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Photo by Tara Stevens
Sturdy, earnest mains—artichoke, pea and and potato stew
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Photo by Tara Stevens
Teresa Carles interior
The salad bar at Teresa Carles
Despite the recession, Barcelona eateries are looking slicker and more grown-up by the second. Or perhaps it’s simply that the city has become more sophisticated as the transcendent rush of people moving in in the early and mid Noughties slows to something a bit more permanent. Either way, recent openings show more attention to quality in food, surrounds and service, which can only be a good thing.
Teresa Carles was a chef at a restaurant named Paradis in Lleida during the Seventies. In 1979, she released her first cookbook, which contained 115 vegetarian recipes and this place pays homage to her legacy. Opened in the Raval about two months ago it looks pretty shiny and hip with its open-plan dining-rooms, hydraulic cement tiled floors and baskets of perky fruit and veg casually laying around. You feel rather saintly just being here, while portions are generous enough to allow you to really fill up.
Skip the menu del día, which is rather dull—pedestrian soup with delicious rye bread croutons, a so-so salad; stodgy, earnest mains, with no pudding and an extra charge for coffee—and go à la carte, which leave you feeling sprightly as a spring lamb once lunch or dinner is done. Five (€8.50) or 10 (€10.50) ingredient salads consist of such exotica as oak leaf lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, beetroot sprouts and seaweed among the usual suspects. You can also get veggie tapas including cheese-stuffed mushrooms, vegetable crudités with dips and smoked tofu pinchos (€4.50-€9.70) for sharing, hearty mains of the risotto, pasta and pie ilk (€9.70-€13.50) and decent puddings (€4.85-€6.50). Brunch is served between 9am and 2pm daily and features a couple of oddities such as pa amb tomàquet with chocolate (€2.95), along side baked eggs, spinach and mushrooms (€6.75), artisan muffins from Puigverd de Lleida (€2.15) and great juices.
In a nutshell then: sturdy, saintly, occasionally a tad strange, and mercifully not so right-on they don’t serve wine.
TERESA CARLES: C/Jovellanos 2, El Raval. Tel. 93 317 1829. www.teresacarles.com
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