Carmelitas – Barcelona

IMG_8065

Bread with Chocolate, Olive Oil and Salt

After dinner at Tickets, we were obviously still sort of hungry. We met up with D since it was our last farewell night and headed to Carmelitas. C had been here before and said that their food is average, but they have good desserts and a casual environment. It’s located in the Raval area, so it can be a little sketchy at night, so go as a group. The restaurant is also a bar, so it was huge. We were taken to the very back where it was much more quiet but seated more of us. We had a pitcher of sangria and ordered pretty much every dessert on the menu! First was the Bread with Chocolate, Olive Oil and Salt. The rest of the group thought it was an interesting combination, but C and I had already tried something similar at Tapas 24. This was definitely a lazy version of it. We could’ve easily made this at home. It was literally a piece of bread brushed with olive oil, with two squares of semi-melted chocolate and topped with salt. It was smooth and the salty mixed with sweet was again a good taste. Still, I would prefer the Tapas 24 one more, since the chocolate was almost like a mousse.

IMG_8066

Cheesecake

We tried two of their homemade cakes, which you need to ask about since they change daily. We had the Cheesecake, which I really liked. It was topped with some honey on top! Very smooth and fluffy and the top was golden.

IMG_8068

Chocolate Cake

The second homemade cake was the Chocolate Cake. It was quite dense and more like a fudge cake. It came with some nuts as well on the side. Not bad!

IMG_8069

Santa Teresa’s Toast with Ice Cream

We weren’t sure what the Santa Teresa’s Toast really was, but we went for it anyways. It was basically like french toast, but with more of a cake batter. It was deep fried on the outside and topped with sugar on the outside. I loved it! So good! There was some honey on it too. It came with a scoop of walnut ice cream, which was additional, but the warm and cold feeling was amazing!

The desserts were around 4 euros each, which is reasonable at a restaurant. We loved how the environment was really casual and we didn’t feel pressured to leave or order more. Service was also great!

Tickets – A Molecular Gastronomy Experience – Barcelona

IMG_8036

I’m so excited to write this post because I truly think my dinner at Tickets was the most memorable dining experience I’ve ever had! Tickets is owned by Ferran Adria, a an award-winning chef known worldwide. Let’s start with some background information about him, since he’s a pretty crazy guy. He used to run elBulli, which all foodies are aware of – the Michelin 3-star restaurant located in the city of Roses in Spain. elBulli was a restaurant all about molecular gastronomy. His cooking took on a scientific approach and an average meal at elBulli could cost you 250 euros. It eventually closed down in 2012 due to losses, and soon after, he opened Tickets Bar in Barcelona! It’s a place which will leave you with an empty wallet and stomach, but also an experience like no other. I mean, how often are you going to eat at a restaurant owned by one of the world’s best chef?

IMG_8038

Now before you think you can just go ahead and visit the bar tonight, be reminded you need to make reservations around 3 months in advance…Yup. Well C made the reservations perhaps 2 months in advance and was able to get a table. Sometimes, if you go at around 6pm, you can try walking-in, although you might have a time restriction. For some reason, they had mixed up our reservation and ended up having a restricted time to eat… Anyways, you are greeted by a lady who looked like the ringmaster (all suited up in circus-wear). We got seated, and even their plates and cutlery were interesting! Instead of forks, we had these… tweezers. Yup, I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do with them. But they’re on the menu and you can purchase them too. You can also purchase the menu which is a cute little book.

IMG_8039

The inside is almost like a circus. It’s so colourful and each area sort of has a theme. If you’re a smaller group, you can sit at these bars and see the chefs at work. The picture is a bit blurry, but they had those Chinese Lucky Cats waving their hands on the shelves…not so sure what theme that was!

IMG_8049

In front of us was another themed section. They showcased a machine that had something to do with their special olives (which I’ll talk about later) as well as tomatoes and the famous Spanish Iberican Ham. We had invited our Spanish professor to dinner and it was so informative since he could tell us more about the food we were eating as well as communicate to the servers. They know English, but it’s obviously easier when they speak Catalan. My prof pointed out that the ham wrapped in red hanging above is the Joselito Iberico Ham. Joselito is the brand and is known to be the highest quality of cured hams in Spain. Iberico cured hams are from free range and acorn-fed pigs in Spain, but Joselito is known for its pigs being able to run around in a land filled with oak trees in the town called Guijuelo in the west of Spain. Today, Joselito Iberico Ham is known as preium quality cured ham and is priced very high!

IMG_8041

Cava

We began our meal with a bottle of cava (champagne) to share. I don’t remember the name of of it, but I really enjoyed it! We ended up having two bottles throughout the night for the 6 of us, and it gave us quite a few rounds. You can choose your dishes off the menu by yourself, or have your waiter decide, which is what we did. He basically asked us for our budget and he would help us order dishes that would give us a good variety of their famous dishes. He said the average budget is usually 70 euros, but our prof told him ours would be 50 euros, and he said it would be fine. Our bill ended up around 60 euros each since we ordered two bottles of cava and it also included tips. We were also able to try around 15 different items! It may sound pricey, and I don’t think I would ever spend that much on a meal for myself, but I definitely suggest doing this once in your lifetime!

IMG_8040

Tempura of Pistachios – 3,60

Our first item was Tempura of Pistachios. It came in a basket with individual little bags filled with around 8 pistachios. The pistachios are lightly coated with tempura batter giving it a very light crunch. Not bad, although I don’t know if they’re worth 3,60 euros each bag…

IMG_8042

Tickets’ Olive S – 8,10 for 6

Then came the Tickets’ Olive S, which is the classic example of molecular gastronomy and a signature of ElBulli. For a starter, I absolutely hate olives. I hadn’t told the server about that, so when the olives came, I was a little hesitant. But I sort of just stuck through and said I’d give it a try. The best part of the service at Tickets is that the server will teach you how to eat each of the dishes. Of course you can eat it differently, but the food is designed to be eaten a certain way. The instructions are so detailed yet concise from the server in the most casual way. For instance, they’ll tell you whether you should take 2 bites, or just eat it in one bite, or whether to just use your hands to eat it. These olives were presented on this silver spoon and were sort of glazed with a jelly. He said to put the olive in your mouth and lightly, using the top of your mouth, press down against your tongue. What happened was something I couldn’t imagine…The olive just burst and this olive flavoured liquid filled my mouth. I was left with a very thin piece of skin. I had to think twice about what just happened… This is just an example of what’s so fun about dining at Tickets. You would think an olive is hard and solid, but not at Tickets! It was like an infused olive liquid inside a jelly and I loved it. I felt like it wasn’t as pungent as normal olives. A MUST TRY!

IMG_8044

We were then given another Olive-S. It looked identical but this time it came in this little jar. I believe he said it was infused with rosemary. Again, it popped in my mouth with the lightest pressure. This one was much more pungent, and I preferred the regular one more.

IMG_8045

Crostini with Tomato Seeds & Cantabrian Anchovies

Next was the Crostini with Tomato Seeds & Cantabrian Anchovies. Oh god, another fear of mine. Yup, I’m not a fan of anchovies either… But seriously, after eating at Tickets, I questioned myself because I loved all the food that I normally hate. Does that even make sense? Although Tickets is all about modern molecular gastronomy, their cuisine is still based on traditional Catalan and Spanish ingredients, and this is just an example of that. Pan con tomate was basically the traditional counterpart of this dish. And of course, Cantabrian anchovies are premium anchovies found in the sea of northern Spain. This was eaten in 2-3 bites and the crostini was crunchy with the anchovy not being fishy at all! That’s what I really hate about anchovies, but these weren’t fishy. It was also topped with these little silver paper looking flakes that looked like fish skin. It was actually made of potato!

IMG_8046

Manchego Cheese – foam inside of mini airbags with hazelnuts olive oil caviar – 8,40

Then came these little cheese puffs. The Manchego Cheese were turned into a foam and filled in these light, airy mini airbags. You put the whole puff into your mouth, and again, it just explodes. Your mouth is then filled with a buttery, smooth cheese. It was also topped with hazelnut olive oil caviar which added a nutty flavour. Manchego cheese originates from Spain and is from sheep milk. I’ve had it on its own before and it was really pungent for me, but not here! The balance was just right!

IMG_8047

Joselito’s Iberian Ham – 13,40 (tapa)

Then we got to try the famous Joselito Iberian Ham. I’ve had quite a lot of Iberico jamon during my time in Spain, but I’m pretty sure I was having cheap versions of this prized cured ham. The pieces of ham were light pink and so thin with a just the right amount of fat. It was wrapped around an air baguette! The baguette was hollow inside and the feeling you got when you bit into it was very similar to the Manchego mini airbags. Super light and the ham was perfect with a touch of paprika.

IMG_8048

Quail Egg in Nest

Then came a visually beautiful dish. It was like an egg shell in a nest! It was the Quail Egg in Nest, which had a quail egg in an edible crunchy nest. The quail egg was runny in the middle with the yolk just bursting in your mouth. I find that most of their dishes are about the explosions in your mouth! The top of the egg was also topped with some wasabi mayonnaise which gave it a little kick. Delicious!

IMG_8050

Tuna with Roe in Cone

Next was the Tuna with Roe in Cone, which was again presented beautifully. Even the plating they used was whimsical! The cones were put in a pot that looked like it was crumbled and filled with pebbles. The tuna sashimi cubes were wrapped with seaweed and then wrapped around a crispy cone.It was then topped with some tobiko. So delicious and made me miss Japanese food. I love how they mix other cuisines into their menu. There’s really something for everyone!

IMG_8051

Edible Crab – in avocado cannelloni – 14,80

Then came another dish with an ingredient I wasn’t very fond of. It was the Edible Crab which was wrapped with tons of avocado slices! I usually choose not to eat avocado, but holy, this was so good! Basically they use the avocado slices to imitate a cannelloni with the crab meat filled inside. The avocado was so soft and creamy and mixed with the sweet crab. It was just amazing.

IMG_8052

Oysters with Ponzu Sauce and Salmon Roe

Mmmm then came one of my favourites! Oysters with Ponzu Suace and Salmon Roe. Such a simple dish, but the freshness of the oysters combined with the Ponzu sauce, which is citrus based really brought out the sweetness of the oysters. Again, they took advantage of the Japanese sauce to accentuate the dish. The salmon roe also gave a little pop in your mouth. I could’ve easily ate a dozen of these…

IMG_8053

Marinated Fried Fish

The Marinated Fried Fish was probably my least favourite. It didn’t seem as special. I believed it was fried sea bass which was marinated in a spicy sauce. It was crispy and not greasy, but I didn’t find it too spectacular compared to the rest of their menu.

IMG_8054

Confit Potatoes – with Iberian cured ham and pork rib juice – 10,80

The Confit Potatoes also didn’t make it onto my top favourites list. The potatoes were cut thin like scalloped potatoes, and were very soft. It was soaked in a lot of the pork rib juice and paired with an Iberican cured ham. The whole dish was topped with a bit of paprika. It was good, but wasn’t a stand out dish.

IMG_8056

Mollete with Double Chin

We were then presented with the Mollete with Double Chin inside these little paper bags. Mollete is a type of bread roll that originates from Andalucia in southern Spain. The bread was so fluffy and light! I don’t think I’ve had bread that light before. It was filled with some fatty pork – sort of like pork belly. It was so juicy and the pairing was so simple, yet delicious.

IMG_8057

The Worms

Next was dessert time! Our server started carrying over an aloe plant and we were all confused. Are we having aloe for dessert? But wait! There were these cut little Worms on the plant. They even had little eyes!! They were passionfruit-flavoured marshamllows! Definitely an fascinating presentation. They melted in your mouth, but I did find it to be a little too sweet.

IMG_8060

Black Sesame and White Chocolate Lava Rock

Then, he brought over a lava rock… We were all like what? Do we just eat the rock? Is it chocolate cake? By the end of our meal, we were always guessing what we were eating. The grey-looking pumice rocks were actually Black Seasame White Chocolate! It was like having an Aero chocolate in your mouth! So airy and it just melted in your mouth. Seriously, how can someone be so imaginative!?

IMG_8061

At the end of our meal, we were definitely not full, but it filled me enough so I wasn’t hungry. The bill came in a Paellero tin can, which is the traditional seasoning the Spanish use to make paella. It’s a blend of spices and saffron according to my prof.

IMG_8064

And that was my gastronomical experience at Tickets. I think their slogan is La Vida Tapa which is on their theatrical movie posters outside. It translates to The Tapa Life. Tickets is definitely more than just tapas. It’s a way for diners to be curious about what they’re eating and be filled with surprises. It’s a change from the traditional ways of cooking, and I highly recommend everyone who loves food with a twist to visit Tickets. The brothers have also opened up other establishments, like 41 Degrees Experience, which I am dying to go back to try when I can afford it. Tickets is their tapas bar, so it’s priced lower. Can’t wait to be back!

I actually found a video clip from Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations where he visits Tickets! It begins at 5:40 for those interested 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ghf5gGKgAkg

Kaiku – Barcelona

IMG_7308

On another day off back in Barcelona, S, A, and I decided to go try out a new restaurant. It’s amazing how beautiful the weather is, even when it’s mid November. Surfers were out at the Barcelonetta beach, and this was the view we had from the restaurant! Such a nice change from typical rainy Novembers back in Vancouver…

IMG_7309

Anyways, our professor had compiled a list of his recommended resturants, and Kaiku was one of them. At first, we weren’t able to find it since their name on the banner is quite faded… We had to double check a few times to make sure we were at the right restaurant! It was a pretty nice day with some wind, so we decided to sit outside. We grabbed our seat ourselves (you find your own seat at most European restaurants), and a waitress came by right away with menus. The menu was in Catalan, and although we could make out most of the translations, she still gave us some help. Good service!

IMG_7311

Green Salad with Honey Vinaigrette, Rosemary and Red Pepper

At Kaiku, they have a regular menu, but also a daily 3 course menu (like most Spanish restaurants). Since the regular menu is quite pricey, we went for the 3 course lunch menu. It was 11,50 euros, with VAT included. It included a drink of your choice, and I went for a glass of white wine. The choices are limited, but we still managed to choose some items. A and S both went for the Green Salad. I tried some of it, and to my surprise the honey vinaigrette was so delicious! The salad was a bit sweet and sour, and the red peppers were also a nice addition.

IMG_7312

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Basil and Parmesan

For myself, I got the Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup, which I really enjoyed. It was creamy, but not too thick and filling. A nice consistency, and the hint of basil and Parmesan gave it great flavour.

IMG_7313

Bake Sea Bream  with Tomato Sauce and Parsley

For our entree, we all went for the Sea Bream. The other choice was a Veal Hamburger, and since Kaiku is known for their seafood dishes, we automatically went for the fish. I’m not a big fish eater, but when I go out to eat, I do like to order fish dishes. However, when I saw the dish come, I was shocked. I didn’t know it would be the whole fish… This is extremely common for sea bream though, and I found that most European restaurants present their fish as a whole. Well, it’s not surprising, since most fish at Chinese restaurants are as a whole too… I guess I was just imagining a nice piece of fish fillet.. Anyways, I didn’t really know how to eat the fish, since I’ve never really ate a whole fish, so I just watched my friends skillfully skin off the meat. It’s pretty cool actually! The bones are really just in the middle, so once you skin off the top layer of meat, you’ll see the bones, and you can detach the whole skeleton. The sea bream was just topped with tomatoes and a green vegetable, along with a green sauce. However, this simplicity was perfect as the fish was extremely fresh. Also, the skin was baked to perfection so it was crispy. I normally hate eating fish skin, especially if I can see the scales, but I devoured this fish with satisfaction.

IMG_7314

Coffee Flan

For dessert, the choices were not listed on the menu, so the waitress told us the choices verbally. I went for the Coffee Flan. It was sort of like a caramel flan, but infused with coffee flavour. I really liked this since I enjoy flans, and mixed with the whipped cream, it wasn’t too sweet!

IMG_7315

Banana Pudding

A went for the Banana Pudding. At first, we thought it looked like the Coffee Flan, but this was much more dense. She said it was pretty good!

IMG_7316

Fruit Cake

As for S, he went for the Fruit Cake. It wasn’t exactly what we had imagined, but was more like a berry mousse on a tart like base. It was fruity and a mix of sour and sweet. He enjoyed this a lot as well.

All in all, Kaiku is worth checking out if you’re near Barcelonetta. The 3 course lunch menu is a good deal and will fill you up just right. Also, the view you get from sitting outside is just perfect! What better way to enjoy the weather with quality food!

Lizarran and a Dali Day Trip – Figueres

IMG_7125

On a day off of school, A, S and I decided to take a day trip to Figueres. It’s a town north of Barcelona, in the province of Girona. We took the Renfe from Barcelona at the Passeig de Gracia station, and it took roughly under 2 hours. The town is pretty small and easy to navigate with an awesome tourist information desk supplying us with maps once we got off the train. The main attraction here is the Salvador Dali Theater Museum. There isn’t much else to do other than this museum, and the town is really famous because it’s where Dali was born. To be honest, I had no idea who Salvador Dali was. I knew nothing about Spain before coming here, and art was something I wasn’t too interested in. But S and A were taking a Spanish Art History class at ESADE, and their professor had recommended them to visit this museum. I had nothing to do, so I joined them, hoping I wouldn’t be too bored from looking at art. This was the best decision ever! If you’re someone who usually isn’t interested in art like the ones at the Louvre, I assure you that Salvador Dali will make you enjoy art!

IMG_7133

I think if I were to describe Dali in one word, it would be “weird”. Yup, Dali’s art is quirky and bizarre, but in a good way. He was a Catalan surrealist painter, but he has art work of all sorts. I often say that his work is trippy, because depending on the angles you look at it, the piece of art turns into something completely different. Hence it’s extremely fun to look at his work and you can be imaginative even if you don’t understand his true intentions. For instance, in this picture, when we walked in the room, it was weird to see two random paintings on the wall, and then a couch shaped as a lip. Then the blonde hair is actually a horse if you look from the other side. However, Dali wants us to look at it from the top of one wall and look into this circular glass. When you do that, it becomes a woman! I loved how his whole museum allowed us to be imaginative and creative. Something I don’t usually possess, but I really enjoyed and admired his work. The cool thing is that this theater was also completely designed by Dali himself!

IMG_7137

After an early morning in the museum, we decided to find food in Figueres. We did a quick tripadvisor search, and found that Lizarran was highly rated. Lizarran is a tapa bar which actually has many other locations around Spain. The fun part was that the tapas are self serve if you choose one of their options. This option allows you to walk down the bar and choose whichever pintxo you want. Each pintxo has a toothpick in it, and at the end, you pay by how many toothpicks you have on your plate. It’s pretty much based on a trust system. You can also choose to order off the regular menu, where you can have larger tapa dishes or actual entrees. We went for the self serve option. Some of the pintxos I chose included one with a cream cheese and salmon with a pedro pepper, shrimp and egg salad, brie with onions and garlic chips, and Iberican pork on imitation crab salad. All in all, quite a delicious lunch!

IMG_7143

After lunch, we rushed to get to the bus stop. We wanted to visit Dali’s house in the town of Cadaques. The best way is to take a bus that is near the train station, and it takes less than an hour. Cadaques is still in the province of Girona, but also on the Costa Brava of the Mediterranean. It’s beautiful here, with boats along the shorelines. The white house in the picture is one of the homes Dali lived in later in his life and is located in Port Lligat, which is a small village in the Cadaques area. Dali spent a lot of his childhood in Cadaques, hence he went back here to live later. The house is now called the Casa- Museo Salvador Dali, meaning the Salvador Dali House Museum. You do need to pay to enter, but it’s pretty cool inside, so worth a visit. Apparently in the summer or peak seasons, you’ll also need reservations.

IMG_7147

There will be a tour guide who will bring you and a small group of visitors in his house. She gives very brief information, so it’s not too useful, but you are welcome to ask her more questions. Here, this is where Dali used to do his paintings. When you look at the paintings at the Theater Museum, you’ll find lots of scenery and views of of the port since he painted from here.

IMG_7155

On the top floor, you’ll find weird looking objects. Like this egg shell. What was Dali thinking putting an egg shell on his house…?

IMG_7157

The beautiful view from his house. He has many paintings of this scenery if you visit the museum.

IMG_7162

And he also decided to put an egg on the top of his house. I have to admit, Dali is pretty cool. Who in their right mind would think of doing something like that? Also, how in the world did he structure this egg so it wouldn’t fall off?

IMG_7164

In his backyard, he has this giant… Such bizarre art.

IMG_7202

And here is a picture of Cadaques while the sun sets. I love how the houses are all white here. Such a beautiful place to spend in the summer, and hence many Barcelona locals spend their summers here as a getaway. This was already early November, but it was still fairly warm.

Tapa Tapa (2) (Passeig de Gracia) – Barcelona

IMG_7119

Smoked Salmon Potato Salad

Before N took off on her flight, we decided to grab some tapas and sangria. We ended up at Tapa Tapa on Passeig de Gracia. You’ll find lots of tourists at this location since it’s located at a prime spot filled with tourist traffic and their pictures on their menus always lure me in! We had a pitcher of sangria, and N ordered the Smoked Salmon Potato Salad. Just a basic potato salad topped with some pieces of smoked salmon. It was decent, but I thought it was a little pricey for the size.

IMG_7120

Grilled Cuttlefish

We gave the Grilled Cuttlefish a try as well, but I was a bit disappointed. They were quite small and not as plump as the ones at Ciudad Condal. I mean, Ciudad Condal has served small cuttlefish before, but they were still very plump and tender. These were not as tender and didn’t seem as fresh. They were also slightly over grilled. I also didn’t like how the tentacles were to grilled that they were crispy. The ones at Ciudad were way better especially when the price here was around the same.

All in all, I wasn’t too impressed with the food at Tapa Tapa on Passeig de Gracia. I had visited the one at the Arenas for lunch when they had a lunch deal, which I thought was much more worth it. This location doesn’t offer the lunch deal, so you end up paying quite a lot when you order several dishes. To read my post on Tapa Tapa at the Arenas, click here: Tapa Tapa (Arenas)

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.

Can Culleretes – Barcelona

IMG_7068

Another restaurant C recommended was Can Culleretes. It’s a family run restaurant that began in 1786, hence it’s listed on the Guinness Book of Records to be the oldest restaurant in Barcelona. Pretty neat, and the architecture itself is pretty cool. It’s also easily accessible for tourists as it’s just off the street of La Ramblas near the KFC near the Liceu metro station.

IMG_7069

There’s paintings all over the walls. Apparently, this was also the restaurant where Gaudi would come once a year to dine at. He didn’t normally dine out otherwise.

IMG_7070

The atmosphere is very traditional and the waiters and waitresses are all dressed in uniforms. The restaurant was quite empty at first since we arrived before they opened and there were some other diners waiting outside as well. You need reservations here and often a week in advance. Shortly after, the restaurant was filled.

IMG_7071

The whole atmosphere of the restaurant was just traditional but filled with art.

IMG_7075

Sangria

Of course, we started with a pitcher of Sangria. I thought this was stronger in alcohol than typical ones. Not as watered down for sure.

IMG_7076

Assorted Seafood Platter

We shared most of food in order to try everything. We began with an Assorted Seafood Platter. The seafood was all steamed and came with mussels, clams, prawns, and what I think were crayfish since they were much smaller. I thought this dish was just okay. It was sort of bland and basically only required the seafood to be fresh and steamed.

IMG_7077

Cannelloni with Spinach and Cod Fish

Can Culleretes serves traditional Catalan cuisine, and one popular dish is the Cannelloni with Spinach and Cod Fish. Cod seems to be widely popular in Spain and Portugal, hence you’ll find it at most restaurants. I absolutely loved this dish! It was super creamy and filled with tons of spinach. The cod on the other hand was difficult to really taste as the cheese and spinach flavours covered it.

IMG_7078

Catalan Suckling Pig

The Catalan Suckling Pig was basically what we came here for. C had previously dined here and said this dish was amazing. I’d be honest and say that all the other dishes were just alright in my opinion and I probably would not visit the restaurant again if I’d be dining on those. However, this Catalan suckling pig is a must order and I would come back for just this dish. The skin is roasted to a light crisp, and there is a thin layer of fat with the meat being extremely tender. i liked this since the little hint of pork fat made the dish so much more satisfying but it wasn’t gross like some porchetta which has too much fat. The sauce also made the dish perfect. It was slightly sweet and had dates and other dried fruits. When you soak your meat in the sauce, it’s just perfect!

IMG_7079

Chicken with Ratatouille

The Chicken with Ratatouille is also known as the Pollo Con Sanfaina. It’s basically the Catalan version of the traditional French dish. The ratatouille was made with lots of tomatoes, garlic, onions and peppers. They used drumsticks for the chicken and they were soaked in the vegetable sauce, so very flavourful. However, I didn’t find this dish any amazing.

IMG_7080

Mixed Sorbet

For dessert, we had the Mixed Sorbet. This was very smooth and was very refreshing.

IMG_7081

Whiskey Tart

Another dessert we had was the Whiskey Tart. It was basically like an ice cream cake with a few layers of sorbet and mixed with a hint of whiskey flavour. Not bad!

All in all, Can Culleretes is a decent place to visit for traditional Catalan cuisine. I would suggest getting the Catalan Suckling Pig and the Spinach and Cod Cannellonis. Other than that, the items I had tried were just average. Prices were also on the expensive side. I still think it’s pretty cool to say I’ve dined at Barcelona’s oldest restaurant though!

Pizzas L’avia – Barcelona

IMG_7050

There are always plenty of things to do in Barcelona, and one afternoon, we decided to visit Montjuic. Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona and very close to the city center. In fact, you can hike up to it just by walking up from Plaza Espanya. From the Palau Nacional, which houses the Museum of National Art of Catalunya, this is the beautiful view you get of the city. If you continue up the hill, or choose to take the bus, you will reach the top of Montjuic where you will find a fortress.

IMG_7039

After our mini hike, U took us to Pizzas L’avia. It’s in the El Ravel neighbourhood, which is sometimes known to be a little dangerous at night. Her brother said that the little shop is great for cheap local food, so we took the adventure to check it out before it got dark. The place doesn’t look the most amazing on the outside, but the food is great and cheap!

IMG_7040

I love how they actually make their paella in a giant pan. It was the first time I actually saw such a big paella pan in person.

IMG_7041

They also have a bunch of other dishes and desserts. Yes, the dishes are not exactly fresh, since they are pre- made, but freshness wasn’t really a big factor in making these dishes delicious.

IMG_7043

They are famous for their Empanadas. We chose the Honey Empanada and Spinach Empanada. They were warmed up in their oven and filled generously. A great value for only around 1,30 euros each!

IMG_7044

I guess someone also got a Salad… Typical salad, nothing difficult in making this one.

IMG_7045

We got the Prosciutto and Cheese Pizza. Their pizzas are quite interesting. They don’t really dig a hole in the middle to put the fillings in. Instead, they just place the toppings right on top, so you don’t exactly get a crust on the side. The pizza was really delicious though! Extremely fluffy and although the ingredients are basic, they really work well together.

IMG_7046

We also got two dishes of the Paella. It’s not the best paella I’ve had, but it tasted really local and I liked how it wasn’t too saucy. The rice was a little overcooked, but I actually liked it since I find that some of the other restaurants cook it too al dente. There was an abundant of seafood such as shrimp and mussels in it.

IMG_7048

U said that the Bacalao here is amazing. It’s a very common dish for the Spanish, and it’s basically cod fish topped with lots of tomato sauce. This one also had eggplants and other vegetables. I found the sauce to be very similar to a ratatouille. I really enjoyed this as the sauce was actually sort of sweet!

IMG_7049

Lastly, we had another fish dish, and I actually found this very similar to the Bacalao, but with less sauce. I couldn’t really tell the difference, other than the fact that it was more deep fried. Tasted like cod to me too…

Overall, Pizzas L’avia is a great place to check out if you want to try some local food and at a cheap price. You can also get some of the items to go.