On our first day in Barcelona my boyfriend wanted to introduce me to one of his favorite restaurants in the city… Botafumeiro in the Gràcia neighborhood. Beloved by royalty (the King of Spain is a regular), celebrities (their photographs line the bar posing with the owner), the international jet set, power brokers and now…me!
A classic marisquería (aka seafood restaurant), this place is the home to Barcelona’s finest seafood. Most are stored live in holding tanks you see when you enter the restaurant where you’ll find a variety of fresh and saltwater fish, clams, mussels, lobster, crayfish, octopus, scallops, and a variety of crustaceans some i had never seen before (like goose barnacles)! Most everything is flown in daily from Galicia in northwest Spain (the homeland of the owner), and the menu boasts over 100 seafood dishes with only a few meat dishes available.
We had just come off of two international flights so we looked a little worse for wear but that didn’t matter to the white-jacketed staff who attended to those in the finest suits money can buy and us… in shorts and polo shirts! They care for you as if you are the only people in the dining room and your every need is met.
Never one to pass up a seafood platter, my boyfriend thought if there was ever a place to order one than Botafumeiro was it. Octopus is one of our favorite things to eat so we ordered the “Galician Style” dish which came with paprika and boiled potatoes (see above). I can say with complete honesty that this was the BEST OCTOPUS DISH I HAVE EVER HAD. The meat was so buttery, so tender that my taste buds nearly melted with each bite. Then for our “main dish” the two of us attempted to take down the seafood platter for two (see below) that came packed with clams, langoustines, oysters, snails, crabs, and some crustaceans I had never seen before! Unfortunately our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we got through barely half of the platter ;( we really could have used two more people to help us out on this one!
I’ve read that many people consider this place to be quite touristy and I could see that as it’s very popular in Barcelona. But from what I saw on a busy Wednesday afternoon….it’s a mixture of regulars and people who’ve heard of its reputation and want to check it out (our amazing concierge at the Mandarin Oriental said it’s one of their favorites in the city for seafood). Either way… from the second you enter the doors of Botafumeiro to the time you depart, you’ll experience a meal to remember.
Gran de Gracia, 81 – Barcelona