A few months ago we visited El Maravillas, and not long ago Paradiso and L’Alegría, too. We’ve already lost count of how many restaurants this traditional-food-loving couple, Enric and Lito, have opened in only a couple years.
This summer we attended their latest opening, at Bar Muy Buenas. The stalwart food house in the Raval neighborhood reopened, thanks to these two culinary geniuses, to resume traditional Catalan cuisine in one of the most emblematic places in the city. After more than a year between changes and no changes, Muy Buenas opened its doors with a clear goal: “break up with modernity,” as Enric put it to us.
This small corner in the Raval radiates history and maintains the essence of what in 1896 was a cod restaurant and changed into a bar in 1924, and has been a neighborhood icon since then. The return of this lifelong popular bar has been much-anticipated. What’s important is eating, so it’s been restructured as a modern Catalan cafeteria where they only use local products. Wines, liquors and Catalan dishes make up their culinary repertoire, based on the “La Teca” cookbook by Ignasi Domènech.
At this food house from the beginning of the 20th century, you can enjoy the day’s specials or a wide selection of Catalan tapas. And as tradition goes, on the upper floor they have a cocktail lounge in a “Speakeasy” style, where they only employ regional distillations.
And now, we’re going to eat, since we’re getting hungry. Like every Friday, a fricassee is the dish of the day; but this time we go for their tapas — some stew croquettes and a tomato salad with bonito to whet the appetite, while we take a look at their menu.
You can’t miss their clotxa of grilled vegetables and smoked sardines, a typical dish from the Ribera del Ebro. And their truita amb suc — trout with sauce. A Russian salad to share in the traditional style, and a Bacallà amb samfaina — cod with ratatouille — to finish our common lunch. The menu is simple but its foundation is able to transport you back to grandmotherly home of your “yaya” with succulent and tasty dishes. And to finish: bread with chocolate, oil, and salt. The final highlight to our first-rate lunch.
It’s joyful to find a place that takes care of traditions, a secret hideout in the busy modern world that flies a local flag and makes use of timeless products. As the wise sage said, “la cuina d’un país és el seu paisatge posat a la cassola.” — “The cuisine of a country is its landscape put in a pan.”
Hours: Every day from 12:30pm to 2:30am
Average price: 25€
Text: Alejandro Moneva
Photos: Anel González