La Caleta de Gràcia
Once again it’s august and the Festes de Gràcia are upon us, when everyone in Barcelona has a week of hangovers and everyone in Gràcia buggers off to the country. But I appreciate the effort Gràcia as a whole puts into these celebrations, which now have international fame, and I appreciate the Gràciencs who endure their neighbourhood turned into a type of Primavera Sound on every street. The drunken revelry, the heaps of garbage, the concerts on every corner, the smell of urine, the inevitable meetup with everyone you know at Plaça Raspall at 4 in the morning – it’s a Barcelona tradition. But first you have to eat, so we went to La Caleta on Torrent de l’Olla and we only had to wait 20 minutes and we got a table for all 6 of us! Inconceivable!
La Caleta is another famous Barcelona place that I’ve heard of from numerous people that I should try, for price/quality ratio. Doncs som-hi: I started off with some lovely anchovies (seitons) which are an absolute favourite of mine. This is just pure quality of ingredients, can’t go wrong otherwise. Also at the table some jumbo shrimps (amazing) and a fideua – delicious! You get more shrimp and anchovies than you can see here, people grabbed them before I yelled at them to wait for me to take pictures of the food, then I had to rearrange everything to make it look like nothing was eaten yet. We had a white Penedès the name of which I forget but it was really good (yes I’m very helpful no?), and Estrella Galicia to drink.
On a side note, I’ve never mentioned it, but beer is good. Too good for its own good say I. Of the common beers in Barcelona, I would rate in order from best to worst – and this is a spotty list, Nolla (not easy to find, they used to have it at 33/45 but no longer), Montseny, Moritz and Estrella. San Miguel is yucky, Voll Damm gives me massive hangovers, and swill like Cruzcampo or Heinken is undrinkable. But anyway…
For the second plate I ordered their entrecot (al punt) and wow – just a perfect cut of tender meat (maybe a tad small) and cooked exactly the way I ordered it, melted in me mouf. No frills, no fluff, just good food – which I can say about all the food at Caleta. Fresh, quality ingredients and people who can cook them. I punt. A great Catalan restaurant and a very nice evening. The service is great and the staff friendly, and that’s with the fact given that this week is easily their busiest of the year and the crowds lining up to eat were big, drunk and hungry. They pulled off everything – these people know how to run a restaurant, with a smile, under crazy conditions.
La Caleta is smallish, it seats about 45 people (guessing) so one might want to reserve a table (not possible this week because of the Festes) but it’s worth the detour up to Gràcia to eat here. Right next door is a nice Italian shop run by a couple fellas from Milan which I’ll plug: Regioni d’Italia, though I usually go to La Italiana which is closer to my flat. But I digress.
Total price for each of us was about 25 euros – not bad at all, including drinks.
La Caleta de Gràcia
Torrent de l’Olla, 121 (Gràcia)
934 161 142
Metro: Joanic (L4), Fontana (L3)
De 13,00 a 16,30; 20,30 a 00,30