Catalonia is a very innovative region. Ferran Adria, chef at the Buli. His culinary skills have created a whole revolution of Catalan but also Spanish cuisine. Innovation is to be seen everywhere in many tables, but not in all. There are many restaurants in Barcelona which offer adaptions of many dishes served at the Buli or the Celler de Can Roca (world´s best restaurant in 2013) but without the need to expect for a very high bill, nor the problems associated with weeks or months of reservations in advance.
These trendy restaurants are special, but they are not what Catalan cuisine is all about… there is also a traditional side to Catalan cuisine, one that is highly attached to the land and the products that have been grown in the fields for centuries. Many of these products are prepared in a very simple way, grilled with the dried branches of the vines (this is why this sort of dish is great to be enjoyed during a wine tour from Barcelona) . Butifarra is a very good example of what we mean. White butifarra is made with pork meat and despite it is fatty (you cannot expect it to be different) it is something anyone who likes meat should try while in Catalonia. Butifarra goes well with meat.
If you want something different you can try calçots… which are slender onions traditionally harvested in Tarragona, south of Barcelona. Calçots are normally eaten in winter. They are grilled and have a very peculiar taste… though sometimes they are overpriced for what they actually are. The problem with them is that too many people want to eat them at the same time as part of tradition… demand is eventually higher than offer. Result? High prices for onions.
Escalibada is a must for any vegetarian. These stewed vegetables are really tasty and they are served in many different ways and combinations. They make a great side dish, but they can also be a salad, served with goat cheese, etc.