat in the tomatoey mixture and then ladle in half of the stock. Carefully place the mussels around the pan and then pour in the remaining stock. Season with salt and pepper, then bring the pan to a boil and leave to bubble away for around 5 minutes. Add the prawns and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let it stand for 3-5 minutes. Ladle into individual bowls, garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a handful of parsley, add a generous dollop of alloili and enjoy!

Related article: Catalan Recipes: Tortilla Española

Where to have good fideuà in Barcelona

Canet Sarrià

Canet Sarrià is a great, traditional restaurant located in the swanky district of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. This venue is known for their expert cooking skills, offering which are arguably some of the best pasta dishes in the city.


Photo by calafellvalo via Visualhunt

One of the dishes they are known for is their fideuà. Choose Canet Sarrià for your meal if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city center.


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El Merendero de la Mari

El Merendero de la Mari is widely known in the city, having a stellar reputation. They offer a variety of traditional Spanish dishes, specializing in rice and pasta based dishes, which includes the famous paellas and fideuàs

El Merendero de la Mari is not exactly a cheap place to eat at but if you value the quality of the food, then you won’t mind paying a little bit more for an excellent culinary experience.

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wine glass on table

Photo by Visualhunt


Located in the Barceloneta neighborhood, with beautiful views of Port VellBarceloneta is a restaurant that offers exquisite plates of rice and pasta, as well as fresh fish.

Like El Merendero de la MariBarceloneta‘s prices are not the friendliest ones, but the quality of the dishes more than makes up for the extra cost.


Do you like Catalan food? 
What is your favourite dish and what is the best place to enjoy it?
Share your tips in the comment section for our readers!

About the author


Priyankaa is a Hispanic Studies graduate from the University of Birmingham.


  • @Priyankaa… ahem, I’m sure you realize the pictures you chose for this article are not of a fideuà, but a paella, right? note there are no noodles (fideus).. which is precisely the basis of the dish :))

    If you want, you have plenty of royalty-free options in Flickr:

    Thanks though for the great article.

    • Gracias! Qué manía de apropiarse las cosas siempre los mismos… Aún no he oído a un valenciano decir algo así como salmorejo Valenciano…. Que se lo hagan mirar. Que lo cocine mucho allí y hagan sus versiones, no significa que os fideua sea catalana.

  • Maria, it cleary says traditional Catalan Recipe, which is correct. Gandia is a completely different version, it may be the original, but still different. And by the way, the fideos used on Gandia’s version suck. You see what I am trayin’ to say?

    • Entonces los que hacen versiones son los catalanes, no los valencianos

  • I tried this dish and loved it. How many people will this recipe serve. I plan on cooking it for a dinner party.

    • Hi Nadine,
      As a main dish it could serve 4-5 people, as a side dish 8-10.
      Glad you like it! Especially if you can get your hands on some good quality fish 🙂
      kind regards,

  • Please Priyanka, do some more research before you write an article about Spanish dishes. Fideuà is NOT CATALAN, IT’S VALENCIAN! It’s originally from Gandia, but we cook it here in Valencia, so please don’t assume that because you tried this food in Barcelona it’s a Catalan dish. We invite you to come and try the real fideua and take some proper photos (fideua doesn’t have snails – that’s for the paella).

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