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Dining and the City: Foodie Adventures in Barcelona, Spain

Back on the blog after a mini break! Yes, it’s been a BUSY month but I’m kicking off thIS week with a foodie review in one of my absolute favourite cities, Barcelona! As I welcomed the big 3.0. while i was there, nothing made me happier than exploring new spots that made my thirty year old tummy jump with joy! From dining with gaudi, finding a hidden seafood gem to getting our health kick on followed by experimental sushi fusion, barcelona never fails to impress…Slide1

Casa Calvet

Casa Calvet was a random stumble as we searched for places to dine in on my 30th birthday and what better way to kick off the celebrations than to dine in one of Gaudi’s works?! The building was once a textile factory and the offices back then are now converted to private dining rooms. Excited much?!

As we stepped into a small part of Gaudi’s history, we were immediately welcomed and escorted to our table. From the get-go, the staff were lovely and extremely helpful with choices and accomodating to any intolerances and preferences. 

The choices (mainly mine but desserts were to share):

  • Beef carpaccio with shaved parmesan, on a bed of mustard and lettuce bouquet
  • Scallops and razor clams with pesto, buckwheat and curried vegetables with coconut milk
  • Chocolate cake with hazelnut praline and basil chantilly
  • Cheesecake with passion fruit and quince paste

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You can describe Casa Calvet’s cuisine as a mix of Catalan-Mediterranean with a hint of Asian, which surprisingly works! I loved every mouthful, starting with the carpaccio. Generally, I am not a big meat eater but when I do, it comes down to quality and simplicity. Seasoning should never overpower good cuts of meat and the simplicity of this starter delivered. As my main followed, I was a giddy child as I have been craving scallops for a while! Cooked perfectly, every mouthful was a burst of flavour and yes, I wiped my plate clean. If there was one thing I would change, it would be that the coconut milk was in abundance but I didn’t mind. We ended our meals with a much needed desire for chocolate and cheese! The chocolate cake gave us the promise of a gooey centre and the cheesecake was devoured by my darling husband before we had the chance of a bite! Overall, great experience, awesome food and lovely staff! 

Address Casp 48, 08010 Barcelona
Website: http://www.casacalvet.es
Tel +34934124012
restaurant@casacalvet.es

Can Solé

Hidden away in an alley close to the Barceloneta port, I would’ve never have found this place if it wasn’t for friends’ and locals’ recommendations. Can Solé is known for their endless rice dishes and seafood, two things on my list not to miss before I leave! 

So, in we went and the orders began. The place is small and part of the kitchen is visible with a few “nonna-looking’ ladies inside. Now that, is a good sign! We started off with grilled shrimps and clams. Super simple and very lightly seasoned. It was pure heaven from the sea. You can taste the freshness with each bite and I was in my happy place! Onto the mains:

  • Seafood Paella
  • Black noodles (noodles with squid ink)

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The paella was cooked to perfection and was like an ocean burst in your mouth. I guess I was slightly disappointed though by the amount of shellfish you get relative to the amount of rice, but flavour wise, it was a winner. My only comparison was the best paella I have ever had, in a little spot at a coastal town, outside of Barcelona years ago. So, did Can Solé’s paella beat it? No, but close.

I’ve managed to fit in some noodles, but it wasn’t my favourite to be honest. The noodles were dry and crispy and I guess the dish was an acquired taste. Not bad, but I wasn’t going for seconds. The meals overall were lovely but unfortunately, the one thing that let them down was their unbelievably rushed service. It felt as though we were competing in some sort of fine-dining marathon; no breaks to the point where we asked to have a breather. We were done and out of there in about an hour and a half…

Address c/San Carles, 4 - Barcelona
Website: http://restaurantcansole.com/
Tel: +3493 221 50 12
cansole@cansole.cat

Flax and Kale

Taking a break from lunches that involved tapas and sangria, we headed to Flax and Kale for a bit of change and a health kick on a Sunday afternoon. It was quite interesting to see how the “wellness” movement and its respective establishments have made their way into Catalan culture as this place was insanely busy! We didn’t think to make a reservation so ended up on the waiting list, which wasn’t so bad. We were seated in 15 minutes after walking in. 

Flax and Kale is a lovely health-crazed bistro welcoming all walks of life: hipsters, mums, blogger-like faces, men of all ages and families. We kicked off our orders with a “virus killer” and the “green slim fit”, which were both much needed beverages and went down a treat. For our orders:

  • Healthy Mezze Platter
  • Salmon Mini Burgers
  • Grilled Carrot Cake
  • Greek Coconut Parfai

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What we definitely loved about the mezze platter were the crackers (spelt, chia & flax/beetroot & seeds/kale crackers) as well as the kale salad. The hummus dips were a disappointment as they were quite bland, without having the highlighted ingredient flavours pop out e.g. pumpkin and turmeric and the spinach hummus. I also concluded that I do not like activated charcoal in anything, let alone hummus. The mini burgers followed and were simply delicious, a must have if you visit. They were super moist and juicy and the beetroot buns were a great match. The sweet potato chips were quite soggy though and a miss unfortunately. 

Moving onto desserts: the carrot cake was quite dry but I enjoyed the flavour mix of the mint sorbet, coconut foam and mango cream. The coconut parfait, which my husband ordered (and refused to share) was the winning dessert. Extremely fresh with the right amount of crunch to leave you happily satisfied on a Sunday afternoon. Would we go back? The verdict was a yes! Until next time…

Address Carrer dels Tallers, 74, 08001 Barcelona
Website: http://www.teresacarles.com/
Tel +34 933 17 56 64

Ikibana (Borne)

For our final foodie night out in Barcelona, our amazing staff at the hotel suggested we try Ikibana to satisfy our sushi cravings. This little spot was a pleasant surprise as we didn’t know what to expect based on our interesting walk to get there. The place was absolutely full and we were lucky enough to get a last minute reservation. Lovely ambience where tiki bar meets sushi joint is how we described it. Our orders were perfect for two to share:

  • Shiki Sarada Salad with 5 types of seaweed with miso sauce
  • Gyozas Steamed gyozas filled with beef, spring onion and fresh coriander, served with dashi broth and shitaki mushrooms
  • Picanha Uramaki …palm heart, avocado and spicy mayonnaise, wrapped in beef picanha and crunchy onion
  • Salmon sashimi and Nigiri
  • Ikibana Uramaki …king prawn tempura with avocado and spicy mayonnaise, covered with fresh mosago fish roe
  • Picanha beef – Beef picanha, tatsoy, fried banana, shimeji mushrooms and lemon-ginger sauceSlide1

This place definitely didn’t fail with fusing Japanese and Brazilian flavours and each dish that came out was wiped clean! Our favourites were the gyozas, the Picanha Uramaki and the Picanha beef. The assortment of seaweed as a starter helped us establish our favourite type as 1 out of 4 was edible. The rest had a very strong, unique flavour that I tried to kill by drenching in soy or miso sauce. By saying that though, we were happy customers through and through and would definitely head back there. Service was good, not amazing but they were attentive and I guess the gentleman in charge of our table was just having a bad day…

Address  Pg. Picasso, 32 · El born · Barcelona
Website: www.ikibana.com/born
Tel +34 932 956 732

Barcelona, you’ll be missed and I cannot wait to get back on your soil! 

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