Barcelona: Plaça Catalunya and amazing lunch at Bar Cañete


Our last day in Barcelona (three days was the perfect amount of time for a city break here) was a bank holiday (just like in the rest of Europe) and all the shops (apart from one shopping centre) was closed. It wasn’t warm enough for the beach either so we walked around the city some more (we accumulated lots of steps this weekend!).



Up to Plaça Catalunya and along Las Ramblas. The former was pretty quiet but Las Ramblas was packed with people. Why we weren’t sure as there’s nothing much to see and apparently lots of pickpockets.



We also walked around El Raval, the neighbourhood of our lunch restaurant, Bar Cañete. It was a little run down, but it probably looked worse with all the shops closed. The shop windows are covered by a metal door, usually covered in graffiti, which doesn’t look all that pleasant but obviously serves a purpose.


Our reservation at Bar Cañete was for 1pm, when the restaurant opened for lunch and when we got there a few minutes before 1pm there was already a queue of foodies outside.


We got seated straight away and the restaurant was full in minutes! Our waiter was very efficient without stressing and really helpful suggesting dishes and wine. The ambience was great from the start and the food blew us away.


The pan con tomate arrived to the table shortly after having ordered it and it was the best we ate in Barcelona! The bread was flaky and crusty but still a little soft and it was just the right amount of tomato, garlic and olive oil. And love the large portion size!


The white asparagus cooked to perfection and recommended by our lovely waiter was amazing! So fresh and loved the subtle flavours.


As you may know by now, I can never resist a good croqueta and the two types on offer here were certainly worth trying. The round one with jamon iberico was seriously nice, but the oblong lobster croqueta was even better. Absolutely delicious!


The next dish was this “meatball” as it was called on the menu. We didn’t really know what to expect but we were both surprised and delighted to realise it was their version of patatas bravas, but with pork. The ball was made from mashed potatoes with bits of pork mixed in, coated in breadcrumbs and fried, then covered in a mayonnaise sauce and a spicy tomato sauce. OMG – it was incredible! So nice in fact we straight away ordered another one!


The green been and shaved asparagus salad with nuts was also really nice and worked really well with the creamier dishes.


We also had these lovely fried artichokes, but the portion was so large we couldn’t finish it. So sad.


To finish off our meal we had the suckling pig with potato mash and the most delicious sauce. I like to finish a tapas meal with a main course-like dish as it fills you up differently than the more snack-y bits. This was really heavy but absolutely amazing. No pudding required.

This was the perfect way to end a perfect (apart from the not so warm weather) weekend in Barcelona with the perfect travel buddy!

Bar Cañete, Carrer de la Unió, 17, 08001 Barcelona, Spain




Patatas bravas


I often cook Italian or French food but very seldom (if all) Spanish food, although I love to eat it out. I don’t know why this is but here is my first proper attempt to change that.

My brain (and gut brain) work in mysterious ways and one day last week I just had to make patatas bravas. Maybe it was because I try to eat more potatoes and less bread or just because I got a craving. Who knows…

I did some research and then made my own version and although not perfect it was a good attempt. I used Rick Stein’s approach with par-boiling and frying the potatoes which was nice, but next time I will try them deep fried.

Although tasty, I thought it looked a little sparse to eat the patatas bravas on their own so I fried some chorizo and padron peppers to go with it, two things I can never have too much of.


When I finished off the leftovers the next day I simply added a fried egg. Delicious!

Patatas bravas, serves 2

4-5 large Maris Piper potatoes

oil for frying

Tomato sauce:

1 garlic clove, pressed

400 g chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp chipotle paste

smoked paprika 

salt, black pepper


1 egg, at room temperature

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 garlic clove, pressed

approx 300 ml mild olive oil

some lemon juice if needed 

salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Par-boil in salted water until just softened, approx 5-7 minutes. Drain and fry in oil until golden brown and soft (or even better, deep fry until golden brown and soft in the middle). 

While the potatoes are cooking, make the sauces. 

Tomato sauce: Fry the pressed garlic in some oil in a non-stick sauce pan. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to the boil and cook until it has thickened. Season to taste with salt, pepper, chipotle paste and smoked paprika. 

Allioli: Mix the egg, sherry vinegar and garlic in a blender. Add 1 tsp oil and beat. Then add the rest of the oil in a trickle while beating. Add salt, pepper and maybe some lemon juice. 

Season the potatoes. Serve by smearing tomato sauce onto the plate/serving bowl. Add the potatoes and top with allioli.