Tuesday 24 June 2008

Barcelona: Part I: Passadis del Pep

I do believe I have just put on half a stone in four days. Hopefully most of it can be attributed to fluid retention but deep down I have a sneaking suspicion it's due to the vast quantities off food and drink we managed to plough our way through.

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities to visit, not only due to it's good weather, relative proximity, beautiful architecture but also the fact the food is so damn good there. We (HI, Rachel, Choiti and myself) had decided to go there way back in February so I had ample time to plan our eating, which was a good thing as it allowed us time to save up for it too!

We originally were meant to arrive on Thursday afternoon, so you can imagine my horror when the Sunday before I checked the flight details to find out I had booked our outgoing flight on the wrong Thursday. After a lot on panicking and feeling like an fool I managed to get us some other flights, so we arrived later that day.
What an idiot.
Luckily we arrived in time to keep our first reservation at Passadis Del Pep. This is one of two restaurants owned by Pep Manubens, the other being Cal Pep a famous tapas place known for its fish. It has grown in popularity over the years and seems to be getting a bit of a rep as a tourist trap. Both places tend to serve you what they have as opposed to asking you what you want, at Cal Pep they tend to be of the fried variety. Since there were 4 of us I figured a sit down place was probably the way to go, hence Passadis. I had also done my research and knew that what we would be served would be stuff we would like to eat. The other seafood place that people (Pim, SD) rave about is Rias De Galicia however, after looking at the menus that they kindly emailed me (RDG not Pim or SD), I reckoned it was a bit out of our price range, especially given the other reservations we had planned for that weekend.

The deal with this place can be a bit hard to understand if you haven't done your homework. It's website is not very interactive so I had phoned ahead to make the booking and then got the hotel to confirm (a good idea and one I would reccommend), as my Catalan is minimal and their English too.
When you get there you are shown to your table and cava is poppped. Now this is an easy way for the bill to mount. We ended up having 3 bottles which was probably one too many but after the 2nd it's hard to keep track, which I think is what they hope for. They then bring you about 7 or 8 plates of mostly seafood after which they ask you if you want your main course!
The food is simple here, fresh seafood cooked in lots of lovely butter, butter and more butter, with some garlic thrown in for good measure.

first off was jamon and pan amb tomate

then baby cockles in butter-tallerines

then sea snails- canaillas

then prawns with aoili- gambas al a plancha

then deep fired baby fish- fritura

then langoustines

then prawns with onion sauce- cigallas con cebolla

then baby squid with black rice-chipirones con arroz. This was a very rich tasty dish, which if not rich enough was made even better by the gluttonous addition of the buttery onion sauce from the cigallas. At the same time as my tummy was making happy noises, I could hear my arteries narrowing.

As if this wasn't enough my companions astounded me by proceeding to order fish for their mains! HI and Choiti had the monkish- rape

And Rachel the seabass-lupino, of which I snaffled many a bit.

The seabass was beautiful, the monkfish we all agreed was slightly less cooked than we would have liked, but as we were to discover, is how fish is usually served in Barcelona.

We were all stuffed to the gills and when asked if we wanted pudding said no, it was therefor slightly cheeky of our waiter chap to bring us a plate of creme catalan with strawberries under it.

But by tis time we were well through out 3rd bottle of cava and ate it anyway!
To punish us they then brought out complimentary falvoured liquers as a disgestif.

HI happily helped himself to all three whereas we girls, left well alone.

Our verdict was that it was a fun evening, but expensive and although we thought the seafood was very fresh it was maybe slightly overpriced.The bill came to just over a hundred euros each, not including tip. You do get a lot for your food and the bill was probably inflated by the cava and un-asked for items but there is not really a way round this, even though we knew it was an issue before-hand. I am glad we went but don't think I would go back.

1 comment:

Barcelona Food Girl said...

There is nothing like an inflated bill to ruin an otherwise perfectly good eating experience! Thank you for posting this--we took advantage of your cautionary tale to set the ground rules from the start and ended up with an excellent meal, no surprises. But I can see where it might have gotten out of hand had we not known what to expect.