A stone’s throw from Les Rambles, at the edge of the Gothic District of Barcelona, you can find my favourite Catalan restaurant, Pitarra. On the outside it looks like a very unassuming establishment, somewhat antiquated. When you walk in, the first thing you notice is the eclectic-yet-cohesive decor, every inch of every wall covered by a jigsaw of clocks and paintings of all kinds. The furniture is aged and elegant, and the waitstaff is corteous (usually they also speak decent English). The ambient noise is quiet enough for good conversation, and there’s a private room area if your party is large enough (call ahead!).

My father introduced me to Pitarra’s fine meals about four years ago, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since, often visiting it once a week while I’m in town. I usually carry a handful of their business cards in my wallet, and hand them to anyone that shows interest in visiting Barcelona.

Understand that it is neither the best Catalan fare I’ve ever had (Molí dels fanals holds that title), nor the cheapest, but rather is the best balance of both. I would describe the quality as one step above well-honed home-cooking, and the prices as reasonable (their full menu is available here).

Their lunch menu (13-16h), last I checked, costs €13.50 and consists of an entree, a main course, a dessert, bread, and a drink (water, a bottle of wine, …), with five choices for each course. This lunch menu is fairly static, with some changes from time to time, and is by far the best value-adjusted option for first-time visitors (I recommend you try their canelons!).

A photo of a plate of catalan canelons from one of my visits to Pitarra. The plate has both the name of the restaurant and its logo in red.

A plate of Pitarra’s canelons, from their lunch menu. Fantastic!

The owners, a team of two brothers (the head cook and the maître d’) have been trying to sell the restaurant for over two years now, but haven’t been successful. I believe that they want to leave the restaurant in the hands of someone that will preserve both its rich history and charm, so they’re in no rush to give it up.

El Pitarra gets my thumbs-up unequivocally. If you’re ever in town, please check it out, and let me know how it goes!

A photo of a dish of crema catalana from one of my visits to Pitarra. The plate has both the name of the restaurant and its logo in red. In the background is a glass of white whine, and two mostly-empty bottles of house wine.

Pitarra’s take on crema catalana is very tasty, and usually my desert there.


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