The phrase A la Catalana can mean either with raisins and pine nuts, ' panses i pinyons' , or with a garnish of black pudding. Al meu avi means, 'granny's way,' and indicates super traditional cooking. Al mercat , literally, 'to the market', implies freshness and it is the latest 'in' thing, but this is really rather a silly phrase, as if someone would advertise that they specialised in stale veg, putrid meats or rotten fish! Casolana means home style cooking. Some places specialise in A la Brasa which means grilled over a wood fire. This is very popular these days as most people can't do this at home. Good a la brasa cooking is highly skilled, the knack is to grill things slowly over a smouldering log, breaking off chunks of glowing wood embers to keep the heat even, so if you see the fireplace at the end of the bar being managed in just this way you could be in for a treat.
Expert guided food tours in Barcelona by Nick Lloyd of Iberianature.
See aslo a brief guide to Catalan food by Simon Rice