One of the best restaurants we ate at while in Barcelona was a lovely place called Paco Meralgo. It wasn’t very big – mostly seating at the bar, some high tables for two, a couple of large tables, and a private room upstairs – but it was always jam-packed with happy diners.
The bar seating faces onto the kitchen and preparation area, and waiters whiz around, serving up super fresh seafood, cocktails and friendly chatter. Around the bar, you’ll see bowls of gorgeous prawns as well as a series of platters of live shellfish. We watched an oyster try to open itself, and scallops extended their breathing tubes as they rested in bowls of water. All the seafood was pristine and gorgeous, even if unfamiliar to my land-lubber gaze. We ate at this restaurant several times – it was close to our hotel, but it was also so delicious it was hard to pass up.
One of the popular local dishes is papas bravas, or cubed potatoes served with mayonnaise, and Paco Meralgo had the best of these by far. They’re super spicy, so not for the faint of heart, but the crackling crust of the hot potato, the zippy, peppery spice and the cooling mayo made these irresistible. We also enjoyed the tuna carpaccio – paper thin slices of tuna with a slightly sesame-flavored sauce. My favorite dish was baby squid served with delicately seasoned white beans, and my husband’s favorite was a searing hot dish of sausage, into which an egg was cracked and cooked at our table. We tried razor clams (funky yet amazing), deep fried zucchini chips, chicken and ham croquettes, and chunks of black pepper filet – without fail, everything was delicious, fresh, and superb.
I tried a “clara” – a pilsner beer with Lemon Fanta (half and half) and found it to be a refreshing, light lunchtime cocktail, but usually we paired our meals with cava or wine. If you’re in the area, don’t miss Paco Meralgo – reservations are recommended for dinner, or be like the Americans and get there early!
Muntaner, 171 (xamfra Corsega)
Tel: 93 430 90 27