Catalan cuisine is a riot of flavours and ingredients from all over the very fertile Iberian peninsula and Mediterranean coast. Being a coastal city with an abundance of beaches means that seafood is something that is part of Barcelona cuisine, in fact seafood is a big thing in Spain, a country where communal dining and sharing of food is common. We come from a country that is crazy over food too, we couldn’t miss out that ‘culinary exchange’ when in Barcelona.
La Padareta ($)
My colleague sat me down in front and started to google pictures, he had heard that I was going to his country for a holiday, “this place has great seafood, great prices. You just go in and pick the seafood that you want. They will recommend some ways of preparing the seafood and you just choose what they decide.”
We had to go there.
La Paradeta is a seafood chain in Barcelona that operates like a market- self-service, seafood buffet. You pick the seafood they cook, you collect it. Since it first opened its first outlet in the Sants district in 1994, the chain has gone from strength to strength a total of seven restaurants all over the city. The layout and concept of every restaurant is the same, merely the location and I reckon the seafood might differ somewhat (I reckon some restaurants will have seafood options that others might not).
We went to the original restaurant in Sants and joined a queue that had begun to form before the restaurant was even open. That’s how popular it was.
The restaurant was soon packed and for good reason, we ordered a feast of seafood which all tasted good (and rather fresh) and it came up to 20 euros per person, this price mind you included razor clams, langosteens, oysters, clams, cockles and prawns among others.
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Oyster Bar Fishhh ($$)
Another local brand, Fishhh was set up about a decade ago with the aim of serving high quality seafood in at fast food speed and fast food prices, the three h’s in the name symbolising the speed of service at which they desired to serve their customers. The main store is the Oyster Bar at the a high end mall the Lilla Diagonal, they are particularly known for having fresh Marennes-oléron oysters from the west of France delivered daily. Oysters, and fresh ones are not cheap, however you they also aren’t filling which is where the next part of this story comes in.
Dinner tends to happen after 8pm in Barcelona and Spain at large, with lunch occurring around from 1pm to around 2/3pm. Usually this means that there is a huge lull in dinning from 4pm to 8pm. To get customers across this lull period, Fishhh has a tapas promotion: 14 oysters for 12 euros, which is a great price by any measure and margin.
Ooo la la!
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Can Fisher ($$$)
Perhaps no seafood hunt in Barcelona can be complete without the obligatory touristy dinner by the beach. Beach seafood is always going to be more expensive although not necessarily fresher, and what you are paying for is not the freshness of the seafood but the idyllic idea of a waterfront location, you are paying for the view.
There are, as you would expect, no shortage of seafood joints along the beaches of Barcelona, one that came highly recommended was Can Fisher.
Despite looking way too fancy, there was no shortage of customers coming on board for a meal at this restaurant.
Unique for a beach side restaurant, the centre piece of food at Can Fisher is not the seafood but rice, seafood is the style that adds to the substance of the dish.
The masterclass that perhaps best represents Can Fisher is their lobster paella.
It looks more like a porridge actually but porridge is sometimes the best way to experience seafood is because the sweetness of the seafood is absorbed in the soup.
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