Libentia restaurant has garnered a whole lot of attention after its three young chefs won the Gran Premio Cocinero Revelación 2010 at the Madrid Fusión food conference. When I went to review it the other day for the May edition of Metropolitan, I couldn’t help noticing that this Sagrada Família city block, particularly around the intersection of C/ Còrsega and C/ Sardenya, has a few other treats worth taking a look at.
Pastelería Cleopatra (C/ Còrsega 535, tel. 93 348 0849) is a lavishly decorated bakery dedicated to pastries, freshly baked Arabic bread and the largest selection of syrupy baklava I’ve seen in Barcelona: bird’s nest baklava stuffed with pistachios; finger rolls with finely ground cashew; shredded filo burma pastries stuffed with pistachio; ballourie drizzled with rose water, and round little walnut and date mamoul. Don’t miss the rarely-seen bassma pastry made with kunafie dough, pistachios and clarified butter and baked to a lovely chewy texture.
Around the corner, Yaya Amelia (C/ Sardenya, 364, tel. 93 456 4573) is a hardcore traditional restaurant complete with gingham tablecloths and crocheted doilies under the knick-knacks on the shelves. It’s not cheap (reckon on at least €45 a head if you go à la carte) but serves high quality, no-nonsense Catalan and Basque cuisine with a cigar menu to aid the post-meal sobretaula if you feel so inclined.
The main draw is of course Libentia (C/ Còrsega 537, tel. 93 435 8048) itself which is so small, narrow and grey that it’s easy to miss. Although you wouldn’t get away for much under €50 a head if you went à la carte, they have a truly superb €18 set lunch menu, wines are sold at bodega price (with a small corkage fee) and the cooking is phenomenal. More about that in May.
For food shopping, don’t miss the tiny grocers at C/Còrsega 533 which has dew-drop fresh veggies at quite astoundingly low prices, including several unusual types of local lettuce, and the superb meat and luxury charcuterie at Carnisseria i Xarcuteria Albert (C/ Sardenya 364).