Situated in what used to be a publisher’s offices, Semproniana offers a relaxed ambience in which to enjoy excellent food.
One of my all-round favourites — equally good for lunch and dinner.
It’s also one of the family’s favourite spots and often our first choice restaurant when we feel a need for a family celebration.
I can never help smiling whenever I dine here. It’s that kind of place — quirky, arty, fun, and free of pretension.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Simple everyday treats are transformed into tasty, memorable delights. The patates braves (3,90€) here are very good indeed — among the very best braves in the city. And so too are the croquetas 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€.
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€).
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.
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.
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.
Tataky de lomo de buey con enoquis (Tataki of beef tenderloin with enoki mushrooms), as served as part of the menú degustación at Goliard.
Goliard in Vila de Gràcia is currently one of my favourite restaurants for both lunch and dinner
Here are 10 good reasons why:
Somodó, in Gràcia, which serves MediterrAsian cuisine, is one of my favourite restaurants for a special evening meal.
Here are seven photos which should help explain why.