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.

Gallito - Barceloneta, Barcelona

One of the many fantastic things about Barcelona is the beach in the heart of the city (Barceloneta). It is a great place to visit all year round if you are going for a stroll, a ride on your longboard, a mojito in a chiringuito (beach bar) or for dinner at one of the many restaurants facing the ocean. However, you have to select where you dine very carefully as there are many very poor and/or expensive restaurants in this area. A place that we love and often frequent is the surfer bar/restaurant Gallito. It is situated right under the W Hotel and thus is very easy to find. Gallito is a great place to visit in summer enjoying the sun outside and in winter watching a raging storm from their comfortable sofas. The place has a very laid back atmosphere with big sofas with lots of cushions, a fantastic view of the ocean and very friendly staff. The food is good and very reasonably priced for this location, but don't expect a unique culinary experience. They have showers in connection with the toilets that guests are welcome to use so you can easily combine a day at the beach with dinner at Gallito's. In addition, to dining this is a popular drinks/cocktail bar in the evening. A great place to go with your friends for dinner and drinks before a night out. Despite the fact that Catalunya produces fantastic beer such as Estrella and Moritz at Gallito they will do their best to sell you a Heineken. However, if you insist on having a local beer they often will have it but you have to push them a bit to get it. DC!
UPDATE! Gallito is closed during the evening during the winter months. Give them a call and check if they are open before heading there.