Restaurants

Simply Superb: Semproniana in Barcelona

19th October 2017

SEMPRONIANA


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.

Chicken and prunes and pinenuts as served as part of the menú diari at Semproniana.

Price for Lunch

The Menú de Migdia (Menú del Día or Menú Diari) costs 16,70€.

The Menú offers a choice of 5 first plates and 5 second plates, ​4 or 5 desserts or fruit, water or a glass of wine.

The Menú changes every day.

A lunch menu may offer a choice of:

More...

  • Steamed vegetables en papillote
  • Chickpea stew with chorizo
  • Cream of sweet potato soup with cheese
  • Endive salad with cod and olives
  • Scrambled egg with mussels

Followed with a choice of:

  • Chicken with prunes and pine nuts
  • Grilled leg of pork with orange and aniseed
  • Oven cooked rabbit
  • Fish of the day
  • Roast beef with mustard mayonnaise

Followed with a choice of:

  • Strawberry cheesecake
  • Yogurt with mandarin
  • Chocolate brownie
  • Fruit

The wine served with lunch will often be a very good Montsant.

Or, you can order off the regular menu (la carta) and wine list.

Chickpea salad at Semproniana, Barcelona

Price for Dinner

Pardon me for asking, but how old are you

What's that have to do with my dining choices?​

Well… at Semproniana it's an important ​deciding factor. All diners under the age of 30 get to dine for the price of their age in years. So, if you're 21 years old you will be served a very tasty dinner for just 21€. Whereas more vintage diners may likely pay 30€ for the very same dishes.

Or, you could opt for a potluck supper menú costing 20€.

Or, you could pay 35€ for a menú degustación — a tasting menu of 8 plates.

How hungry are you?​

Again, this is a deciding factor. Here, size matters. 

Most dishes are available in small (S), medium (M) or large (XL) portions and vary in price from 3.50€, for a small plate of macaroni stuffed with botifarra negra (a Catalan variation on black pudding/blood sausage) to around 22€ for a large tuna steak or large fillet of fish.

How often do you think you may dine here?

Another important question that will impact on what you'll likely pay for dinner here.

Like the T-10, Semproniana offers regular diners the S-10, ten dinners, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, for only 100€. And, it's valid for a year — although it excludes the month of December and the first six days of January.

Revuelta at Semproniana, Barcelona

Choice

The main menu offers around 20 dishes.

The menu changes regularly but will usually include:

6 meat dishes (duck, beef, pork, foie gras, botifarra negra, and chicken)

4 or 5 vegetarian dishes, such as a creamy rissotto like rice dish with Maó cheese, or cous cous soil with garden vegetables, grilled brie, or potato omelette​.

3 or more fish dishes such as tuna, sardines, cod or turbot

3 or more seafood dishes such as mussels and prawns (shrimp)

The also serve a range of gluten-free dishes.

Brochettas at Semproniana, barcelona by Bill Sinclair

Quality

Attention to detail in both preparation and presentation is evident with every dish served. 

The place has been awarded a certificate by Insigna for its all-round outstandingness.

It has also been accredited by Amed (Mediterranean Alimentation — a project within Catalunya's public health agency) as an establishment with a proven and tested record of serving healthy meals which accord with the principles of the Mediterranean diet.

Taste

All dishes served are imaginative re-inventions derived from classic Catalan cuisine.  There's a good balance of flavours throughout the repertoire.

The quality and freshness of key ingredients is evident with most every mouthful. Key ingredients are not over-seasoned nor smothered and neutered with glib gloops and enthusiastic sauces. 

Dishes which both read rich on the menu, and appear rich when served, are surprisingly light to taste. There are plenty of interesting combinations but no confusion of flavours.  

Duck at Semproniana, Barcelona, Bill Sinclair 2

Duck magret with orange and anise

Service

Lunch is very popular with office workers, executives, families and senior citizens and, although the place can be very busy service is usually very good. You may not have the same server throughout your lunch but all the wait staff here are very experienced and show remarkable calm efficiency in sometimes very pressured circumstances.

Dinner service is very good, and the wait staff are very adept at assessing your mood and pace, allowing you the time and space to properly enjoy your meal. 

I've dined here, both lunch and dinner, more than a dozen times (seven times in the past year), and have never had a problem with any aspect of the service here.

Ambience

A large part of the dining experience here is the ambience, or perhaps, more accurately, the attitude that informs the atmosphere.

Overall the feel is somewhere between a busy, frocked-up bistro and a formal dining-room in fancy dress. Quirky and convivial. The place is infused with an intelligent passion for good food and drink and good company.

In keeping with the restaurant's history as a publisher's office they often host literary evenings with guest writers. And the owner, Ana Parallada, has published several recipe books and has also ventured into fiction.

The restaurant also gives over space for a childrens' workshop area where youngsters are encouraged to handle ingredients, experiment, and develop the sensitivities, confidence and skills to produce healthy meals. 

Entrada de Semproniana, Barcelona

Kids' Culinary Workshop in the entrance

Value

Given the consistent quality of the food produced here, and the options on size, Semproniana has to be one of the best value restaurants in the city. The pricing is very fair.

Activities & Workshops

The restaurant also promotes a host of food and cooking related activities for grown ups. Most of these are currently presented in català. However, if you are interested in Mediterranean cuisine they do organise practical workshops in English. Go HERE for more details.

In Sum

Semproniana has been in the business of serving locals since 1993.

It has a strong, well-won reputation. However, it does not seem to often feature on visitors' itineraries. Always thought this a bit strange — not that that should bother you, or dissuade you from enjoying a meal here. 

I suggest you try lunch here and, then, if appropriately pleased or satisfied with the experience, reserve a table for dinner during your visit.

Bon profit!

Edible potted plant, with cous cous 'soil'. 

Location 

In L'Antiga Esquerra de l'Eixample on Carrer Rossellò, 148, very near Hospital Clínic and the eponymously named Line 5 (Blue) Metro station.

Opening Hours:

Monday: 1.15pm - 4pm only.

Tuesday - Saturday: 1.15pm - 4pm & 8.30pm - 11.30pm

Sunday:  1.15pm - 4pm only.

Strawberry dessert at Semproniana, Barcelona

Strawberry cheesecake

Links

Restaurant WEBSITE HERE

Spotted by Locals write-up HERE

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