Thursday, October 30, 2014

Can Kenji - L'Eixample, Barcelona

We have a real weakness for Japanese food and have previously mentioned Kibuka, which is one of our favourites. On the recommendation of some friends we recently visited the Japanese restaurant Can Kenji and have since been back a few times. Now we have never actually been to Japan but we suspect that this place unlike many other "Japanese" restaurants is the real deal. This is based on the fact that they serve some rather unusual stuff and that the place is generally full of Japanese/Asian guests. This is the first place that I have seen raw horse on the menu (Tataki de cavall), which is in fact delicious, or vegetable based desserts with potato and beans.
Now these dishes are some of the more unusual ones and there are many less experimental dishes. The sushi is served the traditional way here and is a good option if you feel like playing it safe. The quality of the fish and rice is excellent - perfectly made and served! The dishes are relatively small so we would suggest that you stick with the Barcelona tapas concept and sample many dishes when you visit Can Kenji. The place is reasonably priced and table reservation is essential as it is always packed. DC!

Polleria Fontana - Gràcia, Barcelona

Polleria Fontana situated in Grácia is a place that you are unlikely to find by chance. And even if you should stumble across it it does not look like anything special except for the fact that is packed around Catalan dinner time. Polleria Fontana serves tapas the old school way so expect a greasy but delicious experience if you like these goodies just like us. I'm not a huge fan of the classic croquetes but I have to admit that the ones they serve here are really crunchy and tasty.

Also the Bomba de Barcoleneta is something you should check out. It is best described as a ball of mashed potatoes with minced meat in the center that has been on a quick trip in the deep fryer.
Basically, if you are into the classic fried tapas dishes this place is excellent and warmly recommended. However, if you are concerned about your waistline find another place. DC! 

Granja Petitbo - L'Eixample, Barcelona

Brunch places are great in particular if you are the chilled out tourist that will struggle to make in time for breakfast. We certainly belong to this category and fortunately more and more brunch places ideally suited for the lazy tourist are popping up in Barcelona. Granja Petitbo is situated in L'Exiample within walking distance from Sagrada Família so if your heading that way for some Gaudí action you could start the day here. The atmosphere in this big open place with a facade open to the busy street is great just like the food. Unlike the brunch place Picnic that we have mentioned previously this place is more down to earth, which is also reflected in the food. Servings are bigger and maybe a bit less fancy compared to Picnic.
However, it is still excellent and has its own unique atmosphere so we come here frequently. If you go for some of their freshly squeezed  juice and a serving of eggs Benedict you will not be disappointed. DC! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Picnic - El Born, Barcelona

Barcelona in reality only has one park of a respectable size called Parc de la Ciutadella, situated in El Born. It's a rather odd park with little signs telling you not to walk on the grass. However, everyone seems to be ignoring this fact and since no one is trying to enforce the rule just get on the grass with everyone else. When here you are right next to the labyrinthine El Born district full of little surprises. One such surprise came to our attention only recently and it's in fact very easy to find since it is very close to the Arc de Triomf. It is a small place called Picnic and if you are yearning for a brunch this is the place to go. The Picnic version of brunch is awesome. It has a bunch of classics on the menu such as pancakes with syrup and Eggs Benedict but in between there are a some very Catalan brunch concepts that will be new to many. For example you really should try the sobrasada toast with honey (a so called bikini). The set up of the place is very similar to a bar so you can keep a close eye on everything that goes on in the very, very busy kitchen. New guests are constantly waiting in line by the door in the hope that they might get a table so remember to book if you don't feel like lingering around for 30 min.
Most of the seats in the restaurant are bar stools but there are also quite a few regular tables. Picnic is easily missed when walking down the street so judging by the number of tourist making an appearance the place has clearly been mentioned in various guidebooks, websites etc. However, for a change it is actually quite nice with all the tourists. The place has its own unique atmosphere because of the blend of Catalans, Germans, Americans, Scandinavians, French etc. As a added bonus the staff we spoke to were all very good at English which helps things along. The place is relatively inexpensive. We went nuts and ordered too much of everything and we payed 45 euros. Considering that that was our breakfast and lunch it is quite affordable. So next time you are in the neighborhood drop into Picnic for a brunch and afterwards head to Parc de la Ciutadella for a nap under one of the palm trees. DC!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

En Aparté - El Born, Barcelona

En Aparté - Relaxed french cuisine i El Born
So far El Born has been unfairly neglected on our blog despite being yet another fantastic area of Barcelona. El Born is a maze of small streets, alleys, passages etc. and you will keep finding new hidden gems in the most unlikely spots. There are many fantastic places to eat and drink in El Born and if you feel like skipping the tapas for a few hours how about trying out some french cuisine at En Aparté? En Aparté is a reasonably priced and very friendly place with a few tables outside and a cozy indoor restaurant with a very relaxed atmosphere.
Relaxed restaurant and bar for a great lunch, dinner or for a few drinks
As we have mentioned before you can get some incredible week day lunch deals in Barcelona and En Aparté i no exception. If you go for the lunch menu the selection is limited but you will not be disappointed. We had the three course Menu del Dia for only 12 euros (including a glass of wine) and everything was excellent. En Aparté is a highly recommended oasis to have a relaxing break and a bite to eat during your exploration of El Born. DC!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rita Rouge - El Raval, Barcelona

Mercat de la Boqueria is one of the most fantastic food markets in the world. It is a great tourist attraction, excellent place to shop and you can have some fantastic culinary experiences there. Although it is nice and highly recommended to visit, shop and eat at the market it is absolutely swarming with people and you have to be patient and wait to get some food served. If you feel like escaping the inferno for a quiet lunch Rita Rouge is an excellent oasis at the back of la Boqueria. They serve a nice three course lunch menu for only 13 euros (incl. a drink). The menu selection is quite limited (hence the low price) but there is something for every taste. You can eat outside and inside. The outside is currently (November 2012) right next to a construction site but we did not find this annoying in any way as it is peaceful and quiet. The outside area is right next to a play ground so it would be an excellent place to eat for families with kids. The inside is designed very cool and allegedly is is a great place to dine in the evening and to have cocktails (check them out at their web site here). DC!
UPDATE! We recently took the kids to dinner at Rita Rouge and had a great experience. During the evenings Rita Rouge has a full menu and the prices are reasonable but nothing like the day time deal. The food is excellent and the waiters are very friendly to kids and parents alike. The place is clearly very popular so it is advisable to book a table.     

Kibuka - Gràcia, Barcelona

For the first few days in Barcelona most visitors go into a Tapes frenzy but eventually most reach a Tapes saturation point. Fortunately, Barcelona has excellent restaurants and cafes serving everything you can dream off from across the globe. There are many Asian restaurants throughout the city and an absolute favourite of ours is Kibuka. There are three Kibuka places including Fast Kibuka (Take away only), Kibuka Sushi Bar & Drinks, and Kibuka Sushi Bar and Restaurant. Undoubtedly, all three places are excellent but thus far we have only been to the latter. Judging by the number of non-Catalans present Kibuka Sushi Bar & Restaurant must have been mentioned in a guide book somewhere. And believe us when we say it's popular with the locals and foreigners alike. If you arrive around normal Catalan dinner time (10 pm) be prepared to stand in line for a considerable time. Consequently we always have dinner here early by Catalan standards (around 8 - 9 pm) at which time the place is already three quarters full. They have an extensive menu covering classic sushi and hot dishes as well as a long range of modern sushi and hot dish creations. We have been working our way through the menu and the quality of everything is excellent but obviously some of the more experimental stuff will not be to every one's taste. Around 4-5 dishes is what we usually have. The kitchen has a bad habit of preparing everything you order at once and serving starters, mains etc in one go. So make sure to order a little at a time to make things a bit more relaxing and enjoyable. A menu in English is available on request. The menu is moderately priced and will not wreck your budget. DC!
UPDATE! Recently we discovered that Kibuka has an amazing lunch deal on week days. For approx. 13 Euros/person we got a soup, sushi, noodles, dessert and a drink. More than enough! Fortunately they were happy to wrap the remains up for us to take home.