Barcelona – Eixample – the delights of Diagonal
Avenguda Diagonal is of course a very long road but in this post I’m referring to the four blocks in the Eixample around Diagonal Metro Station at the top of Paseig de Gracia, where it meets Avenguda Diagonal.
There are many delights in this small area. To begin with there’s the beautiful but less known Modernista house Casa Comalat at 442 Avenguda Diagonal.
And of course one block down the hill there’s the more famous Gaudi-designed Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera or ‘the Quarry’) on the corner of Paseig de Gracia and Carrer de Provenca.
I’ve put photos of these buildings in a separate, more architecture-focussed post on the Quadrat d’Or, which is the heart of the Eixample neighbourhood.
Right next door to Casa Mila at 96 Paseig de Gracia is Vinçon, my most favourite design superstore in the world!
Bar Mut (Advanced A), 192 Carrer de Pau Claris, Tel. 93 217 4338, www.barmut.com
This is one of the poshest tapas bar in town, up there with the more longstanding Cal Pep (see my El Born post).
I had the good fortune to go with my compadres Mark and Natalia whose friend David Elfstrand (now head chef at Malamen on Carrer Blai) was working in the kitchen when we went and got us a discount.
I remember the fig and melted cheese salad as being particularly amazing.
I think we spent about €80 each but it was well worth it!
Mutis Club (Advanced A?), on the corner of Avenguda Diagonal and Carrer de Pau Claris, Tel. 932 174 338
Immediately above, and belonging to Bar Mut, this tiny secret club has won an award for being Best Bar in Europe and has attracted such famous customers as Robert de Niro, Russell Crowe and Woody Allen.
In keeping with their speakeasy philosophy, you won’t find the address online or in any other the media but basically, if you turn left out of Bar Mut and go round the corner onto Avenguda Diagonal, you will see the door immediately on your left.
From 2008 and 2010:
El Japones (B+), 2 Passatge de La Concepcio, (a side street opposite Vinçon and La Pedrera on Paseig de Gracia).
My national manager first brought me here in 2008. It’s a fairly expensive modern-Japanese place, comparable to Wagamama with its modern décor and long bench tables, but the food is better in my opinion. I also like it because the dishes arrive together and they do sushi too, unlike Wagamama (one of my least liked establishments).
The menu is a series of tick boxes which you complete and give to the server. It messes the system up a bit but you can still order dish by dish as and when you want it, just as the Japanese would. I went through three tick box menus in all.
We had good tempura and miso soup but the sushi platter was the winner. They also do gyoza dumplings, fried rice and fried noodles (no soups), okonomiyaki (similar to and as bad as Japanese pizza, I’m not a fan).
I went again in 2010 with money saving in mind and filled up on €3.50 dishes such as a big bowl of white rice accompanied by Neguima Yakitori (pieces of chicken and green onion on a skewer with yakiniku sauce) which weren’t too far off the real thing (B-).
I had this alongside Tsukune Yaki which transpired to be oversalted balls of pork in a gloopy sauce, pretty horrible (D). Filling up with cheap stuff first meant I could savour the Sushi Variado, (€20), fourteen pieces of pretty good nigiri and maki sushi (B-).
The draught (de barril) beers were €2.50 each. It’s a good place for a change from Spanish food and service is fast and friendly. Much better than the other pseudo-Japanese places in the area. Expect queues at peak times.
Went back in 2014 but decided I couldn’t afford it! Hopefully there’ll be a better exchange rate next time…