Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya, and there’s a strong Catalan heritage that differentiates itself from Spanish. So does the cuisine, and where better than Ca L’Estevet to try true-blue Catalan cuisine.
Ca l’Estevet is that kind of restaurant with its history hanging on the walls, and with the atmosphere of a place that has dyed the familiar air of its thousands of visitors over several generations. In this case the visitors were often artists and people with clear political commitment.
Its history dates back to the end of the 19th century but received its current name in 1940. It is in the Raval district, where the Boqueria Market and Las Ramblas are also located. Furthermore, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) and the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) are very close to the Spanish restaurant, a visit to them can end with a meal or dinner in this restaurant and be a perfect plan in Barcelona, trying good Spanish food. If you want to visit one of the most traditional meeting places, this is the place.
Els Entrants – Los Entrantes
What I loved about this place when dining along was that they allowed for half portions, so that you can try more courses and choices.
Escalivada Catalana “Roast vegetables Catalan-style” – Escalivada, also sometimes transcribed in Spanish as escalibada, is a traditional dish from Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia and Aragón of smoky grilled vegetables. Estevet’s version was with aubergines (eggplants), zucchini and red peppers, and drenched in EVOO and accompanied with chopped tomato salsa and a pesto of olives. Beautifully assembled, served warm and so much flavours.
The sourdough bread was soft but it was cold when served. Could use a bit of toasting, but my Catalan was not good enough to request that. But it was good for soaking up all those wonderful olive oil and sauce that accompanied the courses.
Caracoles de L’Estevet (sal, pimienta y tomillo) “Ca L’Estevet snails (salt, pepper and thyme)” – I was surprised by the number of snails for this half portion. I saw it being sold in Mercat de Bordegas as a big bag, so it was actually prepared like our “Zoot Zoot” shells. Very flavourful, you just picked out the meat with the supplied toothpick. The table next to mine (American couples) was freaking out when they saw me picked the snails with such ease and poise. And the sauce was so good with the bread.
Spanish Caracoles are not exactly like French Escargots. Firstly, they are smaller and then you are given many more than a French escargot dish. French escargot these days is usually “assembled” – shells and meat are put together instead of using the usual actual snail.
Les Carns – Las Carnes
Sesos a la romana “Brains in batter” was not for the faint hearted. Comfortaby mushy, creamy-soft, melt-in-mouth tender gyri and sulci (folds) pulsating deliciously buttery, beefy flavor, wrapped in a golden brown and slightly crispy batter. Cut a piece and slap on a tiny bit of mayo (complements both the flavor and texture – one of the only cases in which mayo is my condiment of preference). Served with a heap of lemon wedges. Use the lemon wedges. The thing is a calculating cholesterol bomb with or without it, but at least it will taste like less of one if you add some refreshing citric acidity.
Cap i pota con sanfaina – Samfaina is a Catalan – Valencian dish based on diced eggplant and zucchini, a sofrito of chopped garlic and onion and grated tomato, cooked in olive oil and a bit like ratatouille, while Cap i pota is a Catalan stew made with parts of head and legs of cow. So if you order the Escalivada, I would not recommend you order this. Instead, you should order the cap i pota warm salad.
Torta de lava fundida “Molten Lava Cake” – the cream was supposed to be in-house made, but it tasted like those from a canister. It was rich dark chocolate and not the sweet milk chocolate that you get in Singapore. Yummy, but still too much.
Behind the unassuming facade, the restaurant sported spotless white tablecloths. The place has not changed since the 1940s, and despite changing owners over the year, the feel and look of the place are kept meticulously. Once you finished ordering, you were served a plate of marinated olives to snack on with the drinks.
The service staff spoke very limited English, but the menu is available in English. And you can order half portions for the starters and some mains. Great experience, highly recommended when you are in Barcelona. Remember to book as the place can get packed after 9pm.
Valldonzella, 46 • El Raval
Tel : 933012939
Date Visited : Jun 2018