El Raval is my neighbourhood, on top of its proximity to Port Vell it also had a lot of good places to grab a bite to eat and have a drink. As my parents were visiting me a couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to visit a few more new places near my flat and as my area is a place that tourists don’t seem to usually venture out to I wanted to recommend some places away from La Rambla. In no particular order:
- Palosanto – I came here with Bryony in January, we ordered a lot of tapas and the calamari was the best cooked calamari I have had since I have been here. The dishes came when they were ready so we seemed to have a steady stream of food, which is exactly the kind of dining experience I enjoy. When my parents came with me, we ordered about 7 dishes (we could hardly fit them all on the table!) and were so satisfied we had no room for dessert. My Dad was able to try some Barcelona real ale which was very refreshing (and the label designs are pretty cool). The place is a bit of a tight squeeze so if you aren’t planning on going early then I’d suggest reserving a table. The staff are very friendly and the menus have English translations too, something that helped me from spending time translating each dish to my parents. I love the decor in Palosanto, each table comes with a sketchbook and some crayons, the best pieces of art are displayed on the wall and in the background there is always great music playing.
- La informal – I am really not a burger person, it is not the kind of food that I can just always eat and I rarely have a craving for a burger but the veggie burger I had at La informal a couple of weeks ago had me craving another one a week later. My Mum also doesn’t have a lot of love for burgers and she finds the bread too much but at La informal that wasn’t a problem as the buns didn’t have that stodgy quality that most do. Service is really fast, even when they are busy and there is outside seating for the warmer months that allow you to observe the busy centre of Raval.
- La Prudencia – Macey and I visited La Prudencia on our first night in the flat, all tapas dishes are €4 which is very reasonable. The atmosphere of the place is a little more subdued and intimate, every time I have been in there only couples have been occupying the tables. Dishes are brought out one at a time (in my experience) and are a little smaller but that’s a good thing as La Prudencia’s tapas is very indulgent and rich so you fill up pretty fast. My favourite dessert of all time was the Ferrero Rocher soufflé that Meg and I shared when she came to visit. It was nothing short of heavenly.
- Lapaciencia – I walked past Lapaciencia quite a few times and it always looked so inviting and popular so I figured it was worth a visit. I loved the food I had there with my parents – my Mum and I had pasta dishes whilst my Dad ordered a selection of tapas from a set tapas menu and we all dipped into each others. The Russian salad was clearly my favourite but my pasta was just as delicious. I had quite a few glasses of the house Vermouth, something that has really grown on me whilst I have been here, and it has convinced me to try out the tapas and vermouth pairings they have on the menu next time I go. The staff are attentive, always checking that everything is on your table that should be and they have a lot to do for how many of them are running the place! The tiled floor is also pretty mesmirising and the wrap around window means that you always have a good view of the street outside.
- El Pachuco – Pachuco is the place I take/recommend to everybody who comes to visit me. It is a very small bar that serves Mexican food (best nachos in Barcelona) and has an impressive display of tequila. It is also home of the infamous Reina Margarita (a frozen margarita with a corona stuck in the top ) which left myself and Yvie feeling a little worse for wear as we stood at the gate for our flight home before Christmas. El Pachuco is always busy, if you have to wait outside for a bit before you can go in just grab a beer from the bar and enjoy people watching because it is worth waiting for. Orders are placed via forms (available in English) on the table that you fill out and hand to the bar which gives you plenty of time to think about what you want. The atmosphere is casual, comfy and fun and I am going to miss it a hell of a lot when I move back to the UK.