I love the idea of beach clubs, but have an inbuilt aversion to the try-hard, trendy model of places like Nikki Beach where a heavy-duty side of thumping techno is served up alongside your paella and glass of cava, and by the end of lunch you’ve been driven half mad by this particular form of torture. I realise this could be an age thing, but for that very reason I was keen to check out the Club Tropical down on the sand in Gavà where €17 (Monday to Friday), €25 (Saturday, Sunday and holidays) gets you a shaded sun lounger, a white fluffy towel and access to a pool with sea views. You can also get lunch of the sturdy, no-nonsense Catalan seaside fare variety that makes you happy to be alive: clams in marinera sauce, salt cod croquettes, fried squid, whole sea bass baked in salt until the flesh is snow-white and juicy, or deeply flavoured rice dishes redolent of sea and sunshine.
This is the kind of summer food I especially like, and I especially like it when it’s served in a spacious and light chiringuito-style room right on the sand that looks straight out to sea, and is filled with widely spaced tables and generous, attentive service that makes you feel looked after and special. Not many places succeed in getting all these points right and it’s a canny operation that keeps this well oiled machine feeling so effortlessly easy on every level.
My out-of-town friend and I head down for lunch on a blustery Friday at the end of May and share a large, market-fresh salad of mixed leaves and crunchy ribbons of carrot and radish, followed by an intense arroz negre with clams and cuttlefish, as black as coal, and slathered in indecent amounts of aioli that I don’t mind saying was about as decadent as any lobster you could throw at me. With just two glasses of wine and a large bottle of water it doesn’t come cheap (we spent €75 on this little lot), but the place is rammed and the truth is it turns a simple day at the beach into what feels like a full-blown holiday. More please.
Carrer dels Tellinaires 17, Gavà Mar.
Tel. 93 633 0062.
Restaurant open daily 1pm-4pm;Beach club open daily May-Sept 10.30am-6pm. Healthy menu €32 not including IVA or wine. Seasonal menu €39 not including IVA or wine.