Back in Cataluña (I had to pinch myself twice), it’s Thursday and sunny out, so I arranged to meet Adrian and friends for lunch in Poblenou. This is the old industrial suburb of Barcelona, somewhat transformed since the 1992 Olympics, with a large population of artists, it’s own quiet Rambla and long sandy beach. I left the choice of restaurant up to Adrian, who’s always good at finding an excellent spot for a Menú del Día. Today was no exception – Bitacora (binnacle – stand or case for on deck compass and navigation instruments) was a great find!

menú del día

Bitacora is several streets off the main Rambla de Raval, but nevertheless, was full of people, mostly locals, which is always a good sign. The restaurant offers 3 courses for €11 including bread and a drink.

vi rosat

My vino rosado arrived while we waited

vi negre

…but I couldn’t help feeling jealous of Julia’s house red, which came in a larger half carafe.

paella marinera

I chose Paella Marinera (seafood paella), as did Adrian and Julia, for my first course. Thursday is paella day in Poblenou, so I’d been expecting to find this on the menu. As you can see, the portions are generous.

enchilada de pollo

Geppe had a most intriguing starter of Enchilada de Pollo – a chicken enchilada, minus the corn tortilla. Unusual, but delicious


…and there was some very good bread to hand.

vitello tonnato

Julia ordered a stunning Vitello Tonnato as her segundo plato – an Italian cold sliced veal dish with a creamy, tuna flavoured mayonnaise.

bacalao al pil pil

The rest of us had a Basque dish – Bacalao al Pil Pil  – salt cod cooked with garlic in olive oil (served with fried potatoes here) – if you can master this dish it’s considered to be the sign of a good cook. The oil should thicken and become a sauce during cooking, the garlic helps in this as it contains a natural emulsifier, along with gelatine in the cod. Pil-pil is the sound of something bubbling while cooking.

lemon pie

Puddings are included in the price of the menú del día, but Bitacora also has some posh, home made, postres (which reminded me of home), costing an additional Euro. I opted for Lemon Pie, which turned out to be Lemon Meringue Pie.

crumble de manzana

Adrian and Geppe ordered Crumble de Manzana con Helado – Apple Crumble with Ice Cream.


Afterwards, I had the usual carajillo de cognac (for courage). Julia had a large brandy and coffee, since (as she said) she hadn’t had all those pudding calories.

Our lunch was excellent and the service was prompt and friendly.

Bitacora is at: Plaça Unió 24, 08005, Poblenou, Barcelona.

About Mad Dog
This entry was posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Bitacora

  1. Firstly – God! 1992 seems so long ago! – anyway – artists are very cleverly good at taking over the architectural left overs. Bless them. Us. But let’s get to the point – puddings! I love lemon meringue pie – and – not to boast – but I will – mine is the BEST!
    Please forgive me – maybe a few too many wines with my solitary dinner!! Proved by the plethora of exclamation points
    love love c

  2. Eha says:

    Mad – when you get to Barcelona it is a happy day for us readers! I always, but always wish I was sitting at your table and gleaning from your palate and experience The wine and brandied coffee are a familiar duo . . . the food breathtakingly cheap as usual . . so one ‘tastes’ your menu! I would have loved the seafood paella but my eye lit on the praised Vitello Tonnato . . . aside from osso buco that dish brought me more acclaim at my dinner parties than almost any other . . . . every now and then when beloved old friends descend to my home and table it still gets lovingly made: such a flavour treat . . . . hope you enjoy your Easter and see you after . . . .

  3. Michelle says:

    Sunny! (It’s been nothing but grey and rainy here forever.) And fabulous lunch and wines! (I have been eating nuts or crackers at my desk.) So envious!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Michelle – if it’s any consolation, it’s not as warm as usual – there was even snow on the surrounding hills when I landed, which is just as well since I forgot my summer jacket! Nevertheless, it’s warm to me and much nicer than the cold weather we’ve had in the UK.

  4. Nadia says:

    That paella would have been enough as a main course for me!

    • Mad Dog says:

      It’s quite often served as a starter here, although in a traditional paella restaurant they put the whole paella pan on the table and you are supposed to eat it from there with a wooden spoon!

  5. So much food! What a fantastic find.

  6. Wonderful! We’ll be over the border and into Spain on Tuesday….bring on those menu del dia!

    • Mad Dog says:

      You’ll need a coat – they are all still dressed for winter here! I’m not – it seems quite warm compared to England.
      I had some amazing Italian coppa a couple of nights ago. There’s a little bar opposite Oli, run by an Italian called Walter – he’s very generous to his regular customers.

      • Love coops, it’s not so well known in the UK. We’re on the west coast of France and today it’s absolutely chucking it down and blowing a gale!

        • Mad Dog says:

          There’s definitely something wrong with the weather at the moment – it rained gatos y perros (as the man in the Chinese shop said) last Saturday.

  7. Ron says:

    Sounds wonderful and definitely a place we’d enjoy dining at. The paella marinera looks perfectly cooked and enough for a meal in itself.
    We experienced Bacalao al Pil Pil for the first time a few years back in a small tapas bar in Amsterdam and have been hooked ever since.
    Your review of Bitacora was fantastic, making one feel as if they were setting there with you.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Ron – I’ve got a simple bacalao pil pil recipe (as taught to me by a Basque lady), which I intend to post some time in the future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.