Now and then someone asked me where to enjoy some good Catalan food at reasonable prices while in Barcelona. My problem was we usually don't go to 'typical' places when eating out... as I prefer to taste something different from what I have at home, so I did not know what to say!
Some friends recommended Origens. I did saw one of these restaurants many times passing by (there are a few round town) and I though it looks nice, but I never tried as I was afraid it could be yet another tourist trap. But it's not!
Favorite Dish: They have a good selection of both traditional and creative dishes made with local ingredients. The portions are not big, but prices are more than reasonable, and you can try a few different dishes. Leave room for the desserts!
The menu is great for those not so familiar with Catalan food (both foreigners or Spaniards from other regions, or even some of we Catalans :)) It is a "magazine" where each dish has a picture and an a trilingual explanation (Catalan, Spanish and English). In the magazine you'll find as well recipes, info abut Catalan products, traditions and festivals... and you can keep it as a souvenir :)
We was very disappointed by the service at this restaurant: after a courteous welcome and our dishes served, my girlfriend asked if we could change one of the dishes since she didn't like it.
The waiter was nice enough to pull it out and replace it with a new one of her choice. We obviously thought that it would not be counted towards the bill, but we were wrong.
When we pointed out to the waiter that he probably forgot to take the item out, he told us that he couldn't do so, because it had been made so he had to charge it.
I then said that we would have simply ordered another item in addition, not instead, if he had told us, or that I would have eaten my girlfriend's dish.
He made a fuss, said some people were stupid after he checked with his manager (not sure if it was the cook, the manager or me - think it was me really), and I even had the pleasure of having a visit by the manager, who looked at me straight in the eyes with a mean look, as if I had done somebody completely unacceptable.
Such a big fuss for a 5 euro meal...
In a nutshell: very bad service, very impolite staff, trying to be trendy, but really just plainly bad.
In addition to that, you eat little dishes for 5-6 euros each, which is a rip off. You end up paying 15 euros each and are not even full. It had been recommended to us by a friend who liked the concept of the menu, we were very disappointed.
Hope it helps in selecting your restaurants!
I would like to inform that Origens 99.9%, the traditional catalan food restaurants in Barcelona changed their name to La Llavor dels Orígens, because of a misunderstanding with a franchise company in 2007. So the original owners and creators of the concept of Origens 99.9% changed their name and their new website is www.lallavordelsorigens.com. Check it out and you may find the recipes of the food you can eat at the restaurants plus different news of catalan products! Their 4 restaurants in Barcelona (Spain) are: BORN (2) c/ Vidrieria, 6-8 and Passeig del Born, 4; in GRACIA c/ Ramón y Cajal, 12 and in EIXAMPLE c/ Enric Granados, 9. Very original and cosy restaurants to try the traditional catalan food, desserts and wine. They also have shops where you may find traditional catalan products ( wine, olive oil, honey, etc;).
Their open ALL DAYS of the year and you may book your table calling before.
Favorite Dish: I love the FENNEL SOUP (cold soup perfect in summer), DUCK WITH PEACH, and the STUFFED ONION with hog, veal and pinions, simply delicious !
We had a dinner there with my wife. It is right on the lovely square of Born (in Barri Gotic district). The manu is full of tasty and interesting Catalonia food. It was very different than typical restaurant we dined across the city.Staff were very friendly. But beware of long waiting lines, try to be there before 8.30 PM.
Favorite Dish: Our favorite dishes were carrot soup, stuffed onion and Catalonia pudding.
We tried to visit one of the Origen restaurants but a snooty english accented waiter was rude so we didn't bother to sit down.
Then a few days later we went to another restaurant where the staff were amazing. The food and the concept is great.
Favorite Dish: Try the tupi cheese spread I can't imagine ever getting sick of the combination of tupi cheese and the fig marmelade that is mixed through it.
So, I love to eat but I also love to eat VERY cheap---especially when I was studying abroad in Barcelona (very tight food budget as a result of gi-normous 'dancing and drinking' budget). But, after walking past Origens 99.9 constantly (to get to the awesome, dirt-cheap Pizza del born next door), and seeing the gorgeous menu, packed house, and yummy smells, my best friend and I finally gave in and decided to have a big, decadent, million-course meal. The food is Catalan-Spanish, very fresh, and super-good. I think I went into a food coma after the first course, so I can't really remember exactly what we ate --we ordered 5 or so little dishes to share from all of the available courses. I do know that I broke down and tried the Conejo (ie. adorable little bunny)...which was good in of itself, but awesome with the sauce/sides. For the typical traveler, it is not overly expensive, and it is a good place to experience local food with a little different flair (and definitely not a ramblas-ish tourist trap).
There are two of these restaurants, we went to the one near the Picasso museum-- The waiters were v helpful and friendly, and the food was great. It was served "tapas" style, which technically isn't Catalan but is a great way to try several things. All the food is purportedly regional disshes and the menus have photos of every dish and an explanation of what it is. Obviously a place for tourists, but in central barcelona what isn't? Attached was a little shop with wines and cheeses and other catalan treats.
Favorite Dish: The goat cheese with quince paste was fantastic--just simple and classic flavors. Also the little stuffed squid in sauce... We had moscato (spanish sweet wine) and catalan creme for dessert which was also lovely.
Often people hier ask for catalan "tapas". "Tapas" is simply "little dish". Usually, catalan cuisine don't come in the form of a "tapa", but in this restaurant have done this attemp with succes. You can taste several "tapas" of authentic catalan cuisine from around the country.
Sovint aquí la gent pregunta per tapes catalanes. I no saben que tapa és simplement un plat petit. Normalment la cuina catalana no és servida en forma de tapa, però en aquest restaurant han fet l'intent amb èxit. Es poden provar diferents plats d'arreu del país.
Favorite Dish: Tomàquets de Montserrat farcit
We loved this place so much that we went there twice in one week.
It is a small restaurant with tiny tables, actually the tables are far to small because you order a lot of different dishes, you get the plates all at the same time and you just don't know where to put your wine.
The great experience starts with reading the menu, because they explain the origin of many of their receips, tell of medival cooking books and of various regions in Spain. They have lots of dishes from Catalunya.
Another great thing: in the shop next door you can buy a lot of their foods!
A realllllllyyyy wonderful place!
Favorite Dish: Some of the food we tried:
- rabbit in chocolate sauce
- toast with different cheeses
- trout in swee-sour sauce
- toast with tupi
- baked aubergine
- some kind of quiche
- salad with pomegranade
Very nice & cozy. Near metro stop. nice prices. but overall nice waiters.
Favorite Dish: obvious! 2 chocalate cake! addicted...hehe