Eating out with my family is sometimes a bit of a love/hate experience for me. I hate it until we have chosen a restaurant but then after that I love it. We don’t get to spend that much time together and we all love food, so a meal together always feels like a celebration. However, finding a place where we can all enjoy the food can be torturtuous.
We have a vegetarian, someone who can’t eat cheese, two people who will not eat anything from the sea & three people who like to gorge themselves on seafood, a gluten free eater, someone who doesn’t like anything too adventurous, two food explorers, four outspoken opinionated types and two passive-aggressives. It can take a long time, especially in unfamiliar territory.
I like to decide where we are going before we leave the house to avoid wondering around reading restaurant menus & having heated debates about which one looks best. Therefore I left the apartment with laryngitis, a hacking cough and a mild sense of dread. We were visiting my sister & brother in law in Barcelona for New Year and this was the last night.
Predictably the menu at Tragaluz was the first we read but we had to check out 4 other options before returning. For us this was a remarkably short & relatively quiet (probably my laryngitis had a bearing on this) restaurant hunt which yielded excellent results.
Tragaluz is a very modern restaurant in every sense. The interior is stylish and comfortable. The staff are professional and knowledgeable. The menu is full of regional Spanish dishes made using modern cooking techniques. It also has a few nods to the popularity of Japanese food in Barcelona and a couple of classic dishes to please traditionalists. This was great for us as dad got his steak & chips and I got to try local cuisine and eat some of my fave Japanese flavours. There are not many restaurants which can please our family in this way.
I really liked that layout as you walk through the kitchen area to get to the dining room. The sight of beautiful ingredients, cheerful chefs and shiny equipment raise my expectations and I couldn’t wait to start studying the menu. The rest of the family had gorged on two lunches in the afternoon so I was the only one to have a starter. Don’t worry this was not due to any futile New Years resolutions to eat less, I was just too ill to make it to the second lunch spot.
I chose Octopus Terrine which I suppose was their take on pulpo a la gallega. It was wonderful. As I couldn’t speak much I did not really discuss the food with the waiter so I am not totally sure how they prepared this. My guess is that they didn’t boil it like in the olden days, it probably went in a water bath. It was then finished with an aromatic olive oil and some very beautiful paprika. Served with an obligatory smear of puree, potato in this case and romesco sauce. The octopus was extremely meaty and super tasty. I would order this again and again – it’s not often I say that.
Everyone else just had bread rolls. I say that lightly being as this was some of the best bread we have ever eaten. It reminded us all of the sort of rustic chewy rolls you get in the Algarve. The sort of bread that breaks my will to quit gluten in an instant, I had to order one.Our choices for main were pretty random, reflecting our varying tastes. There was truffle pasta, oxtail ragout, turbot, steak and chips, veal & I had the tuna with miso & ponzu. We were all very happy with our meals which I think shows how well chosen & well executed the dishes are.
Everything was cooked beautifully and really flavoursome. My tuna was the softest pillow of fish I have ever eaten. The ponzu & miso were perfectly balanced and the crunchy beans with sesame gave lovely texture.
Becky had rose veal with wild rosemary which I tasted and loved. The wild herbs were aromatic without being overpowering and the meat was great quality. Mum had the turbot as we were intrigued to try it. Turbot is a really expensive fish and has a reputation with chefs & gourmands as being one of the best fish to eat. We have never tried it before & if this is a good representation I can’t see what the fuss is about. It was lovely but I am not convinced it is that much nicer than other white fish.
All things considered I would be very happy to eat in Tragaluz again. It was a lovely experience from start to finish. The restaurant is part of a group and they have other sites in Barcelona, Madrid, Gerona & even Mexico City. Their website has details of all their eateries.
The dessert menu looked excellent but we had plans to go to one of our favourite bars in Barcelona, Crepes & Cocktails in Gracia. I also highly recommend that place, the staff are super fun, the crepes are great and the cocktails are fantastic. Sugar & high quality booze, what more could you want?
Barcelona was a great place to spend New Year. NYE in Plaza Espana was lots of fun with some very Catalan entertainment and very stylish fireworks. We started the year as we mean to carry on – eating great food. Hope you all had a great time wherever you were (even if that was running round Cusco plaza in yellow underpants).
It’s a little belated but Happy New Year to all our readers.