Restaurant 7 Portes, Barcelona

It’s day 2 of our trip in Barcelona and it’s where our hectic itinerary starts! It’s a full day dedicated to visiting Gaudi’s works including La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo and La Pedrera. So much so that we only had our breakfast near lunchtime…and therefore we were quite famished by 7.30pm and were rather eager to have our dinner…

Being in Spain, we wanted to try the local version of Spanish food that we ate before in Singapore for comparison. Although Barcelona’s cuisine are predominately Catalan, we found a restaurant renown for Paella (a dish which supposedly originated in Valencia). Since we didn’t get the chance to stop by Valencia, we decided to try a good paella in Barcelona.

Restaurant 7 Portes started off as a cafe in 1836 and subsequently expanded into a restaurant. The restaurant has a relatively formal setting, the dining halls exudes classic old world charm complemented by the white suit (complete with a bow-tie) of the service staff.

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Started our meal with a jug of Sangria, olives and bread. While waiting for our food to arrive, we noticed that there are lotsa autographs displayed around the walls. This place has been visited by many artistes and famous people, a testimony of the restaurant’s fame and popularity. When we arrived for dinner, the hall that we were seated was rather empty. Honestly I was having doubts on whether we made the right choice to dine here. My doubts went away as folks started streaming much later around 8.30pm onwards and I realised the exact magnitude of the huge shop space occupied by the restaurant. Turned out that there are several dining halls segregated into various sections. It’s almost like a maze walking in the eatery.

With some last minute search on classic Catalan dishes, we decided to try the Salted Cod Salad (esqueixada) €15.70 as starter. The taste of salted cod is totally opposite to our Chinese salted fish. Contrary to the chinese salted fish which is dried and extremely salty, salted cod does not bear any resemblance to their chinese counterpart.

This is because although the cod was indeed salted as part of the preservation process, it was soaked in water for at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours before cooking. During which the water has to be changed several times, this is necessary so as to leach out the salt and make sure that the cod has softened. It is then shredded and topped with chopped tomatoes, onion and olive oil. I certainly enjoyed this scrumptious starter, in fact Salted Cod is a must-try item when touring Europe!

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Here’s half a portion of the “Rich Man’s Paella“whereby all the ingredients including chicken, pork, cuttlefish, sausage, lobster, prawns are cooked in a rich broth along with supple Arborio rice. When the dish was first presented to us, it was in a pan. We’ve ordered 1 portion €21.90 but told them to split into 2 servings since their menu said a portion for 2 is usually enough for 3 people. For our case, we can’t have enough of this flavoursome paella! The key difference between the paellas we had in Singapore and the version here is that Singapore’s paellas are usually pretty savoury. We found that the one here had rich umami flavour with a slight bitter undertone (should be from the seafood stock), somewhat like the lingering taste after drinking lobster bisque – but not as intense. Actually we were very tempted to order a fideua – similar to paella but uses vermicelli noodles instead of rice… decided against it since we were both not confident that our stomachs have the capacity to cope with the load…

Another satisfying meal in Barcelona! By day 2, I’m convinced that I’m so in love with Barcelona…a city with fantastic sights and cuisines!

Other photos taken earlier:

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Arrived at La Sagrada at 8.30am, city view from Nativity Facade.

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Utterly impressed by the lights coming through the stained glass windows and how Gaudi incorporated nature elements in the architecture! Spent the whole morning at La Sagrada and only got back to hotel for our “brunch” some soft-boiled eggs, coffee, cupcakes brought from a shop down the corner. =)

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2nd stop was Casa Batllo. Mersmerised by the ingenuity of Gaudi! Plenty of thoughtful human and nature elements being showcased in this apartment.

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3rd stop was La Pedrera. To me, this was the least interesting place amongst the 3 Gaudi works that we visited for the day…

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