An essential wintertime experience while living in Barcelona, the calçotada is emblematic of the rustic charm of Catalan culture and the undisputed smoky-sweet star of the season.
Let’s peel back the luscious layers and find out what it is, why it matters and where you should head if you want to enjoy an amazing calçotada in Barcelona.
It’s basically just a big excuse to eat lots of food and get tipsy on quality wine, while enjoying the great outdoors in the company of friends and family.
At the centre of which is the humble calçot. These super-sized spring onions are strung together with wire and flame-grilled on the barbecue, before being wrapped in newspaper to slowly steam.
The result is an intensely rich, sweet and succulent treat which should be eaten, according to Catalan tradition, by pulling the middle from the outer skin, dipping it in romesco, then dangling from up high and devouring it while gazing skyward.
The calçots are only the first course of a veritable feast. Expect to pay between 30€ and 40€ per person – for this, you’ll await a banquet fit for a king or queen, with pan con tomate, assorted grilled vegetables, grilled meats, copious amounts of wine and crema catalana to finish things off.
Located close to Passeig de Grácia, Hotel Renaissance Barcelona offers a rustic experience in an urban setting. Every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm until the end of March the swanky rooftop bar will host some proper country cooking, with calçots de Valls (the homeland of the Catalan delicacy) plus all the delicious trimmings.
Advance booking is required: email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 932 723 810 and practice those Spanish skills!
Carrer de Pau Claris, 122, 08009
A former workshop of a 19th century painter, El Pintor is as close to a rustic eatery as you can get in the middle of the city. Exposed brick interiors, terracotta floors, old-school vaulted Catalan ceilings and the smell of sweet calçots on the grill make you feel like you’re in the countryside.
C/ Sant Honorat 7, 08002
Start with a morning hike on the Carretera de Les Aigües – one of the best outdoor activities in Barcelona – before arriving at the nearby Nou Can Martí just in time for lunch. An 18th century farmhouse with a large courtyard offering sweeping views of the city, it has a reputation for one of the best calçotada menus in Barcelona.
Passatge de la Font del Mont, 4
One of the few places in the city where you can enjoy a calçotada in a countryside setting, La Foixarda is the restaurant of the Mountjuïc ‘Hípica’ – the horse riding school. It’s nestled away in a leafy nook of Montjuïc, in between the MNAC and Poble Espanyol, and its secluded setting provides a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Plaza Mayor, 3-6 Poble Espanyol
Another delightful sun dappled spot at the foot of Collserola national park, head to El Racó de Collserola and you can expect a full on feast in a relaxed setting. They specialise in calçots and barbecued meats, while the service is stellar and the location makes it the perfect lunch spot during a weekend hike.
Ctra. de l'Església, km 5, 8
Ready to dive into the calçotada experience! There’s no better way than to do it yourself! This wonderful woodland location is just 20 minutes from the centre of Barcelona by FGC train (S1 or S2) – round up some friends, buy a shed-load of calçots from a local frutería, stock up on romesco, pan, botifarra and wine, and put on an unforgettable feast. Oh… and don’t forget to phone ahead on 625 96 52 52 to reserve your grill space.
Carrer Vallvidrera a Sant Cugat, Km. 6.5