La Caseta del Migdia (The House of the Midday Sun), used to be one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets. Very few people ventured up to its privileged perch on the cliff tops just behind the castle on Montjuïc. But that was two summers ago. Getting a weekend table at Marc Ros’s baby now can be almost impossible as it is one of few good-time places that keeps going through the grand exodus of August.
The Caseta itself is an unimpressive concrete hut, presumably once the domain of park personnel, squatting in the middle of scrubby pine forest. Around it are several makeshift terraces furnished by camping chairs and basic picnic tables. One serves as a DJ booth, another is a barbecue pit where chicken legs and botifarra smoke and sizzle into evening. Across the dirt track, and a step up in terms of dining ambience, there are tables laid with candles, which also happen to enjoy the best, if not the only, sunset-over-the-sea view in the city.
Inside the hut there’s a rough wooden bar where you can get cold beer on tap (served in plastic beakers) and bottles of super-plonk, but the setting forgives a lot. Quite how Ros got his hands on such a piece of prime landscape is anyone’s guess, but what a blessing for those of us without gardens and terraces that he did: an urban/rural chill-out, far removed from the traffic fumes and incessant noise of one of Europe’s most popular cities.
Truth be told, the food isn’t anything you’ll spend the next month talking about and the wait can be long. But €15 gets you a mixed plate of barbecued chicken and botifarra, a hunk of corn, salad and bread, and it matches the mood perfectly—long summer days that segue nicely with the music into night as punters get a little bit merry and start swinging to the rhythm.
As you sink back into a camp chair, stars overhead, a cold beer in your paw, the Caseta’s festival spirit is one of those uniquely special Barcelona things that reminds you why you came here in the first place.
La Caseta del Migdia: Mirador del Migdia s/n, Montjuïc, tel. 617 956 572, www.lacaseta.org. €15 per barbecue portion. Open: Thur and Fri, 8pm-2.30am; Sat, noon-2.30am; Sun, noon-1am.