Can Culleretes – Barcelona
One of the main reasons Notes on a Meal returns to Barcelona is the Can Culleretes Restaurant, located in the heart of the Gothic neighbourhood, lost somewhere among the alleyways. It is a magical spot, still decorated and running the same since it first opened its doors in 1786. It is not pretentious, not fancy, not quiet, not necessarily friendly but absolutely charming and the food is pretty damn good.
The decor is outdated, all the way from the terracotta floor tiles to the wood panelled walls littered with photographs and various (hideous) paintings. The restaurant is deceivingly large and spans over a few smaller rooms all seating over fifty guests and since they generally seat everyone around the same time, expect it to be crowded. The staff is to the point, courteous but with poor English skills (but why should they, it is not their country’s language). The service is prompt except when you need to pay the bill, which is a bit of a relief as I hate being rushed after a meal.
The food is definitely the highlight here. Just like the decor, it is completely outdated but it certainly doesn’t matter. Portion sizes are massive, greens or fresh vegetables almost non existent, presentation is similar to what your grandma would plate but the flavours are out of this world. Our go to dish is the Mixed Grill: an entree composed of nothing but meat, grilled – what else would you expect!? Beautifully cooked, perfectly seasoned: rabbit, lamb, chicken, sausages, pork chop and belly served with a garlic aioli on a round orange plate (same as every time we have it, the same as 227 years ago). If that much protein scares you, share it and order two sides (since it doesn’t come with any) and it would be a great meal for two. If the mixed grill doesn’t strike your fancy try wild boar stew (which is a Spanish version of beef bourguignon but with a much gamier flavour), the sole with potatoes and onions, the chicken soup with a poached egg (similar to a consomme – very flavourful clear broth) and the shrimp and mushroom appetizer (all amazing and thoroughly enjoyed by us). The desserts are all made in house, with love and really good ingredients. They are about as visually appealing as a car crash but they will definitely please all your other senses.
As for value for money, a three course dinner with a bottle of wine (try the house wine – it is very tasty) was generally around the 40-50 euro mark for two people. Those prices are more than reasonable for a city as expensive and full of tourists as Barcelona.