Every now and then it happens that you have a food experience above all others. These experiences usually require good company, the right timing, an element of surprise, and the kind of food that you were longing for without knowing it. And an amazingly good wine to accompany it all, of course.
After having such an experience very recently I started recalling my most memorable ones.
1. La Paradeta, Barcelona
My Soul Man took me here for a night of pure gluttony, and am I happy that he did. Since then we have visited it many times, and I just can’t get enough.
La Paradeta is always full and you can’t book, which means you have to get there on time to queue. Once in you find yourself standing in front of a big desk full of all the seafood you can imagine, and you get to choose what you want. We usually pick 5-6 different things, they ask you how you want it to be prepared and you buy a nice, cheap vino turbio to go with it. You get a number, you wait for it to be called and you go and get your plate.
The place is not particularly intimate and not much attention is paid to the decoration, but you are too busy to eat anyway.
For me this place is memorable because it’s where I for the first time tasted navajas, tallarinas, almejas, rape… And now I couldn’t imagine a life without them.
2. The Lobster House, Barcelona
This place is included in my top food memories because here I had my first chuleton. My Soul Man (I’m lucky that he’s a food lover too!) took me here and taught me where you can get the best piece of meat in town. Here you would get an enormous plate of raw beef cut into thin slices, and a hot plate with salt to fry it on for just a little bit for color. The meat was so tender, and so tasty, with only oil and salt to season it.
Unfortunately Lobster House has closed it’s doors, which is such a shame, I miss it a lot.
3. Los Toreros, Barcelona
Los Toreros is a little tapas restaurant hidden on a little street called Calle Xuclà (where I used to live a couple of years ago). The restaurant is nothing out of this world, but it does represent an important memory from my past. The first day I came to live in Barcelona it was the yearly festival Mercé, but I had no idea. I was greeted with fireworks and parades and hundreds of thousands of people. I found some friends in the hostel I stayed in, and we went to find a place we could have dinner in. We found this little tapas restaurant, and I had my first Spanish tapas ever, with a jug of sangria. And I just can’t forget it, it was my first introduction to all things Spanish and my welcome home.
4. Fornells, Menorca
A year and a half ago we spent a couple of weeks in sunny Menorca and it was fantastic. The sun, the beaches with the crystal-clear water, the beautiful white houses… And the food.
In a little town called Fornells we had a couple of fabulous dinners with seafood so fresh it was almost still moving on our plates and chilled white wine to accompany it. I could almost have cried when the tourists at the table next to us ordered pizza and spaghetti.
Sitting outside, being on vacation, seeing the sun set, talking with your loved one, the joys of the things served and the excellent service makes it become an unforgettable food experience.
5. La Clara, Barcelona
This is a very recent experience. When you’ve been to a certain number of restaurants you lose your faith and think that you will not have an out-of-this world moment anymore. But yes, you will, and La Clara is a perfect example. The place was recommended to us by a friend, and by looking at the place from the outside it really doesn’t look like anything special. But believe me, it is. I will do a proper restaurant review at a later stage. Meanwhile you can check out what The New York times wrote about it.
The experience was fantastic because of the excellent service, the fantastic first course, the delicious white wine, the second course from heaven and the dessert that was just a dream. The feeling was like after a good movie, when you go through in your head moment by moment, instead of just forgetting about it once done.
6. Mami, Turku, Finland
Touring Finland last year we were recommended a lunch place in Turku called Mami, the owner is a famous Finnish chef. We did and I had the best lasagna I’ve ever had. And although we felt we didn’t have any place for dessert we did and it was all so nice. My Soul Man even recorded a video of me eating because I was enjoying it so much… It was summer and it was Finland and it was just great.
7. Entreplazas, Gijon
Last year we did a trip to Asturias, and spent a day in Gijon. And am I glad we did. We found a little place to have lunch, and when entering we saw the walls full of photos of famous people. Now that was a good sign. And we sat down to eat for hours. Everything was fantastic, we tried the local fabada which was incredibly tasty, we had monkfish and fantastic desserts and brilliant wine. Asturias: we will be back.
8. Brunch in Friedrichshain, Berlin
A Sunday morning in April we were in Berlin, walking along the Berlin Wall and eventually ended up in Friedrichshain. We hadn’t had breakfast, but coming to Friedrichshain the streets were filled with terraces and people eating. We sat down on one of the terraces and had all-you-can eat brunch, sitting in the sun in t-shirts, listening to a band playing live on the terrace, and had the time of our lives. And the food was great, what else can you expect from a German brunch?
9. Bar Corsega, Barcelona
Everyone has their favourite tapas place where everything is greasy and cheap and that’s the place to go when you fancy something easy and simple. Well, Bar Corsega is just like that. Our guilty secret. The bread is something so delicious, fried in oil and garlic it seems, and the bravas tasty and the vino turbio cloudy and chilled. An elderly couple are running it, and they are always so nice and kind.
The city in itself is a food experience. Here you go and eat, eat and eat a little bit more. Most bars serve a free tapa with your drink, and how can you resist? One tapa more elaborate than the other, and you can spend the whole day just eating and drinking. Granada is a wonderful experience, beautiful, kind and memorable.