Times are tight and when companies are cutting corners, the office Christmas party is one of the first things to go. This year may not see very many extravaganzas with ice luges and eight-piece swing bands but if there's enough money in the coffers for a meal out, plenty of restaurants in Barcelona are set up to cater for the office Christmas meal with private salons and special menus to suit a range of pockets. Here are two economical options:
The venerable Can Culleretes (C/ Quintana 5, 93 317 30 22, www.canculleretes.com) let its standards slip for a while but it's no longer resting on its dusty old laurels and puts on a pretty good spread. The food is no-nonsense traditional Catalan favourites—heavy on the meat, low on the fusion frippery—and the seven dining spaces can take anything from 30 to 50 people. Their various set group menus range in price from €22.50 to €34 and might include the dark and gloopy stew of wild boar, goose cooked with apples or even suckling pig, all of which are suitably Christmassy. If all that sounds a bit heavy, they also offer a seafood pica pica menu for €34.
Uptown in Gràcia, a more modern option is the hip and cosy Monty Café (Riera de Sant Miquel 29, 93 368 28 82, www.montycafe.com) where Italian cuisine is the order of the day. Their main space takes up to 60 diners while the private room can take 20, and they even have a small stage if anyone wants to let loose (although they can also organise live music for you). The group menus range from around €25 to €35 a head and include plenty of veggie options and nothing too spiky or hairy or scary-looking if you have an office full of picky eaters. Starters, which are to share, might include grilled Scamorza cheese or rucula salad with pancetta and date vinaigrette while for seconds there is anything from ravioli stuffed with bull's tail to salmon carpaccio. And best of all? They don't close until 3am.
Note that all the prices quoted above include water, wine, bread and coffee but after-dinner liqueurs and chupitos are extra.
In next week's blog we look at restaurants where you can find a great escudella i carn d'olla, the iconic Catalan Christmas dish.
Tara Stevens is currently away; in her absence, our food blog is being written by Nadia Feddo