April 18th, 2012
We went out of Ciutat Vella (the old city) and into Eixample (the newer area of Barcelona built on a grid, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and connecting the older towns of Sants, Gracia, etc.) today, in search of high quality photo printing paper. Not having much luck, we stopped for lunch just before 2pm. All the shops are shut from 2 – 4pm, in order for people to eat lunch and take a siesta. It seems quite civilised to me, especially since all the restaurants do a lunchtime menu costing about 10 € for 3 courses including wine.
Antojo… (meaning: whimsy, fancy, caprice, whim) is a recently modernised, family run restaurant, where a good deal of thought and effort goes into the food. We got lucky, there was a queue, but most people wanted to sit indoors and there was an outdoor table free immediately.
Oli had a classic Valencian dish – fideuá served with allioli. Fideuá is a seafood dish, very similar to paella, but vermicelli like pasta is used instead of rice. Apparently, the pasta, fish and stock are cooked together and it’s obvious when the dish is ready, because all the noodles stand upright. I got to taste this one and it was excellent – the taste of garlic in the ailloli goes perfectly with the fish and pasta.
We both ordered the same main course – pork with mushrooms and peas, served with with little fried potatoes. It was lovely tender pork, in a savoury sauce and the potatoes had crispy outsides with fluffy centers.
For pudding I had ricotta with membrillo, a solid jelly made with quince and often referred to as quince cheese. This is very popular in Spain, but once upon a time, membrillo was common in England too!
We washed our lunch down with the usual rosado and I swear that the Catalan rosé wines come without hangovers.
The food and service here was excellent.
Ironically we found the required photo paper back in Barrio Gotico.