The rooftop at the Hotel Vila Emilia (C/Calabria 115-117, 93 252 5285) is probably the Exiample Esquerra’s best-kept secret. Or that’s what you’d think, but evidently word is out since I had to reserve more than a week in advance to secure a table for their Tuesday and Thursday night barbecues.
It’s a simple, jovial affair with huge Dedon loungers plumped up with cushions the size of Lichtenstein sprawled around a pit that fires steak kebabs, plump king prawns, salmon, meat balls and cubes of lamb for €17 including a glass of wine. It’s not the kind of cooking that will win any awards, but it’s a brilliant excuse to escape the heat of the street and get a cool breeze through your hair of an evening.
Actually the food is good. Correct, as they’d say here, for the price using prime cuts of meat that are juicy and tender, fresh fish and seafood, and handed out in fair portions. The bread and oil is also tip-top and there’s lots of it (just as well because they forgot about us and it was an hour before we saw any grill fodder), but if I have a gripe at all it might be that a bowl of salad or coleslaw, or even some grilled veggies wouldn’t go amiss. It all looks rather lonely on the plate and needs something to jazz it up: make it into a bit of an occasion. You could order a side dish from the menu, but that’s when things start to add up.
So bump up the price to say €20, throw in a salad bar and a bottle of wine for two, and you have the makings of a very happy evening indeed. We spent €22 incidentally, adding in a bottle of wine.