Ciudad Condal (3) – Barcelona

IMG_7087

Grilled Cuttlefish

I’ve literally visited Ciudad Condal once every month for the time I stayed in Barcelona. This will be my last post on it since I didn’t take any pictures doing my last visit. I just thoroughly enjoyed my food that one last time! Anyways, on my third visit, I brought N since she came back for another visit a week later. We hadn’t gone the last time, and I pretty much think this is a must go place, so we arrived early in the evening to get a seat at the bar. We had to wait a while for the montaditos to be taken out for dinner, but it was fine when you have a glass of beer to wait with. First up, of course my favourite Grilled Cuttlefish. This time, they only gave us two cuttlefish but they were ginormous! At first I thought it would be more tough since they were so large, but they were still extremely tender! This dish never disappoints me.

IMG_7088

Shrimp and Mushroom Montadito

We also had my favourite salmon montadito which isn’t pictured here and a few others that I had previously tried. A new montadito we tried was the Shrimp and Mushroom Montadito. The shrimp and mushrooms were lightly grilled and topped with the same sauce they used for the cuttlefish. It’s basically a sauce of olive oil and herbs. It worked really well and the shrimps were very fresh. I also loved the mushrooms and they were not the typical mushrooms I see at supermarkets. It was interesting that I saw these same mushrooms at a local market in Figueres in Spain as well. I’m guessing they are popular mushrooms in Spain.

IMG_7089

Shrimp and Crab Salad

To finish, we had the Shrimp and Crab Salad. Of course the crab is imitation crab. I don’t think I recall seeing crab on menus or markets, other than at La Boqueria. I guess Barcelona is not famous for eating crab. However, they use imitation crab a lot in their food. Still, this salad had a lot of shrimp and they were extremely fresh and large! It also came with two pan con tomate, which are baguettes that had been lightly brushed with tomatoes.

To see my previous posts on Ciudad Condal, you can click on these two links: Ciudad Condal and Ciudad Condal (2)

IMG_7090

Lastly, here’s a picture of the Torre Agbar. I see this pretty much everyday since my house is near it and it acted as my direction indicator in the first few weeks. I kind of took it for granted and never even really knew what this tower was. Apparently many tourists actually come here to take a picture! I did some research just now and found that it’s actually a 38 story skyscraper which marks the gateway to the new technological district in Barcelona. It’s an office building and owned by the Agbar company, which is Barcelona’s water company. It’s actually the third tallest building in Barcelona so you’ll usually spot it when you’re up on a Barcelona mountain. During the day, the tower isn’t this colour. It looks like it has reflective windows and the light just shines on the tower. However, at night the tower is what attracts tourists. There are over 4,500 lighting devices on the outside that uses LED technology and creates images and colours that change. It’s extremely gorgeous! You can visit this tower by getting off at the Glories metro station.

Ciudad Condal

IMG_5019 (480x640)

I’m so excited to write this post, becuase Ciudad Condal is my absolute favourite tapas restaurant in Barcelona! Whether you are here for just a few hours or months, you must give Ciudad Condal a try! I’m not paid to sponsor them or anything, but I swear that everyone I’ve brought here has had a great meal! I’ll have more revisits, as I’ve been here probably 5 times in the 4 months I stayed in Barcelona. Anyways, Ciudad Condal essentially is another name for Barcelona in Spanish, as they used to be the County of Barcelona. In Catalan, it is Ciutat Comtal, hence you will see two confusing names.

IMG_5017 (640x480)

The place was extremely packed the first few times I went, (mostly because it was the summer, or early fall months, and there were tons of tourists). Yes, this place is very tourist friendly, with most of the servers understanding English, and the people at the bar are actually Filipino and not Spanish. However, this place is definitely not a tourist trap! To get the most of your experience, try to aim for the bar seating. Seating is very limited here, and you cannot reserve a seat there. You essentially wait around behind the people eating until you spot them leaving, and you just gotta snatch a seat.

IMG_5018 (640x480)

If you don’t want to wait around, then you most likely will still need to wait. However, you will leave your name with the hostess and she will call your name when your table is ready. There is always a line up, so the best times to go are around 5 or 6 pm, although you would need to sip on a drink before the montaditos come out. I suggest sitting at the bar because you will get the view of what’s in this picture. Food! Since most of the items are not always on the menu, as a foreigner and first-timer, it’s easiest to just point and order. No need to figure out the confusing menu, and if you want something specifically on the menu, you can also order from the bar here. The bar people are also extremely friendly and I find they give the best service! So what essentially are montaditos? They are similar to pintxos, where ingredients are served on top of a piece of bread, but without the toothpick.

IMG_5022 (480x640)

Other than montaditos, they have flautas, which are very skinny baguette sandwiches filled with your choice of ingredients. They also have a variety of tapas and desserts. Prices are not the cheapest here, but they also aren’t too expensive. I would rather pay here at an average price for some decent food, then for two meals of cheap bar tapas. It’s just worth it! Trust me!

IMG_5023 (480x640)

Anyways, we started off with a pitcher of Sangria. Yup, I think I was starting to get sick of this… The sangria here does not have a lot of fruits, but instead lemons. It was alright. I found it quite pricey for what it was and relatively expensive compared to many restaurants.

IMG_5024 (640x480)

Now let’s get to the montaditos! This was our first time here, and we unfortunately did not know the trick to sitting at the bar. The bar was filled with people, so we just grabbed a seat in the dining area. We had serious troubles figuring out what to eat since the menu doesn’t show the names of the montaditos. My sister ended up having to get up and take a few photos of the montaditos at the bar and bring it back for us to decide. We ended up telling our waiter what we wanted by describing what was on each. We got the Iberian Ham, and Smoked Salmon. The Iberian Ham is a must try in Spain. Well, I mean, Spain is famous for this! However, I’m not a huge fan of it, so trying it once is really enough for me. I find the pork taste to be too pungent for my liking, but people here love this stuff. However, what I can rave about all day and night is this Smoked Salmon montadito. If you like salmon, then you must order this. I never knew smoked salmon could be cut so thick and be so smooth. Each one has around 1.5 pieces of salmon layered on top of each other. Underneath is a slather of cream cheese, and on top are diced peppers which give it a really fresh taste. You won’t regret ordering this, and this is one of the reasons why I come here.

IMG_5025 (640x480)

My sister is a fan of pasta salad, so of course she ordered that. It’s quite a large serving, but it’s around 6 euros, so I guess that’s reasonable. They come with two pan de tomates, which are baguettes brushed with tomatoes and olive oil. This was quite good, but it gets you filled up really quickly. They also have a variety of other salads, and if you sit at the bar, you can see all the different types.

IMG_5030 (640x480)

Patatas Bravas. This is another typical Spanish tapa, which you can essentially find at almost any Spanish tapa or bar joint. However, each place does it slightly different. They are essentially fries, but diced into cubes and topped with a tomato and spicy aioli sauce. Some places only use one sauce, while others use a variation of the sauces such as mayonnaise or garlic sauce. I enjoyed these since they weren’t fried too oily and the sauce was really good.  This aioli sauce was a bit garlicky!

IMG_5034 (640x480)

I had looked over at other people’s tables and saw some grilled cuttlefish. However, I didn’t know what that was on the menu and we settled on the ‘Roman style’ Small Squids, which apparently meant calamari. Bummer. But these were still alright. The batter was light and fluffy and the squids were very tender. I swear Spain has some of the best squid and cuttlefish! Anyways, if you want the actually grilled ones, just let your server know “grilled cuttlefish”. Yup, it was on the menu too…but who knew…

IMG_5031 (480x640)

Lastly, we got the Prawn Skewers. They are quite expensive, at about 3 euros each, but the good thing is that the prawns are huge. They were lightly salted and extremely fresh! So I guess that was worth it. Plus, they actually fill you up quite a lot.

All in all, Ciudad is a must try in Barcelona. I have never told my friends about a restaurant so much. Whenever I’m asked for restaurant advice in Barcelona, Ciudad is the first place I recommend. It’s truly an experience there, and the seafood is amazing. Remember not to order too much though! This was a meal for only three people, and we were so full we couldn’t finish our food. You think that tapas are small at first, but as you eat, you’ll realize they really do fill you up! Remember that there’s always a piece of bread!