It was bright and sunny this week, so I had lunch at Hotel Restaurant la Ciudadela with Nookie. You may remember a previous visit to La Ciudadela a few years ago. The restaurant is on the hotel ground floor and named after Parc de la Cuitadella, which is just across the road. Philip V Spain laid siege to Barcelona during the War of Spanish Succession in 1714 – when the city fell, he built a Citadel on the site of the park to house a garrison and prevent any further rebellion. The Citadel was universally hated by the Catalans and by 1872 it was turned into a contemporary park. Parc de la Cuitadella contains (among other things) the Palau del Parlament de Catalunya, the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona and Barcelona Zoo.
Nookie’s often un poco tarde, so I sat and watched the clouds cross the sky and soaked up vitamin D from the sunshine.
When Nookie arrived we looked through the menu and realised that they no longer do a Menú del Día, however, the Fórmula Diaria (daily specials menu) looked quite reasonable with a lot of dishes that would make us both happy.
La Ciudadela specialises in arroces (rice dishes) so I chose Arroz del Senyoret (gentleman’s rice) with monkfish, squid, prawns and mussels. It is said that Arroz del Senyoret was created in the Valencian rice restaurant La Pepica, when the painter Joaquín Sorolla asked for peeled langostinos in his arroz, so that he wouldn’t get his hands messy (there’s a very similar story about the origin coming from Alicante, too). The chefs took this a stage further and removed all the skins and shells. In Valencia it is said that a good rice doesn’t need lemon, but I’m not in Valencia and the Arroz del Senyoret tasted fantastic regardless!
Nookie ordered Revuelto de Setas-Rossinyols, Trompetas de la Muerte y Rovellons – scrambled eggs with mushrooms – Chanterelles, Death Trumpets (Black Chantarelles) and Bloody Milk Caps, as her starter and main courses.
I had a superior Crema Catalana for my pudding, this is one of my favourite desserts.
Considering this wasn’t a Menú del Día it sill represents very good value and La Ciudadela is always a very good place to eat. You will notice that I skipped the carajillo – it was getting close to 5pm and Nookie had to go off and meet another friend. We walked up through el Born together and I got my coffee with brandy closer to home, at Bar Principal.