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!