A positive derivative of colonisation, immigration and globalisation is a fusion between recipes and cultures. Grandma’s cannelloni enter the New World thanks to the movement of people from place to place and, along the way, they are reinvented in line with their new surroundings. Cuisine, like culture and language, is alive and dynamic, receptive to external influences. This month, we recommend three Mediterranean restaurants that have embraced the new while retaining the wholesome and delectable elements of their traditional model. Each offers beautifully designed surroundings, efficient and friendly service, and menus sure to please every taste.
Il Magazzino: Rosselló 253, Tel. 93 611 5667. www.delicatessenbarcelona.es
Il Magazzino has been around for a while but it remains one of the more innovative places in town for an excellent Italian meal. More than a restaurant, Il Magazzino is a well-stocked delicatessen, offering quality products from the Italian peninsula to eat in or take home. All of the fresh pasta is made on the premises. The menu is classic Italian, the design an eclectic mix of hand crafted furnishings, and everything in the shop—from the deli products and wine to the tables, chairs and decorative pieces—is available for purchase. The owners’ mission is to bring the best of Italy to Barcelona and, in addition to the food prepared by ‘imported’ Italian chefs, they sponsor cultural events such as readings and discussions of Italian literature, culture and fine arts. (See Il MAGAZZINO Italian Delicatessen Food & Home Market on Facebook for updates.) Food for the mind, heart and belly.
Café Godot: Sant Domènec 19, Tel. 93 368 2036. www.cafegodot.com
New to Gràcia is the lovely Café Godot. The interior is reminiscent of a New York City style bistro—dark and cosy with high ceilings, exposed beams, large boards listing the house specialities and an attractive cocktail bar. Offering three distinct menus, they serve everything from banana pancakes to Thai curry and Moroccan lamb. Highly recommendable is their fried fish sandwich with citrus sauce. Portions are generous and the food is fresh, with a well-balanced blend of flavours on each plate. There’s a late brunch on the weekends and, maintaining the New York vibe, the kitchen is open all day.
Chéri: Enric Granados 122, Tel. 93 416 0057. www.cherirestaurant.com
This restaurant sits at the top of semi-pedestrianised Carrer Enric Granados, where El Trobador, part of the same group, was previously located. The owners have made a beautiful transformation of the interior space and updated the menu, but still offer the same friendly and efficient staff and outdoor dining. The dishes are based on traditional Mediterranean cooking with influences from the north of Europe and a touch or two coming from Asia. There is a bar offering a huge assortment of drinks, with a twist on the usual cocktails—for an original mix try the Martínez, a dry reinvention of the classic Martini. Specialities of the house include Belgian-style rock mussels with fries and a Galician chuleton, your choice of 600 grams or a kilo of charcoal-grilled beef T-bone, which will make you wonder if you have suddenly been transported to a steakhouse in Paris.