Although located in Europe, Barcelona and Spain maintains strong connections with its Latin American cousins (from a colonial past). To many Latin Americans, Spain and Barcelona is therefore an important, cultural port of call when making a trip to Europe or even when deciding to settle down in Europe. Along the way some of these individuals end up setting up restaurants in Barcelona, adding a bit of Latin American flair to the whole dining experience in Barcelona. Here are two that we tried.
Restaurant Parrilla Alfonsina (Argentina)
You know you’re in good hands when the locals and Argentinians themselves willingly visit this restaurant. Especially so, in a city like Barcelona here tourist trap restaurants lie in wait throughout the city.
Argentina is typically considered the most European of South American countries, with many Argentinians today tracing lineage that includes ancestors from Italy or Spain. As such the cuisine and flavours that develop from Argentina has a very strong Mediterranean flavour with indigenous ingredients.
This dish is localised to Argentina but originating in Spain (Galicia to be exact) is empenadas. Empenadas are simple enough to appreicate (since every culture has a variation of sort), pastry with a filling and cooked. In this case, Argentinian empenadas are baked and come in a whole family of different flavours, usually as starters to a meal – the carobhydrate in an otherwise protein heavy diet.
One of the most popular items in Argentinian cuisine is beef and the most popular preparation method is called Asado which is an Argentinian barbecue of meats over a grill or an open fire. The beef was outstanding, easily one of the best beefs I’ve had in a long time. The meat was medium well and each bite released an explosion of fragrance – of carmelised fats, char and savoury meat.
We also had a chicken grill, but I’m kidding anyone when I say the star of the show was the beef.
I’m drooling thinking about it now.
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Pura Brasa (Brazil)
Pura Barasa is not a family restaurant, or a local chain but an international one. I only realised while writing this, that there is a Pura Brasa in Singapore. Pura Brasa began in Spain and focuses solely on grills. The name Pura Brasa comes from the portugese language and means pure ember, a very good descriptor of the core concept behind the restaurant.
Brazilian cuisine is more has more African, Amerindian and Japanese influence in its cuisine on top of the European one, but grilled meats are still a vital part of the diet especially that of Southern Brazilian cuisine, which shares a close border with Argentina. Grilling meats are called Churrasco in Brazil and differ from the Argentinian version in the length of time that the meat stays on the grill, according to this beef-focused website, it has to do with the type of meat that is present in both regions.
We did a churrasco and ordered ribs instead of beef, you can see from the pictures, it was good.
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