“Donde fueres, haz lo que vieres” (Wherever you go, do what you see) ... especially at lunchtime!
If you are coming to live a season in Barcelona for studies, this advice is especially recommended for meals. But not only for the gastronomy, which you will surely like, but also for the hours and customs that we follow at breakfast, lunch, dinner ... If you try to follow the same hours as in your country, surely you will eat in restaurants Empty or occupied only by tourists, so the sooner you adapt to the times of the premises, before you know the most authentic Barcelona.
The Barcelonans usually have coffee and a croissant or toast before going to work. No big breakfasts with eggs, pancakes ... The typical breakfast coffee is coffee with milk (half coffee, half milk, in a large cup), although many people prefer a “café solo” (espresso) or a “cortado” (express with a little milk).
About 11am, usually eat a snack with another coffee or a juice or soda to endure until lunchtime, which will not be before 14 hours.
On weekdays we usually eat about between 13.30 and 15 hours. A good option if you do not have time to eat at your student residence is to eat a menu of the day in the area where you study. The price usually ranges from 10-12 euros and consists of a first course (to choose between 4-5 options) that is usually salad, pasta, vegetables, legumes or rice and a second course (also to choose from several options) Which is usually meat or fish. The menu of the day usually includes drink and dessert (or coffee).
The fact that all Spaniards take a nap after eating is more myth than reality, at least during the week. In the weekend if it is more common for people to take a while to sleep after eating, especially in summer coinciding with the hottest hours of the day.
The dinner is usually done from 21 hours, you will not find any place dining at 19 hours as in other European countries. We are also going to sleep later than our neighbors.
On the typical meals (tapas, paella ...) here are some tips:
The tapas are small plates to share and it is usual to eat them all weekend, in what we call "go of tapas" and are usually accompanied by canes, which is draft beer. There are many options to choose from and deserve an exclusive chapter, so we promise to publish our recommendations for "the perfect tapas in Barcelona" very soon.
Let's talk about the paella. It is a Valencian dish but is served throughout the country with some variations. There are fish, seafood, meat ... Eating paella and drinking sangria (liter) on a terrace of Las Ramblas is a typical scene in Barcelona, but if you look, you will only see tourists doing it. Of course we love the paella, but not the quick and pre-cooked that they offer some touristy restaurants. The people of Barcelona who want to eat a good paella will usually book a table in one of the restaurants in the Barceloneta neighborhood and enjoy it with their family or friends at a long meal during the weekend. Keep in mind that the paella in these restaurants is always for a minimum of two people. If you are alone and you fancy eating one, many restaurants that offer daily menus are served on Thursdays. It's not so good, but it's a good approximation.
For last, some Catalan specialties that you should try: esqueixada, escalivada, pa amb tomaquet, butifarra with "mongetes", escudella, calçots, crema catalana .... We do not tell you what it is, we let you discover it for yourself.