When we visited Sagarra, a traditional and large restaurant not far off Barcelona's La Rambla, it had plenty of diners but also plenty of empty spaces. Over the square, another eaterie was full to the gills.
The rival's attraction seemed to be a twenty-first century appearance. Sagarra was like something out of the 1970s – lots of brown paint and dark furniture everywhere.
Now I don't know what the food was like over the square, but I felt that missing out on Sagarra just because the décor might have been seen as less interesting was a big mistake.
Sagarra describes itself as “traditional Catalan” and it seems to do this well.
We opted for the three-course lunchtime menu (€15 including bread and a drink such as a beer or glass of wine).
I started with cold courgette soup which was pleasing, full of flavour. My fellow diner went for stewed beans with clams – this was served in a fish stock, and was warm and filling as well as tasty. Of the two, the bean dish was probably the better but both were good.
My main course was cheek of pork served with roast potatoes and a salad, accompanied by an orange sauce (this is used quite widely in Catalonia as an accompaniment to meat, not just duck).
It was a generous portion – and delicious.
My partner went for cod, served with vegetables. She pronounced it “very good indeed”. Again, it was a large amount.
So did we need dessert? Probably not but it was part of the deal so why not? I chose tarta de whisky – a sort of crème caramel - which was light and full of flavour.
She went – with some prompting from the server – for Torrija. It's a sort of doughnut with cream, (some see it as a sort of fried bread pudding), flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg. It's very filling – it was too much for her so I has to finish it!
You can eat this dish with your fingers but the knife and fork supplied made it easier to manage.
Overall, yes, we would go back to Sagarra on a future Barcelona visit.
Menus are in a number of languages and most of the staff speak English.
Sagarra - Xucia 9, Barcelona
Tel: 93-301 0604
Nearest metro Liceu