T is probably the very best and very worst dinner companion for someone like myself to have, because he loves food just as much as I do, and he also has a problem with over-ordering, much the same as me. So, when we get together and go out for dinner, boy do we get carried away.
Obviously, for my first time in Barcelona, I couldn’t leave without getting my hands on some real, authentic delicious Paella. Despite popular belief, Paella is actually much more of a lunch dish than it is an evening dish. The typical way in which Spaniards eat is to have a very large lunch, and a much smaller dinner late at night, hence why Tapas is a popular choice.
At the weekend when T was off from work, we made our way through the Gothic Quarter to Els Quatre Gats. Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) is a popular cafe / restaurant which is famous for being the hangout spot of choice for artists in the 19th Century, including the likes of Pablo Picasso and Ramon Casas i Carbó.
It’s separated into a casual cafe space at the front of the building
and a more formal section at the rear of the building, which is where we were seated
We were served an amuse bouche while we waited and in all honesty, I have no idea what it was (as they didn’t tell us) but it was delicious.
Then the first of our tapas-style dishes that we ordered, calamari with squid ink aioli arrived…
followed by crispy cod fritters with a romesco sauce
and then the pièce de résistance was, of course, the big dish of paella with chicken, herbs and Catalan sausages. Served from the side of our table from a large traditional iron pan…
And yes, it was incredible.
They serve several types of paella at Els Quatre Gats, including a lobster paella and a paella negra (black paella) made with squid or cuttlefish ink, both of which looked equally as delectable as the other.
I really struggled with the decision at first, but eventually opted to go for the more traditional style paella first with chicken and sausage, and vowed to try the others when I inevitably returned to Barcelona.