Browsing Tag

Food & Drink

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:

Continue Reading
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.

Continue Reading
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 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€.

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…

Tapas dishes

Zarajo in Barcelona

6th August 2015

 Zarajos as served at Morryssom

One of my favourite tapas dishes is Zarajo, braided sheep’s intestines wrapped around a vine branch and usually broiled, though often grilled, sometimes smoked, served hot with a wedge of lemon.

Very tasty.

Zarajo is not common in Barcelona — the dish originated in Cuenca, the city in Castilla–La Mancha.

Zarajo go well with a beer, though I recommend you try them with a glass of rough, strong red wine.

Two places which I know serve zarajo are:

  • Morryssom’s — one of my favourite lunch restaurants and tapas places — 3,40€.
  • Bar L’Amistat, Carrer de Torrijos, 13, in Gràcia — 3,90€.

Zarajo as served at Bar l’Amistat, Gràcia.

Bon profit!


 Zarajo as served at Bar L’Amistat

Enjoy!

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…

Bodegas

5 Traditional bodegas in Barcelona

18th June 2015
Bar Bodega Quimet, Gràcia, Barcelona by Haarland Sinclair

Some bodegas serve the best little plates and tapas in the city

So, what is a bodega?

At its most simple a bodega is where us locals buy everyday wines from the barrel, and occasional wines, cavas and spirits by the bottle or case. In short, an off-licence, or liquor store, where quality wines are considerably cheaper than in supermarkets, and where you can sample the wines before you buy.

Wine barrels in Bar Bodega Montse, Barcelona

What is a bar bodega?

A bar bodega is a bodega with a bar, serving wines, beers and spirits — and, often, little bites.
As well as serving quality wines at affordable prices you’ll find some bodegas serve the best little plates and tapas in the city — anything from simple olives, cured meats and cheeses, through elaborate montaditos, to epicurean delights such as angulas (elvers) and Russian royal king crab.

Plate of food at Quimet i Quimet, Poble Sec, Barcelona

Tapas at Quimet i Quimet.

Not so long back every barrio had maybe eight or more bodegas, where neighbours would meet for gossip over a vermut or a beer as they bought their family ration of booze. As incomes rose and tastes changed, and supermarkets moved in, bodegas fell out of favour or morphed into wine stores.

Bar Bodega Cal Pep, Gracia by Bill Sinclair

Bar Bodega Cal Pep in Gràcia.

And now — with owners cashing up and retiring — young savvy owners are taking their place, and with customers looking to save money — bodegas are back.
There are some that have always been around — check out Bodega Montse —a beautifully filthy relic of the 1890s:

BAR BODEGA MONTSE, Raval, Barcelona by Louisa Averiss

And now, in place of the old jug and bottle shops, two distinct types of revamped bodegas are emerging — those positioned to appeal to a more affluent set — offering imported beers and premium brand spirits, where the ambience is more like a wine bar; and those which have retained the look, feel and smells of traditional bodegas which, with the addition of craft beers and exquisite snacks, appeal to a younger, more casual set.

Here are a few traditional though thriving bodegas you may want to check out:

Bar Bodega Quimet in Gràcia.

Bar Bodega Montse in the Raval.

Bar Bodega del Poblet very near the Sagrada Familia.

Bar Bodega E. Marin in Gràcia.

Bar Bodega Quimet i Quimet in Poble Sec.

Enjoy.