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Several sound reasons to seek out La Singular in Barcelona

25th May 2017

 Salad with figs, feta cheese and a mint vinaigrette


La Singular is one of my favourite restaurants for both lunch and dinner.

Here are several sound reasons why:

Price for lunch:

For the menú diari [menú del día], which includes bread and wine, or beer, or water, you’ll pay 10,40€.

Ajoblanco de prèssec de vinya, pernil i menta — cold garlic and almond soup with peach, ham and mint as served at La Singular

Price for dinner:

  • Starters and first courses cost between 2,50€ and 6€.
  • Mains cost around 8€ — 15€.
Lasagne at La Singular

Lasagna de brandada de bacalao y mousselina gratinada de albaricoques.(Salt cod and pureed potato lasagne with apricots and a mousse.)

Choice:

  • The fixed-price lunch menu offers a choice of 4 first courses, 3 or 4 second courses and 3 or 4 desserts.
  • An extensive à la carte menu is available in the evening,

 

Pollo i espagueti amb salsa i menta — Chicken and spaghetti, sauce and mint as served at La Singular

Pollo i espagueti amb salsa i menta — Chicken and spaghetti, sauce and mint as served at La Singular

Quality:

Ingredients, preparation and presentation are all reliably excellent. I have never had a duff plate here.

Carpaccio de alcachofas, jamón de pato, parmesano y crema de balsámico trufado. (Carpaccio of artichokes, duck 'ham' with a balsamic reduction wit truffles.)

Carpaccio de alcachofas, jamón de pato, parmesano y crema de balsámico trufado. (Carpaccio of artichokes, with parmesan cheese, duck ‘ham’, spotted with a balsamic and black truffle reduction.)

Taste:

The food offered here is playfully inventive, joyfully combining meat, fish and cheese with fresh seasonal fruits, berries, herbs, dried fruits, nuts and veggies to produce wonderfully balanced, flavoursome dishes. Delicious.

Pastís de carne i moixernons, pure i la seva salsa — Meatloaf with mushrooms, mashed potato and house sauce as served at La Singular.

Pastís de carne i moixernons, pure i la seva salsa — Meatloaf with mushrooms, mashed potato, pistachios and house sauce as served at La Singular.

Service:

Polite and businesslike. Timing very good; attentive without being intrusive. English can be spoken.

It is not possible to reserve a table for lunch.

“Pollo Singular” — muslitos en escabeche suave de naranja y hummus de guisantes y espécies. (Chicken thighs in an orange marinade with a spiced pea hummus.

Ambience:

Thoughtfully lit, tastefully decorated, intimate, cosy, squeezed space with a very comfortable noise level.

As you walk into the dining-room you’ll pass the small kitchen area and see dishes being prepared.

Pollastre farcit amb prunes, orellanes i taronja amb cous cous de fruites — Chicken stuffed with prunes, apricot and orange with cous cous and diced fruit as served at La Singular. bn

Pollastre farcit amb prunes, orellanes i taronja amb cous cous de fruites — Chicken stuffed with prunes, apricot and orange with cous cous and diced fruit as served at La Singular.

Value:

Excellent. Probably the best value lunch in the city.

Interior of La Singular

In Sum: 

Over the years I’ve dined here more than a dozen times. Since January this year I’ve dined here three times.  And, I’ll be going again next week.

“Rabbit with chocolate? That ain’t  gonna work.” But it does.

“Duck with banana, passion fruit and pistachios… are you serious? Get outta here.”  It shouldn’t work — but it does.

Here is a link to their current evening menu (in Spanish): MENU.

Without exception, every person I have taken here, including a chef, a sous chef, a cook and a caterer, have all been more than a little impressed by the food here.

This isn’t some geeky, hipster bunch of wannabes throwing together wacky combos for the sake of it — more a sincere, playful attempt to please, entertain and satisfy — and it does.

Location:

At the heart of Gràcia, just around the corner from the Ajuntament (Town Hall), a minute stroll from Plaça de la Vila (Town Hall square).

Open on Mondays. Closed on Sundays. Closed for lunch on Fridays.

LINKS:

Go HERE for my Spotted by Locals write-up with a map and all the info on opening hours. Download the app HERE.

Restaurante La Singular website: HERE

Carrer Francisco Giner, 50

Call: (+34) 93 237 5098

Restaurants

Make tracks to Tram-Tram in Barcelona

22nd December 2016
Amuse bouches at Tram-Tram, Barcelona

Tram-Tram, a family owned, family run restaurant, is an excellent spot for small get-togethers, or, perhaps, a romantic rendezvous, and a good introduction to contemporary Catalan cuisine. It's a small, perfectly formed and tastefully decorated restaurant, with private dining-rooms and a pleasant leafy patio.

Isidre Soler, the chef, (who spent time training with Ferran Adrià at El Bulli before it became internationally known) takes evident, painstaking pride in the preparation and presentation of his exquisite dishes.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have dined for lunch and dinner here a few times over the past thirteen years. I’ve dined in the general interior dining area, a private dining-room and in the patio. Never disappointed about any aspect of the experience.

Jamon-iberico-with-pa-amb-tomaquet-and-terrine-of-foie-gras-at-Tram-Tram

Price for lunch:

The menú del día, or almuerzo a precio fijo (fixed-price lunch), is 28€ and includes bread, water, a glass of cava or a glass of wine, and coffee.

Choice:

  • Tasting menu — offers five courses, with bread, and a dessert for 39,50€. Wine is extra — by the glass, between 3€ and 7€, and for 16€ you could have a very tasty bottle. The wine list offers a selection of 150 unpretentious wines.
  • El Festival — a surprise menu consisting of three tapas, four dishes, a cheeseboard and two desserts for 70€.
  • A lá carte — depending on the season, but the menu usually offers a choice of six starters, ten meat and fish dishes and six desserts. Prices for mains (entrées) are between 21€ and 28€ — and they offer ¾ size portions at appropriately reduced prices. In the autumn (fall) the menu will include a few game dishes.

All options include two amuse bouches — often an espuma (foam) or mousse of some kind and a sardine served with tongue teasing relishes.

Loin of cod with mushrooms squid-ink parsley reduction-and-chives

Quality:

Chef Soler uses only the very best ingredients — as is evident with every mouthful.

Sardine escabeche and espuma of courgette (zucchini) amuse bouches as served at Tram-Tram.

Taste:

The food — including original variations on classic dishes such as seafood paella and cochinillo (suckling pig) — is flavoursome without being rich, and is very, very good. It’s perhaps a strange observation, but there’s a certain clarity about the flavours here. Despite the complexity of some of the dishes — for example, Royal hare with foie gras and sweet potatoes — none of the flavours dominate but each are evident on the tongue.

Cochinillo (suckling pig) as served at Tram-Tram.

Service:

Service is excellent, the waiters, neatly turned out in white Nehru jackets, are very attentive though keep a discreet distance from your table, conscious to not interrupt the flow of your conversation. The very knowledgeable, and very helpful maitre'd will help you navigate the menu and off-menu specials, and guide you through the wine list. (An English version of the menu is available).

Ambience:

The overall feel is very restful, akin to dining in a wealthy friend’s home. There’s no rush, no bother, no drama — everything is just so.

Value:

You could pay a lot more for a lot less. You’ll be paying for reliably excellent food professionally served in a comfortable and restful ambience. You’ll likely feel better about yourself when you leave.

Pear and mango dessert as served at Tram-Tram

Michelin Guide:

If such things matter to you then you’ll be reassured to know that Tram-Tram is mentioned, although not starred, in the Michelin Guide for Barcelona.

In sum…

All in all, excellent value and highly recommended. Bon profit!

Location

Carrer Major de Sarrià, 121

Sarrià

Above Passeig de la Bonanova

​WEBSITE: HERE

SarriàALL FGC trains departing from Plaça Catalunya and Provença, EXCEPT L7, call at Sarrià.

MondayCLOSED
Tuesday1:30PM–3:30PM
Wednesday1:30PM–3:30PM & 9PM –10:30PM
Thursday1:30PM–3:30PM & 9PM –10:30PM
Friday1:30PM–3:30PM & 9PM –10:30PM
Saturday1:30PM–3:30PM & 9PM –10:30PM
Sunday1:30PM–3:30PM
Bar Restaurants

Lunch at Palermo on Mallorca in Barcelona

11th November 2016

Our restaurants and bars offer a wide and wild variety of cuisines and creative dishes.

However, grazing on tapas and fine dining is both wearing on the wallet and bruising on the palate. There are times while out and about when you want something more substantial than a snack, something a little more ordinary — more home style than stylish. The kind of food our city’s bar-restaurants excel at.

Salmorejo as served at Palermo, Barcelona

Palermo is another favourite lunch spot. They offer a very good menú diari [menú del día] which regularly features traditional dishes such as codillo al horno (knuckle), estofado de vedella (veal stew) or estofado de ternera (beef stew) and, of course, paella on Thursdays. The menú includes a bottle of vino tinto (red table wine) or beer.

Codillo al horno as served at Palermo.

During the summer they offer excellent cold soups such as salmorejo — tomato and breadcrumb soup served with ham and boiled egg — and melon and ham gazpacho.

And, they also offer an excellent arroz caldoso de bogavante (a soupy lobster and rice dish). Very tasty. Highly recommended.

Arroz caldoso de bogavante as served at Palermo.

Or, you can order off an extensive menu.

It's very popular at lunchtime so expect a ten-minute wait for a table — they’ll happily serve you a drink while you wait.

Lubina (sea bass) as served as part of the menú del día at Palermo.

Quality

The quality of the food here is very good. Everything tastes very fresh.

Value

Menú del día: 10,95€ including tax.

Arroz caldoso de bogavante: 15,95€ per person including tax, minimum 2 persons.

Ambience

Smart, modern and clean interior with outside seating. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with legal workers, shop and office staff, construction workers, families and elderly neighbours. It’s a busy place and can get a bit bustly between 2pm and 3pm — but it's all good fun. If you like humans, and find them fascinating, you'll like this place.

Service

Excellent. The wait staff here are very experienced, assiduous and very helpful.

In Sum…

If visiting La Pedrera or Casa de les Punxes, or on your way to or from the Sagrada Familia, and feeling peckish, then it’s a safe bet they'll have something you’ll like.

NEW FEATURE: Click on the map, eye and Metro icons below and access more information.

Location

Carrer de Mallorca, 280,

Dreta de l'Eixample.

Intersection: C/Roger de Llúria — below Avinguda Diagonal.


Nearby

  • La Pedrera
  • Casa de les Punxes
  • Casa Thomas

93 458 2408

Website: HERE

Verdaguer or Girona

Verdaguer

Monday7AM–12Midnight
Tuesday7AM–12Midnight
Wednesday7AM–12Midnight
Thursday7AM–12Midnight
Friday7AM–12Midnight
Saturday8.30AM-5PM
SundayClosed

                             Bon Profit!

Snack Bars

A pizza and a pint of beer in Barcelona for less than $6

28th April 2016

Our restaurants and bars offer a wide and wild variety of cuisines and creative dishes.

Even the most ardent foodie will confess that grazing on tapas and dining in fine restaurants is both wearing on the wallet and bruising on the palate.

When out and about there will come a time when you want something more ordinary… a tasty, light bite.

Well… you could grab a pizza.

And, one of the best places to grab a pizza in Barcelona is Lucania II in Gràcia.

For less than the average price of a Bikini (grilled ham and cheese sandwich) you can enjoy a delicious, freshly prepared pizza margarita.

​Variety

20 plus variations — including one of my favourites: minced beef cooked in beer with bacon, plus two or three daily specials. 

​A printed menu, describing the toppings is available in English. Here's the current (though incomplete) list in català:

Lucania II menu of pizzas, Barcelona2016

​Quality

Flavour? We're not talking over-aired, spongy, doughy, cakey bases here…we're tasting crispy, thin, deceptively light, perfectly seared imperfect squares of mediterranean deliciousness.

​They've got a real handle on combinations that work. Pere and his team have been preparing and serving pizzas for more than 26 years, and they're still dabbling with new recipes. Pere may even invite you to sample a new combination as you sit at the bar.

Value

​Obvious. The cheapest pizza is 2,60€ — the most expensive is 4,10€.

A pint of Estrella beer is only 2,75€

Ambience

It is what it is. No pretension whatsoever. No fake-o Italian frippery. No nonsense. No tablecloths. No cutlery — unless you ask.

Only well-made pizzas packed with flavour, two types of olive oil — normal and extra-picante (olive oil spiced with chillies) — and a bar filled with appreciative and friendly customers.

Service​

I don't know how they do it — but as packed and as bustly as it often gets, it's never too noisome, hassly or uncomfortable.  You'll never have to wait long. They've got the preparation and service down to pat.

​If you wanted you could make more of a meal of your visit by ordering a salad and a bottle of wine to accompany your pizzas, and finish off with a dessert and coffee.

​In Sum…

I'm really glad this place exists, it's a really good, reliable standby. We visit regularly, often calling in on the way to Cines Verdi to watch a movie. Or, other times I'll call by for lunch, or later during the day when out and about doing errands. I have never been disappointed.

Location

Carrer de Terol, 29-33, Gràcia. Not so very far from Plaça de la Revolució de Setembre de 1868 at the bottom of Carrer Verdi.

Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday: 1pm until 11.30pm.
Saturday: 2pm — 11.30pm
Closed Sunday

LINKS:

Spotted by Locals write-up: HERE

Bon profit!

Bar Restaurants

Why should you now do No Can Do in Barcelona?

26th February 2016

Nou Can Codina is one of my favourite bars for a beer and a bite.

It’s a favourite with the family too. We have a pet name for the place — No Can Do.

“Shall we do No Can Do?” someone might say. “Yes — let’s do No Can Do.”

And so it goes.

Nou Can Codina at turn of 20th century scan business card

Then…

Not so very long ago Can Codina, one of the oldest surviving bars in Gràcia, was a humble, everyday sort of place, serving up run-of-the-mill cheap snacks and meals. It was ok for an occasional coffee or plato combinado when out doing errands. It was a dreary but honest neighbourhood bar which closed its doors roundabout 9pm every night except Sundays, when it wasn’t open at all.

Now…

After a scrub-up, a splash of paint, new lighting scheme, amazing menu, and an injection of energy and imagination the place is buzzing most evenings until 11 — and gone midnight on Saturdays.

Gentrified? No, not at all…the food and drink offered here is sensibly priced and well within the range of us ordinary folk.

Because it is now a popular joint plan to spend 10 or 15 minutes at the bar waiting for a table on a Friday or Saturday night.

 

Close up Patates braves at Nou Can Codina, BCN

The Food

Simple everyday treats are transformed into tasty, memorable delights. The patates braves (3,90€) here a very good indeed — among the very best braves in the city. And so too are the croquettas and morcilla (black pudding/blood sausage).

Whoever they have working the kitchen they need to tie down with a payrise and a golden handcuffs agreement — otherwise he or she is going to walk, and stamp their goodness on a rival establishment.

The croquetas here are fantastic — full of flavour — probably among the best in the city, and very reasonably priced at 1€. The standard options are: cocido (meat, potato and chickpea mash), merluza y gambes (hake and prawn/shrimp) and bolets (mushroom). However, check out the specials board as they often offer two or three special croquetas such as sípia (cuttlefish) and a wonderfully tasty apple with goat cheese (poma i formatge de cabra) for 1,40€.

Croquettes at Can Codina, Barcelona

The morcilla here is also well worth trying. Moist and packed with flavour — served with a smear of parsley and garlic oil and lightly toasted bread (2,60€).

Morcilla at Can Codina, Barcelona

Continue Reading…

Snacks

Edible Bikinis in Barcelona

20th August 2015

Barcelona is a culinary capital offering a wide and wild variety of cuisines and creative dishes. However, grazing on tapas and dining in fine restaurants can be both wearing on the wallet and bruising on the palate.

There sometimes comes a time when you just want something more ordinary, a light bite to fill a hole while out and about.

Well, you could try a Bikini.

View of Bikini, Barcelona, Bill Sinclair

Bikini?

Yes, Bikini. When wandering around the city you’ll see the word Bikini scrawled on chalkboards outside snack bars. It’s a very popular snack, probably the most popular snack after the ubiquitous patates braves [patatas bravas in castellano].

A Bikini is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

The name, Bikini, is unique to Barcelona and Catalunya. Try ordering a Bikini outside of Catalunya and you’ll prompt incomprehension, a measure of confusion, and perhaps a little argument; in Spain a Bikini is known as a mixto.

History

The sandwich, un croque monsieur in France, is said to have been so christened here, in Barcelona, in 1953.

To check out the history of the Bikini GO HERE

Cropped Bikini, Barcelona Bill Sinclair

Test

There are two food tests for any snack bar in Barcelona — the Braves test and the Bikini test.

Continue Reading…

General

The Secret Life of the Menú del Día

30th July 2015

Spain’s most popular lunchtime deal — the menú del día — was invented for the convenience of tourists. Ironically, most tourists are not aware it exists.  

When visiting Spain you’ll save yourself a ton of money, and discover some wonderful food offerings, if you adopt the local custom of eating your main meal of the day between 2pm and 4pm and opt for the menú del día. 

 

La Corrala, Barcelona by Bill Sinclair

Opting for a menú del día will relieve you of the stress of:

a) not knowing what the final bill (check) will be before you sit down;

b) wading through a seemingly endless menu of dishes you may not be familiar with;

c) choosing a wine to accompany your meal.

Another good reason to try a menú del día is that you’ll encounter and rub shoulders with natives, as opposed to other visitors. Rafa Peña, the very highly regarded chef at Gresca, says,
“In the evening 70% of our diners are foreigners, at lunchtime almost 90% are Barcelonins.”
On a good day, nothing beats a good, long, chatty menú del día with close friends or family.
Paella served as a first-course as part of a menú del día.

Paella served as a first-course as part of a menú del día.

So, what is a Menú del día?

Most restaurants in Spain, even Michelin-starred establishments, will offer a menú del día — menu of the day — a fixed-price lunch, Monday to Friday.

A menú del día will usually offer a choice of 5 or 6 first-courses, 5 or 6 second-courses, 5 or 6 desserts, wine, water (or beer or soft drink) bread and coffee, for an all-inclusive price of anywhere between 6,50€ and 30plus euros including service and tax.

Continue Reading…

General

How to tackle tracklements in Catalunya — or sauces for courses in Barcelona

21st May 2015
Tracklements & sauces in Barcelona

The Norm

Though things are changing, we don’t do ‘cocktail’ sauce and other sweet’n’spicy gloops in Barcelona.

If in a snack bar, or bar-restaurant, and you’ve ordered a burger then your server may bring you tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard automatically. If they don’t, and you want them, ask for them — ketchup [ketch-oop] — mahonesa [my-yon-essa]— mostaza [moh-sta-sa]. Continue Reading…