Sunday, 15 July 2012

La Paradeta: seafood stuff as dreams are made of

La Paradeta was a tip off. Someone did the research then ended up holidaying with relatives whose sole criterion for eating was outside seating. We can all share their pain. Like many of the finest eateries in this city, Paradeta doesn't do al fresco. It caters for it's audience and does that perfectly. If, like me, you're inclined to seafood fever, you'll have eaten here before, in countless dreams. To see them realised takes some sinking in.

It did sink in though and then from deep within arose the fever. An intense, trance like state which precedes a manic dash, fueled, not entirely irrationally, by the fear that all the best will shortly disappear. In Paradeta I was not alone. From the fishmongers slab you choose what you fancy and how you'd like it cooked. If you're unsure they'll advise. We went for oysters, elvers and chipirones, deep fried and clams, steamed with garlic and parsley. I'd have ordered more, lots more, indeed I tried but got pulled away mid sentence to pick up a tray, bread, salad and bottle of wine. You pay by weight, get a numbered receipt then go find a seat. Simples.

The numbers get called from behind a hatch where, for seafood lovers, the magic happens. The pace was perfect. The taste of iodine from seafresh oysters still lingered as the elvers and chipirones were called.

Both were delicious, the elver coating batter as light and crispy as tempura. Next, again in perfect time, came the clams. Possibly the best I've had. Each one a sweet marine sensation.

There are four Paradetas in Barcelona. This was the Born branch. The canteen set-up and no fuss attitude means remarkably reasonable prices. Two of us ate a lot with a bottle of decent local white wine for 36 Euros. Get here early though, it's justifiably popular. As we left I glanced over to the fish counter, all the elvers were gone... knew it. Desert was a short stroll down the road, melon ice cream, a new favourite flavour, I ate it every day and miss it terribly.

Click here for La Paradeta's website

You'll find La Campana Ice Cream Parlour at: Princesa, 36  08003 Barcelona, Spain
933 197 021. It's well worth it.

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