Photo by Tara Stevens
Mr Marwan arrived from his native Lebanon several years ago and now occupies an entire corner block of the Eixample Esquerra (C/Muntaner 34, 93 454 5688). He still does much of the cooking himself and his little restaurant has now expanded to include a tea shop and one of the prettiest kebab shops in town with its carved wood shelves and racks of golden, crunchy baklava. If, like me, you have been known to pop into King Doner on the Rambla del Raval after a big night out, the Marwan experience elevates kebabs into something special.
He only does two kinds: falafel in durum, pita or on a plate with rice (€4.30) or turkey shawarma in durum, pita or on a plate (€4.80). Both come plump and oozing with trimmings: salads, yogurt dressing, slivers of red onion, and picante for those who want it. For a quick dinner, sit out on the terrace with a couple of beers and you’ll still have change from a tenner.
Given the charm of the take-out you’d expect a fairly ornately dressed restaurant. In fact it’s rather plain and not wildly inspiring as a place to spend an evening. But the food is great and superb value. From a mixed platter (€14), my favourites were the emtabal (a smoky aubergine dip), mohamara (a puree of red peppers and nuts), labne (fresh cheese and mint) and kibe (lamb and wheat croquettes). If you go in a group, order a round of these to share. All cost between €3.80 and €4.70 for a generous sized portion. Or take it to go with some flat bread, and have yourself a picnic on Montjuïc.