Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Restaurant 7 Portes

Restaurant 7 Portes
Paseig Isabel II
Barcelona
Spain

Phone 93 319 30 33

Website www.7portes.com

Overview

Whilst Eva and I were on holiday in Spain we took the opportunity to study the hotel guidebook of recommended restaurants, and Eva came across the Restaurant 7 Portes.

Here is how they describe themselves on their website:

"Originally called "Cafe de les 7 Portes", this establishment opened in 1836. Its over 150 years of excellence since then have made today's "Restaurant de les 7 Portes" the most classic of Barcelona's eating-places. It is housed in the "Portics d'en Xifre", a building declared a national monument that was, incidentally, the first place in Barcelona where running water was installed and the back drop for the first photograph ever taken in Spain, In 1942, it became the property of Paco Parellada, founder of one of the fore most dynasties of restaurateurs in all of Catalonia.

At "7 Portes", any time without interruption from one in the afternoon to one in the morning every day of the year, you can enjoy the finest Catalan cooking in an intimate setting or in one of the spacious banquet halls, accompanied by Spain's best wines and "cavas" (sparking wines) from the well-stocked cellar
."

With a write up like that we simply had to go along and try it out for ourselves.

By the way, the list of famous diners is quite entertaining eg; Bo Derek, John Wayne and Yoko Ono have all dined there.

Ambience

We went along on a Friday evening, rather boldly without booking. We were a tad concerned on arriving to see that there was a queue of people waiting outside the restaurant, being marshaled by a doorman and head waiter. The restaurant, as could be seen through the window, was very large but also very full. The question dominating our thoughts was whether we would get in or not.

Within two minutes of arriving in the queue, the head waiter appeared and took our names and placed them on a list. Less than five minutes later, he came out again and called us to a table.

Excellent!

Quite clearly the flow through of people, and size of the restaurant means that waiting times are not at all excessive. The additional plus point being that 7 Portes is open until 1:00. However, I would recommend that if you are in a large group you make a reservation, just to be on the safe side.

The 7 Portes has a number of private dining rooms (accommodating from between 2 to 70 people) and the main public dining room, which is fashioned in the style of a grand Victorian cafe. Absolutely delightful, bright, cheerful, stylish and full of energy and life. Cafe style dining of the "old school".

The tables were laid with linen clothes and napkins, and the waiters dressed in the white uniforms reminiscent of ships' stewards. All adding to the atmosphere.

Menu

The menu offered a magnificent selection of Catalan dishes including; ham, "Esqueixada" (salt cod salad), cannelloni, salt cod fritters, Black rice Emporda style (with cuttle-fish and its ink), paella, Senyor Cortina's oven-baked langoustines, black or white sausage with haricot beans, roast suckling pig, roast shoulder of kid etc.

The portions were of the hearty variety, I am pleased to say.

I was therefore quite concerned to observe the English gentleman on the table next to us, meandering around a most excellent and succulent sirloin steak in a most unsatisfactory manner. This place is not for people with poor, unhealthy appetites.

Service

The service was absolutely first class, efficient, friendly and polite. As already noted, we were handled very professionally at the door even though we had not made a reservation. Our waitress was absolutely delightful, complementing me on my incredibly poor grasp of the basics of the Spanish language (yes, I am easily flattered).

She was also very helpful with regard to Eva's special request for a paella without seafood but with some chicken, this was no problem at all (even though it wasn't on the menu).

Full marks, we couldn't have had better service.

Food

I started with the cannelloni, which was made in the "Spanish way" with pork. I have to say, this was a delightful starter; a good sized portion of pork mince flavoured with herbs, rolled in pasta bathed (not drowned) in a light bechamel sauce.

Splendid!

I chose the roast shoulder of kid for my main course. This was heaven on a plate. A truly magnificent joint of meat was presented to me, slow cooked so that the meat fell off the bone but cooked in manner that the meat was not dry. It had been infused with rosemary, which complimented and brought out the flavour of the kid magnificently. It came with saute potatoes and assorted vegetables.

I thoroughly recommend this dish.

Eva chose the Torronada for her starter. This was rather a jolly dish consisting of fried egg and ham, served atop a mound of fried mashed potato. I thought this rather reminiscent of an English breakfast, which in my view often makes rather a good starter for dinner.

Eva then had the specially made paella, which was a vegetable based paella with chicken pieces. It was both filling and flavoursome, a nice version of paella if you or your stomach is a little tired of seafood.

The meal, including a bottle of Torres Del Veguer, came to 93Euros.

Overall Opinion

In our view this is one of the best restaurants we have dined, in whilst in Barcelona. It has everything that you could could wish for; ambience, good service, good food and energy.

Under no circumstances miss out on the opportunity of dining there, if you ever have the good fortune to be visiting Barcelona.

We most certainly will be coming back!

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