In a not-so-exciting area in Eixample where you never go if you don’t live there or visit somebody living here, you can find a little gem when it comes to Basque food. It’s called Asador Donosti, or just Donosti if you will, and it doesn’t look like much from the outside. You will miss the entrance if you aren’t careful. Inside it’s nothing particular either, a few small tables and pictures hanging on the wall of paintings or photos of Basque beaches.
But when it comes to food this place is fantastic. You won’t get a menu, I have never seen one, but the waiter will tell you what is available that day. My favourites of the first courses is something as boring as croquetas. But these are not your ordinary boring croquetas, these are the “out-of-this-world”-croquetas. The ones made with mushrooms are fabulous, and the ham ones too of course. Very creamy, very fresh and with a lot of taste. The house wine is good, and the selection of wines is not very broad but it is nonetheless very satisfying.
While you are waiting for your starters you will be brought a little something, all very good but the chistorras (the little sausages) are very, very good:
For the second courses you will be suggested a few different delicacies, but the chuleton is the crown jewel. Be prepared and be very hungry. The chuleton is a BIG piece of meat cut into thin slices that come out from the kitchen in a steaming hot plate. Be quick and turn the slices on the plate to make sure they get nice and brown.
This meat needs nothing to accompany it, it is so tender it melts in your mouth. It is still a big mystery to me how the Spanish (or in this case Basque) meat can be so tender and so tasty, with nothing to season it except for salt.
Once you have been able to finish off the meat (good luck!), it’s time for the desserts. Very traditional desserts are offered, of which the chocolate mousse is out of this world. To be honest it’s the best chocolate mousse I can remember having eaten. It looks like a very small portion, but it will certainly be enough, even to share. It has the perfect texture, not too thick, not too runny, just perfectly creamy. As my Soul Man said, even the whipped cream on top is tasty.
The only downside with the restaurant is that because there are no menus you don’t know how much your dinner (or lunch) will add up to. But it won’t be anything over the top, a dinner for two with a bottle of wine and dessert will be around 35 – 40 euros, so it’s a good place to go to treat yourself to a good culinary experience. Do book in advance. The restaurant is good for groups too, up to 10 people. The restaurant keeps open until you leave, so you can enjoy after dinner drinks and have a chat to recover from all the good things the Basque country has to offer. The restaurant is also featured in the Time Out guide of the best restaurants in Barcelona.
(Donosti, Calle Roselló 365, 08025 Barcelona)