Welcome to the City Gourmand v2! It was probably about time (it's only been a year and a half haha). With a little help I have rejigged the design of my little blog. Hope you like it! Today I thought I'd share with you just a few of the eateries I managed to try out during my fleeting time in Barcelona. I already miss it so! I have well and truly been bitten by the travel/foodie bug and there is only one cure...
As we progressed through the trip, I came to the (rather awful) realisation that I could only manage 2 'largish' meals a day instead of my usual 3 (or 5 if you count grazing). Even with all the walking we were doing I could only do 2 servings of shaved Iberíco ham per day. Shock horror (but still so good)! Ready? Here goes...
Cuines Santa Caterina
Mercado Santa Caterina, Avda. Francesc Cambó 16 08003 Barcelona
If you ask me, this is a most ingenious idea. The premise (during day trade) is that you buy whatever fresh produce you like from the market; meats, seafood, veg (whatever floats your boat really), bring it over to the Cuines and they will cook it for you right there and then! It's just like having a personal chef except you have the pleasure of doing your own food shop ;) I have no idea why more places don't do this! At night, the Cuines turns into a more civilized à la carte affair (with an expansive menu) with attached bar displaying the most fabulous looking tapas to drool over whilst you sip your cava. Tough life!
|Cuines Santa Caterina has a somewhat 'designer mess hall' feel to it. Large communal tables dot the large space. The Christmas decorations lent it a special vibe, including a model train that does laps of the restaurant.|
Taking refuge from the chill after visiting Fira de Santa Llúcia (Christmas markets), Cuines Santa Caterina is a hop, skip and a jump away. The menu placemat has a huge array of dishes, laid out in tabular form. Feel like a dish from the charcoal oven? Check. Or maybe 'Mediterranean' is more to your taste? The health freak in me was thrilled to see that they offer freshly squeezed juices. I chose a papaya, grapefruit, raspberries and lime juice for myself, though they were a bit on the pricey side (6,30). Eep!
|The KISS principle: Catalan sausage with baby beans and foie. You really don't have to mess about, it speaks for itself.|
The Cuines is a great little spot, especially with such a big menu and friendly staff. I felt very welcome here, I think Christmas was in the air! The food here was simple, tasty and no-nonsense. You might even have time to pay more than one visit!
Rambla Catalunya 13, 08007 Barcelona
The problem with eating out on Xmas eve is that you're hard pressed to find anywhere that's open! I have bad memories wandering the streets of Roma trying to find a place to eat (tourist trap central)! Luckily, our helpful concierge at Hotal Praktik Rambla (a great hotel btw) recommended Matamala to us, to sample 'cuina catalana'. So, onward! ;)
|How con-weenient: the restaurant happened to be on the same street our hotel was. Perfect! The super high wattage of the light display was very pretty but probably unnecessary!|
Surprisingly, the restaurant was rather busy! We were lucky to get a table as walk-ins. Local Barcelonians sat with several generations of family to share a meal together. In Spanish custom, Christmas Eve is when families gather to exchange presents, decorate the tree and eat (read: feast) together. My ears pricked to other twangs of English (American, maybe?) emanating from nearby tables which made me smile. The restaurant has a modern bistro design with lots of white leather booths and bar seating. It may not look it, but the Matamala family has been proudly promoting Catalan cuisine for 3 generations. They have a commitment to serve seasonal produce, sourced locally whenever possible. Their philosophy also translates to the foodstuffs they have available for sale on their walls.
Dolce (but of course)!
Matamala has expanded my 'Catalan' food vocabulary no end (from non-existent anyway). Here in Barcelona, amongst hundreds of really top notch tapas bars, they've figured out a winning formula. Good food served in casual modern surrounds = full house!
Thanks for reading! xGourmand