Spending a week (with my wife) at an apartment in Gracia, mostly but not exclusively eating in the neighborhood. Some notes so far, and I’ll supplement when I have time…
First night (Sunday) was Santa Gula. I liked this place more than Jody did, but neither of us loved it as much as we wanted to. We started with squid-ink croquetas, which were delicious and fascinating–light and crisp outside, savory black goo inside, and I have no idea what was in them besides, obviously, squit ink. Patatas bravas were also excellent; potatoes were perfectly crisp, topped with a garlicky aioli and a deep and smoky chile sauce. Pa amb tomaquet was good but not spectacular. Halibut ceviche with toasted corn and squash chunks was okay, but the fish was a little rubbery. Tuna tataki with mango and avocado was better, good but not spectacular. I have a feeling we may have ordered unwisely–maybe the raw-ish fish dishes aren’t their strong suit–and if we were planning to be here longer I would want to give it another try. With a very nice and very inexpensive bottle of white wine, dinner came to 66E. (Coming here after a week in Paris, we are loving the menu prices.)
Next day we had a late lunch at a random spot on Rambla de Catalunya, with tourist-friendly versions of pintxos and an enormous plate of patatas bravas. (This one was completely coated in a mayonnaise-y sauce, and Jody jokingly described it as Catalan poutine.) Not great, not bad, and certainly inexpensive.
In the evening we strolled over to Bar Bodega Quimet for wine and either a substantial snack or a light dinner. We sat at the bar, and the bartender was enormously patient and helpful, picking a wine for us and answering the occasional food question. Pa amb tomaquet with anchovies; bocadillos with either artichokes or chorizo-stuffed olives and cornichons, peppers, and cocktail onions; assorted olives; and, between us, four glasses of white wine. (I might be forgetting something, not sure.) All very tasty, and the bill came to 30E.
Tuesday we had a late-lunch (15:00) reservation at Kaiku. I was interested in getting one of the rice dishes, but Jody was inclined otherwise, so we went a different way. To start with we shared a lovely green salad with figs, candied orange (?) peel, and a wine vinaigrette. In ordering mains, there was a mix-up (thanks to my butchered Spanish and the waitress’ limited English) that wound up paying off big time. Jody first ordered the monkfish carpaccio ‘ravioli’, then changed her mind and got the seared tuna, while I went for the fried calamari. All three wound up on our table, and after a moment’s consternation we quickly realized that yes, we really did want the monkfish. The tuna was perfect, with minced apple and mushroom as the ideal accompaniment. The monkfish was ultra-thin slices arranged in the form of ravioli, ‘stuffed’ with I’m not sure what, with basil oil; delicate and subtle and 100% delicious. The calamari was really good, but the most ordinary of the three mains, so I almost regretted ordering it. But not quite. Dessert was a big brownie with dollops of cappuccino cream at the corners and dabs of raspberry sauce on the plate–a great finish to a lovely meal.