Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants: Restaurants in Barcelona
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Barcelona Local Expert
Barcelona’s Old City is one of the best areas for a romantic dinner and delicious food. Over the past few years, Barcelona and Spain on a whole have become a food lovers’ haven with innovative, new restaurants springing up everywhere. Ciutat Vella, in particular, is a hub for tasty, experimental gastro tapas, Catalan and Mediterranean Fusion and international cuisine including Asian, Italian and even a few new kosher restaurants as well.
The Gothic Quarter and Born neighborhoods are ideal if you’re looking for an intimate meal in an authentically Spanish/Catalan setting. Many of the restaurants are situated in old buildings, and even though most of them have been renovated, the charm of these historic buildings shines through thus providing for a truly romantic experience.
Ciutat Vella’s Raval and Poble Sec neighborhoods also provide for some excellent dining experiences. If you’re looking for rustic and African or Pakistani cuisine, the Raval has a large number of options. Poble Sec is home to three new Ferran Adria restaurants and is continuing to shine as one of Barcelona’s fastest up and coming ‘barrios’. If you’re looking for something that’s truly off the beaten path, check out some of the family-run diners and beautiful terraces in this area.
Casually appointed with wicker chairs and walls of stone, this restaurant exudes a chic, rustic feel. Strains of classical music can be heard by diners feasting on new Catalan cuisine such as chicken brochette, quail with soy and sesame, and paella in fish broth with prawns. Cafe L’Academia is typically Catalan with a slightly modern twist. Less ‘stuffy’ than other Catalan establishments, the food is authentic, and the vibe slightly more lively. Situated in Plaza Sant Jus, in the heart of the Gothic Quarter you’re surrounded by great bars and after dinner places to have a tasty and always needed, digestif.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: Cafe L’Academia serves a high quality Catalan/Mediterranean Fusion which is hard to find in Ciutat Vella
Sam’s expert tip: After dinner have a cocktail around the corner at Ginger bar
Read more about Café de l’Acadèmia →
Photo courtesy of Tickets
Ferran Adria’s newest addition to Barcelona’s tapas scene, Tickets is a refreshing spin on gastro-tapas, offering delicious, innovative dishes in a fun and youthful locale. Tapas can be ordered a la carte or ask for their surprise menu where you let the waiters order for you. Even if you have food restrictions or allergies, just tell the waiters and they’ll adapt the menu to meet your needs. They even offer a great wine pairing, just ask for their input. Although from the outside Tickets looks like you’re at a carnival with its bright colours and wooden chairs and tables, it’s an incredible gastronomic experience.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: Any restaurant by the Adria brothers has to be on the ‘must-try’ list
Sam’s expert tip: Best way to reserve is to book at midnight, 3 months prior to the day you want to go. It’s extremely hard to get reservations, but not impossible.
Read more about Tickets →
A beef lover’s paradise, El Foro cooks a mean Argentinean bife de chorizo and is one of the few places in Barcelona that knows how to make a steak ‘poco hecho’ (bloody rare). This lively, airy and spacious restaurant is excellent for dates, parties or just an intimate evening out amongst friends. When it comes to lunch, they have a very affordable three-course lunch menu. Even if you’re not a carnivore, you still have options; El Foro has an extensive menu including pasta, pizza and salad dishes amongst other Argentinean specialties. Every morning El Foro also features a small breakfast menu, with fresh orange juice; the restaurant also has free wi-fi.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: El Foro is the best place to go if you want an Argentinean cut of meat in Ciutat Vella
Sam’s expert tip: Try their Bianchi Malbec, an excellent and reasonably priced Argentinean wine. They also have a tasty and cheap, three-course menu del dia for lunch.
Read more about El Foro →
There are few Barcelona restaurants able to beat the charm, elegance and eclectic menu found at Montiel. Hidden on one of the narrow side streets in the Born, this small, two-story restaurant has mouth watering tapas, meats, starters and above all they have an excellent selection of fresh fish daily. One of the only places in the city that has fish on Mondays (for the most part fish is not caught and sold on Sundays), this is a sure bet for dates, guests or an intimate evening out. Be sure to reserve on line in advance as its a small restaurant and it fills up quickly.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: Montiel is a gem in Ciutat Vella as it serves extremely tasty, high quality cuisine
Sam’s expert tip: Try their sirloin steak and tuna tartar
Read more about Montiel →
Mediterranean inspired cuisine with Spanish influence, this intimate and elegant restaurant is an excellent find in the heart of the Old City. Pla has an extensive menu including fish, meats, salads as well as seasonal specialties and mouth watering desserts. It’s classy yet unpretentious and a perfect place to spend a truly enjoyable evening. The waiters will pull up a bar stool as they come to your hotel to take your order. They’ll sit with you until you’ve decided and remain very attentive throughout the duration of the meal. Try to get a table upstairs as the ambiance is a ‘tad’ more intimate.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: Pla is one of the most romantic and intimate restaurants in the Gothic Quarter
Sam’s expert tip: Be sure to reserve and keep in mind dinner is done in shifts so you only have two hours to eat from the time you sit down (which is usually enough).
Read more about Pla →
With its hanging disco ball, plush leather seats and wooden tables, many Ginger fans have coined this trendy wine and cocktail bar as an ‘airport lounge’. It is however, rather known for it’s innovative cocktails, wide selection of amazing wine and high quality tapas. This is a Barcelona gem, ideal for weekend adventures, intimate drinks and lively evenings on the town. Ginger is nestled behind Plaza Sant Jaume, in Plaza San Jus a little hard to find if you don’t know where to look, but once you stumble upon it you’ll be sure to mark the spot. After dinner check out some of the clubs around the corner in Plaza Reial.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: Ginger is the Old City’s best cocktail bar and it also serves delicious quality tapas
Sam’s expert tip: Try their tuna tartar and duck tapas dishes as well as the Gordito wine.
Read more about Ginger Bar →
An excellent gastro tapas bar in the Old City right near Arc De Triomf at the edge of the Born neighborhood. Elsa y Fred sports an early 1920’s decor and provides an elegant understated vibe. It’s a great place for a morning coffee and paper, tapas lunch and delicious dinner. On Tuesday nights they have Jazz and on weekends they’re always packed for brunch. This is a new addition to the Born neighborhood and one of the only places in the area (upper Born) that serves high quality tapas and wines. The staff are mostly Argentinean and are all extremely friendly.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: Elsa Y Fred is Ciutat Vella’s newest and trendiest take on gastro tapas
Sam’s expert tip: Be sure to reserve in advance on Tuesdays and on the weekends
Read more about Elsa Y Fred →
Photo courtesy of En Aparte
A slice of Paris in the heart of Barcelona’s Ciutate Vella, if you’re in the mood for a french cafe/bistro, this is the place to go. Run by all French staff, this rustic, quaint and incredibly personable cafe acts as a restaurant as well as a late night wine bar. It’s an ideal place to set up shop and work for the day using their free Wi-Fi while sipping on a glass of Bordeaux accompanied with a plate of Comte cheese. The restaurant has also launched it’s ‘menu del dia’ (daily menu), served every day from 12:30-4:30 and is now open on Mondays.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: En Aparte serves the best French cuisine in Ciutat vella
Sam’s expert tip: Try their Comte and Grison salad
Read more about En Aparte →
Photo courtesy of LaVietnamita
A trendy take on Vietnamese street food, this deli now has two locations, one in Gracia and one in the Born neighborhood. Priding themselves on serving fresh and healthy dishes, their motto is: ‘we mind food’ and they put their money where their mouth is. LaVietnamita is a tasty Asian and Spanish fusion option in a cool setting with great service. They also cater to dietary needs. After you’re finished dinner, you can stroll along Passeig Del Born and have a drink at the always lively bars including Pitin and No Name Cafe. And if you’re up for a night on the town, Magic Club is right around the corner.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: This is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the city
Sam’s expert tip: Try their fideua and chicken dish
Read more about LaVietnamita →
Photo courtesy of Barraca
If you’re looking for tasty seafood, exceptional paella and a host of options including vegan dishes, Barraca is the optimal choice. Overlooking the beach, floor to ceiling windows line the upper floor of this restaurant, providing for gorgeous views, especially if you get to sit near the window. The food is delicious, with a particular focus on their fish and paella dishes. The staff are quick to accommodate and willing to adapt for dietary restrictions. It’s also one of the only restaurants with a strictly vegan paella, which is mouth watering. Barraca is the perfect restaurant for a great lunch on the beach.
Recommended for Ciutat Vella’s Best Restaurants because: A delicious seafood restaurant overlooking the water with great service and wonderful views
Sam’s expert tip: Be sure to reserve in advance, especially on the weekends as it fills up extremely quickly
Read more about Barraca →
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Sam’s passion for the sea and mountains makes Barcelona the optimal living destination.
Sam’s love for traveling has taken her to Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Before… More About Sam
Best Restaurants in Barcelona | Frommer’s
Barcelona’s cuisine shot into the limelight with the media’s celebration of local man Ferran Adrià as the “greatest chef in the world,” founder of Spain’s famed El Bulli (now closed). Nowadays, gifted chefs are free to experiment, mingling traditional local dishes like pigeon with pears, cherries with anise, or pig’s trotters with crab. The resultant hybrid plato is usually a delicious new taste experience.
Of course, not everyone aspires to such dizzying heights when eating out, so it’s nice to see the trickle-down effect of all these top culinary concepts reaching more modest and affordable dining spots. Whether you’re dining in an old-style tavern, having a late supper in one of the new cutting-edge eateries, picking at tapas at a bar, or launching into an alfresco paella, the quality of the food is usually high and the variety imaginative. Vegetarians can dine in an increasing number of creative spots, especially in the Old City. There are lots of modest international restaurants in the earthy South American, Greek, and Middle Eastern areas of El Raval.
One reason why Barcelona has evolved into one of the world’s top gastronomic destinations is La Boqueria. The great market displays everything that is available in the city, from the catch of the day to still-warm-from-the-sun berries. With no mystery about ingredients, the chefs and cooks have to work their magic to make a dish that is somehow even better than the pristine ingredients you saw in the market. Sometimes that’s as simple as pá amb tomate—toasted or grilled bread rubbed with fresh tomato, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt. In tomato season, it is served instead of a breadbasket.
You can eat fabulously at some of the most old-fashioned and casual spots in the city—places like Cal Pep, or the ultimate comfort food restaurant, Los Caracoles. But Barcelona is one of the world’s great eating cities, so it’s worth splurging here if you can. It need not break the bank; some of the top chefs have opened tapas restaurants and other bargain venues to showcase their culinary creativity using less expensive materials. Barcelona dining hours are closer to the European standard than in Madrid. Lunch is usually served from about 1:30 to 3pm (and can represent a great bargain), and dinner starts around 8pm, although dining before 9pm is unfashionable.
What Makes Catalan Cuisine?
Much of what Barcelona’s feted new chefs do is put an avant-garde twist on traditional Catalan cuisine. But what is that exactly? Like its language, what Catalans eat is different from the rest of Spain and varies within the region, from the Mediterranean coastline and islands to the inland villages and Pyrénées mountains. Like Catalan culture, the cuisine looks out toward the rest of Europe (especially France) and the Mediterranean arc, rather than inward toward Castile. Many of the techniques and basic recipes can be traced back to medieval times, and as any Catalan is only too willing to point out, the quality of the produce proceeding from the Països Catalans (Catalan Countries) is some of the best available. The same goes for the locally produced wine. The D.O.s (domaines ordinaires) of the Penedès and Priorat regions are now as internationally renowned as La Rioja, and the local cava (sparkling, champagne-type wine) is consumed at celebratory tables from Melbourne to Manchester.
If there is one food dish that symbolizes Catalan cuisine, it is pa amb tomàquet. Invented as a way of softening stale bread during the lean years of the Civil War, there is barely a restaurant in Catalonia, from the most humble workman’s canteen to the Michelin-starred palace, that does not have this on their menu. In its simplest form, pa amb tomàquet is a slice of rustic white bread rubbed with the pulp of a cut tomato and drizzled with olive oil. Top the bread with cheese, pâté, chorizo, or Iberian ham — this is then called a torrada. The idea is ingeniously simple, and like most ingeniously simple ideas, it works wonderfully. Catalans wax lyrical about it, and you will soon be hooked.
Catalan cuisine is marked by taste combinations that seem at odds with each other; red meat and fish are cooked in the same dish, nuts are pulped for sauces, poultry is cooked with fruit, pulse (bean) dishes are never vegetarian, there is not one part of a pig that is not consumed, and imported, salted cod is the favorite Catalan fish. Concoctions popping up on menus time and time again include zarzuela (a rich fish stew), botifarra amb mongetes (pork sausage with white beans), faves a la catalana (broad beans with Iberian ham), samfaina (a sauce of eggplant/aubergine, peppers, and zucchini/courgette), esqueixada (a salted cod salad), fideuà (similar to a paella, but with noodles replacing the rice), and mel i mato (a soft cheese with honey). It’s hearty and more elaborate than other food of southern Spain. In its most traditional form, Catalan cuisine doesn’t suit light appetites, which is why many locals have only one main meal a day, normally at lunchtime, with perhaps a supper of a torrada in the evening. Breakfast is also a light affair: A milky coffee (café con leche in Spanish, café amb llet in Catalan) with a croissant or doughnut.
Eating in Barcelona
Catalans generally lunch between 2 and 4pm and dine after 9pm. Most restaurant kitchens stay open in the evenings until about 11pm. Try making lunch your main meal and take advantage of the menú del día (lunch of the day) offered in the majority of eateries. It normally consists of three courses (wine and/or coffee and dessert included) and is a cost-effective way of trying out pricier restaurants.
Tipping always confuses visitors as some restaurants list the IVA (sales tax) separately on the bill. This is not a service charge; in fact, it is illegal for restaurants in Barcelona to charge for service. As a general rule, tips (in cash) of about 5% should be left in cheap to moderate places and 10% in expensive ones. In bars, leave a few coins or round your bill up to the nearest euro.
Vegetarian restaurants are on the increase. Apart from tortillas, few traditional tavernas serve veggie food, and always double-check: The Catalan word carn (carne in Spanish) only refers to red meat. Asking for a dish “without” (sens in Catalan, sin in Spanish) does not guarantee that it will arrive fish-or chicken-free.
When Something Spanish Just Won’t Do
Spaniards and Catalans do many things well in the kitchen. But among the weak links in the local cuisine are bread (usually bland and lacking in texture), pasta, and ice cream. So once you’ve had your fill of tapas, remember that neither France nor Italy are far away.
Superb breads and buttery croissants (unlike the local “normal” version which is made of lard or olive oil), for instance, can be found in Barcelona in a few places, like the delectable Crustó in Eixample at Carrer Valencia, 236 (www.crusto.es), or the two Baluard bakeries, one in Eixample at Carrer Provença, 279, and the original at Carrer Baluard, 38, in Barceloneta (www. baluardbarcelona.com).
Authentic Italian gelato is proudly mixed daily by a couple who are half-American (wife Tracy) and half-Italian (husband Giovanni) in Swiit, a friendly gelateria with a lovely Gothic Quarter location at Baixada de Viladecols, 2c (www.swiitbarcelona.com).
Real Neapolitan pizza is dished out by real Neapolitans at several locations, including the homey but delicious Sports Bar Italian Food, Carrer Ample, 51, and at NAP (Neapolitan Authentic Pizza) in two locations, one in the Born and one in Barceloneta (www.facebook.com/nap.pizzeria).
Can’t wait for that next trip to Italy for the perfect dish of pasta? Visit the cozy and friendly trattoria Bacaro, behind the Boqueria on a narrow alley called Jerusalem #6 (www.bacarobarcelona.com).
Mexican food is finally finding an audience here (Iberians don’t like it picante), and a host of taquerias offer variations on the Mexican theme, where you can order it hot, or not. Our favorites are Costa Pacifico on the lovely Plaça Sant Augurtí Vell (www.costapacifico.es), dirt-cheap Taco Alto, Carrer del Portal Nou, 62, near Arco de Trionfo (www.tacoalto.es), and the hip Machete Street Food in the Gothic Quarter on Carrer Ample, 20 (no website).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
The best restaurants in Barcelona – The Mandria Guide
Authentic Catalan dishes can be tasted in small, home-style restaurants that are located on the streets remote from the tourist trails, as well as in the city center in more fashionable establishments.
The Michelin Restaurant Guide has not bypassed Barcelona, where the cult of food reigns, and has awarded local culinary specialists with its stars. It should be recalled that the “red guide” distributes the stars once a year and it is not the restaurants that receive it, but the chefs, who, in the event of their departure, have the right to “take” the star with them.
Restaurants in Barcelona
Restaurants in Barcelona are slow to get new customers. They do not open their doors to visitors on Sunday, Monday and on holidays, both religious and national. These restaurants are open for lunch and dinner. So if you want to have lunch, then come by 12:30 but not later than 15:30, otherwise you will not be served. Catalans dine late, so restaurants open after 19:30, and some even at 20:30.
When planning your visits to starred restaurants, book tables in advance, because often there are simply no empty seats. Do not be surprised – in restaurants, regardless of their level, the waiters work slowly. You can wait for the menu for 20 minutes, the order is also taken for a long time. So relax and enjoy the atmosphere around you.
Avoid the Las Ramblas. Sometimes, the cost of dishes in them is higher than in famous restaurants.
The cooking process in the ABaC restaurant
In 2019, two restaurants in Barcelona were awarded three Michelin stars at once – Lasarte (Mallorca 259) and ABaC (av. del Tibidabo 1). Lunch in these establishments will cost €105-245. Note that these stars celebrate the special, creative work of the chef.
More restaurants with two stars – Disfrutar (Villarroel 163), Enoteca (Marina 19), Cocina Hermanos Torres (Taquígraf Serra 20), Moments (passeig de Gràcia 38-40). The average check in these establishments is up to €200. These restaurants are worth stopping by to try their original cuisine.
There are many more one-star restaurants in Barcelona. Their list and, accordingly, addresses, websites can be found on the official page of the Michelin Red Guide. For lunch in these restaurants you will pay around €100.
Original places in Barcelona
Restaurant Els Quatre Gats
In addition to Michelin-starred restaurants in the Catalan capital, there are several iconic establishments that both Barcelona residents and visitors love to visit.
I call restaurant Four Cats (Els Quatre Gats) a bohemian place, the menu of which was designed by Pablo Picasso. Salvador Dali liked to spend time here. On Calle Quintana (Gothic Quarter) is the oldest establishment in Barcelona (1786) – Can Culleretes , which has been owned by the same Martinez family since its founding. Restaurant 7 Portes (“7 doors”) has been operating on Isabel II Square since 1836. Here, like a century ago, you can feel the aristocratic atmosphere, and at night listen to the performance of classical piano works.
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The best restaurants in Barcelona: 7 Portes
Having everything necessary to become a grand finale of a gastronomic tour of Barcelona, 7 Portes (“Seven Doors”), as a rule, opens it, bringing down its power on a poor tourist who has barely recovered from a long journey. And all because cafes and restaurants are usually given by guidebooks in alphabetical order, and the lucky starting number in the name automatically puts 7 Portes to the top of the list.
Nine years ago, when I took my first steps in Barcelona, it was exactly like this: I opened the directory, saw the name, found the street on the map and drove off. The tail of 25-30 of the same lovers of simple solutions, stretching from the doors of the restaurant, of course, slightly upset, but we are used to standing in line for food, especially since it was an indirect sign that the matter was clearly worthwhile.
As it turned out quite recently, it’s also far from always possible to reserve a table in advance, you can hear something like this: “for tonight we have already exhausted all the reservations, please come, we will definitely serve you, although you will have to wait a bit.” Nothing inspires faith in tomorrow like the sight of a suffering queue behind glass, so if you suddenly feel how the last three words of this phrase are savored, show mercy.
The history of the establishment is long, bright and mysterious, hardly any other place in the city can boast of a similar one, and since it takes time to state it even in telegraphic language, especially for those readers who are currently choosing a restaurant for the evening, let me myself to change the classic sequence of the story: I will immediately draw a conclusion, and only then I will whip up intrigue on the way to the climax.
So, summing up everything that has been said below, I summarize that this is a wonderful restaurant where you will feel comfortable, you will eat delicious food, you will be well served, and even though your bill will not be record low (dinner with a reasonable amount of wine costs 60- 65 euros per guest), you will most likely show the bill to friends and relatives later, and the reason is not in numbers. Address: Passeig d´Isabel II, 8-14 (nearest metro Barceloneta ), phone: 931 594 297. building Porxos d´En Xifré (“Cifre Colonnades”) – a building in which a restaurant (and then it was still a cafe) occupies part of the ground floor. The first owner and, as they would say now, the developer of the house was Josep Xifre ( Josep Xifré ), a personality too bright to regret two paragraphs of text on him.
Like many wealthy Catalans of those times, Josep Chiffre made his fortune on the plantations of Cuba, where he emigrated when another economic crisis struck in Spain. For those who, with a bag of money and a proudly raised head, returned home after all the adventures, the Spaniards came up with a special term – indiano (more on this can be read here). Since a separate word has been introduced into use, it may seem that the case of Josep Cipher was typical. The scheme of earnings – yes, it was typical, the amount of money that this person brought to Barcelona was atypical. Ordinary Indiano houses, although they stand out for their excess luxury, are still houses for a large family with a detachment of servants, and the house of Senor Xifre could well accommodate the parliament or government of Catalonia.
After settling in Barcelona, Josep Xifre did good deeds: he invested in the Catalan economy, financed cultural projects and donated to charity. In 1850, he was even invited to head the city hall, but was not persuaded. Another section of his resume belongs to our topic today – Josep Cipher was an influential, drumroll, Freemason.
Of course, this information came to me not at the next meeting of the lodge, where my colleagues and I decided the fate of the world, but from completely open sources. The Government of Barcelona sponsored the publication of a special guidebook, Walking in Masonic Barcelona, in which Cipher’s residence is given a place of honor. In particular, it talks about the interior of the institution, that floor tiles in the form of a chessboard are typical for Masons’ houses and places where the lodge meets, and acacia leaves in the pattern of ceramic tiles decorating the walls also decorate the master Mason’s ritual apron. .
When the cafe opened, it had no sign and, accordingly, no name, as if no one set the task of making a successful commercial enterprise, but simply wanted to get a comfortable place for coffee breaks. The name of the first manager of the institution, Josep Cuyas, a well-known Barcelona merchant, is also associated with the Masonic movement, therefore, putting together all the facts, one can fantasize about what was supposed to be said in an undertone at the tables.
The inauguration of the cafe was widely reported in gossip columns, which is not surprising, given the personality of Mr. Cipher. The fact that seven doors were open to the public was taken as a kind of sign – the number is not easy, and since the owners did not bother with the name, the journalists lent their shoulder – the cafe became known as the “seven doors cafe”, with which Josep Cuyas argue did not. At some point, this name appeared on a sign.
It was quite successful to make the first floor of the Cipher house a gathering place for politicians, businessmen and intellectuals: among the guests of the cafe, in particular, were those who ruled the city after the overthrow of Queen Isabella II in 1868. It should be noted here that the driving force of that revolution, also known under the colorful names of La Gloriosa and La Septembrina were generals Juan Prim and Francisco Serrano , again freemasons.
At some point, the Masonic trace in the history of the institution is lost, only the main milestones are available to the general public: an infrequent change of owners, the transformation of a cafe into an entertainment establishment with billiards, card games and song-dance ensembles and, finally, “full back” and a change in concept in 1929 when a sign next to the name 7 Portes The word “restaurant” first appeared.
In 1942, the place passes into the hands of Paco Parellada ( Paco Parellada ), a fifth or sixth generation restaurateur, owner of the restaurant Fonda Europa founded in 1771 in the town of Granullers near Barcelona. On the official website of 7 Portes , the event is described in two innocent phrases: “Tired of doing business, in the early 40s, the Morera family decided to sell the restaurant. A group of businessmen from among the regular customers turned to Paco Pareyada with a request to lead the enterprise.” Probably, at that time in Barcelona there were great difficulties with where to eat, since the “group” was so upset that they stuck their nose a little into what was not their business.
Anyway, if you count from Señor Paco, now the third generation of the Pareyada family owns the restaurant, takes an active part in the management and makes sure that the place has a great chef. Now is the time to take a break from the secret hand and the all-seeing eye, finally revealing the menu card.
All the traditional local dishes are here, so we label Catalan cuisine . There are, of course, hundreds of restaurants with this identification in Barcelona, most of which offer you food without fuss, as they say, “home-style”. This is not the case at all0043 7 Portes , but pointing to traditional cuisine will at least save time for hunters of pizzas, pork knuckles and kebabs. Olivier salad ( ensaladilla rusa ) – don’t count, this shrine belongs to the whole world, and you will find it in the map 7 Portes too.
Starters are presented in the menu in three groups: cold, hot and cannelloni. Perhaps not everyone knows the last word, so let’s start with it.
Cannelloni are pasta tubes stuffed with something tasty and baked in the oven. Despite their Italian origin, they have long been a classic Catalan dish and are offered by all establishments focused on local cuisine. 7 Portes sets a difficult task – the guest will have to choose from four positions: cannelloni with vegetables, cannelloni with fish and seafood, the restaurant’s signature recipe – cannelloni with veal and chicken, and Canelones trufados de Fiesta Mayor – its festive version, invented once for day of the city and since then has not left the menu – here, in addition to meat, truffles are also waiting for you.
Seeing the abundance of salads and appetizers that the menu card offers, it is easy to fall into a stupor. For such cases, I developed a simple rule for myself: “if you don’t know what to order in a Catalan restaurant, take an escalivada.”
Escalivada are grilled or oven-roasted eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and onions that can be eaten alone or with anchovies on toast, for example. In the menu 7 Portes , in addition to the classic version of this snack, the so-called “lame” escalivada ( escalivada esguerrada ) is also offered, where only peppers are left from the traditional ingredients. Recognition of the inferiority of the dish, however, should not be confusing – the chef, adding pieces of cod and pine nuts to the peppers, has created a small gastronomic masterpiece and is simply flirting.
Of the almost two dozen fish and seafood positions, I would recommend everything except the large assorted trays: the freshness of the original products and the quality of their preparation are beyond doubt, but I remember feeling strange in such a chic place, mercilessly unscrewing the claws and breaking the shells, so that, as a result, getting dirty from hand to head, they put a nanoportion of priceless meat in their mouths (for such entertainment, restaurants in the Olympic port are better suited: for example, Barca del Salamanca or Taberna Gallega ).
A separate section of the menu – paella: with fish, with seafood, with meat, vegetarian, with cuttlefish ink, with vermicelli instead of rice ( fideuà ) and two personalized special recipes: paella Parellada, often found in Barcelona restaurants and exotic paella Manolete (paella Manolete), which cannot be left unsaid.
Thanks to the whims of Julie Pareyade, we have the opportunity to eat peleus without getting our hands dirty – all clams, shrimp and other sea creatures are pre-cleaned before getting into the pan, and bones are removed from the pieces of meat. At the end of the 19th century, Senor Pareyada was a regular visitor to Café Suís on the Rambla, where a personal table was always waiting for him and where every chef knew what to do if the waiter loudly shouted “Paella Pareyada”. Other guests of the cafe quickly appreciated the situation and also began to order an improved dish, and soon the fashion spread to the entire Barcelona catering. Since the surname “Pareiyada” has already been mentioned in this text, it must be clarified that nothing connects Don Julie with Paco Pareyada, to whom 7 Portes went in the middle of the 20th century. As someone once joked well in a similar situation, they are not relatives or even namesakes.
Now let’s move on to the second recipe. Manolete, the famous Spanish matador of the 40s, became famous for the many new tricks he introduced into bullfighting, and after his death in the arena at the age of only 30, he became a legend. The recipe for his favorite paella, in addition to rice, includes fish, chicken and pork. Manolete’s relationship with beef has somehow gone wrong since birth.
Due to the fact that so much attention is paid to fish and seafood in the menu, Barcelona guidebooks often refer to the restaurant as “fish”, and because of this, meat-eaters are deprived of the opportunity to try the most tender veal steak and baked goat.
Looking through the wine list, we note with satisfaction that all the famous regions are in place: Rioja , Ribera del Duero , Priorat . Desserts – two dozen to choose from, not counting ice cream and sorbets. If you like cottage cheese, try mel i mató – this dessert, although a Catalan classic, is not available anywhere. Cottage cheese for us may seem a little bland in taste, but these are direct deliveries from Montserrat.
Having made an order, let’s look around – who are these wonderful people who are sitting at the neighboring tables? Many restaurants are especially proud of their celebrity patrons and try to tell the world about it in one way or another. In the halls of 7 Portes there are no photographs of Bill Clinton embracing the chef or an autograph of Mike Tyson, here they went the other way: near each table on the wall there is a sign with the name of the most “difficult” person from those who once ate at this table.
I was lucky enough to sit in the seat of Chavela Vargas, a Mexican singer known not only for her songs, but also for her lifestyle: Señora Vargas was an alcoholic, smoked everything that was smoked, and preferred women; two years ago, Chavela Vargas, at the age of 93, left us to decide which of the following is more unhealthy in the end. The neighboring tables “belonged” to Yoko Ono and Lou Reed, for me personally it was already much warmer. When the waiter saw me taking pictures of the signs, he could not resist and finished me off with the information that Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Ernesto Che Guevara and King Juan Carlos I of Spain, among others, have their own places in the restaurant.
If, during his lifetime, Che Guevara would be caught in a company similar to the one organized for him in 7 Portes , his revolutionary image would inevitably suffer: on the right hand – the official heir to the Spanish crown Felipe, on the left – Queen Margaret of Sweden.
Well, signs and signs, I’m also creative. But the theme of celebrity guests will take on an elegant twist when it’s time to take out your wallet: each bill has the name of the person at whose table you were sitting, so at 7 Portes you can not only spend an evening with great taste, but also become the owner of a valuable artifact.