The relatively unassuming entrance on Carrer del Parlament in Barcelona doesn't give away Anardi's excellence with Basque cuisine
Behind this modest street frontage lies a real Basque gem

I’ve got a confession: I must have walked past Anardi hundreds of times before stopping in for the first time recently. Basque food in Barcelona? How good could it be?

I have another confession: I’m an idiot.

Now we have that out of the way…

There are a lot of restaurants on Carrer del Parlament, and some stand out from the crowd while others disappoint.

Anardi is definitely one of the former.

The specialty here is Euskadi – or Basque Country – cuisine. There is an assortment of pinxos on the bar, and plenty of seafood and beef on the menu. 


The pinxos, a Basque speciality, operates the usual way. Grab a plate, select as much as you want, keep the toothpicks, and the bill is calculated on how many of those you have left. When a fresh batch comes out of the kitchen, the staff may bring it around to the tables. 

On our first visit this included some txistorra sausage, which is and overlooked gem of Spanish cuisine in my opinion, and some avocado done tempura style with a spicy mayonnaise. Both were absolutely glorious – my mouth is watering just remembering them.

Deep-fried avocado pinxo at Anardi in Barcelona
Deep-fried avocado pinxo? Oh, yes

The gildas are spectacular too, which is always a good sign.

On our first visit we were disappointed to be told some items weren’t available. Both the spider crab croquettes and truffled meatballs sounded tempting. But we were delighted with the alternatives we selected, including baby squid and ink croquettes that were so good we returned and had them again within a week. 

Bigger Basque plates

Of a number of egg dishes we chose a tortilla de bacalao, which teamed some tender salty cod with the eggs to great effect. On the seafood theme, a grilled octopus leg with a smoked cheese mash lived up to its promise as well.

With that much food under our belts, the beef we opted for was a picaña a la brasa, which is a rare sliced rump steak delivered to the table with a hot plate to finish as you like. Nice. There’s a 500g steak available, for a genuine Basque experience, but it would definitely have been too much for us.

If ever there was a lesson in not judging a book by its cover, Anardi is it. The main reason I haven’t been before is because from the street it looked a bit unassuming. But the front bar area actually has a nice feel. And there are a couple of tables on the footpath, which are lovely on a warm evening.

Whether you should travel to Barcelona for Basque cuisine is a decent question, but that said, paella isn’t a Catalan dish either. And when food is this honest and reasonably priced, why not?

I’m definitely going back.

Maybe next week. I might even take some better photos next time!


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Casual/tapas Paella


It’s tempting to believe that any establishment in an area frequented by tourists is, by definition, a tourist joint. Happily some restaurants disprove that theory – restaurants such as Gats.

Just metres away from the horrible tourist sangria and paella joints on Las Ramblas, Gats may as well be in a different country. That’s not to say tourists don’t go there (it is Barcelona, after all), but it appeals to locals as well. 

And why not? The food, service, and ambience are all decent.

The menu includes a range of the expected tapas dishes, such as croquettas, Padrón peppers, and patatas bravas. It also extends to ceviches, some imaginative salads, rice dishes and mains.

When I last visited it was a wintry night that called for some warming comfort food, and the ‘mountain paella’ – with mushrooms, Catalan sausage and asparagus – answered the call. It’s a nicely rich rice dish (served in a hot iron pan), though I feel I remember having it before with rabbit or chicken pieces. I may be wrong about that, but they’d be a nice addition.

And because I spend altogether too much time in tapas bars, green vegetables, in the form of a green bean salad with smoked sardine and horseradish was a real winner. The little chunks of smokey, salty sardine are nicely balanced by the horseradish bite.

There may not be many surprises on the menu at Gats, but everything I’ve eaten here lives up to its promise, and hardly breaks the bank. It’s definitely on my return list.


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Enoiteca Zona d’Ombra

A charming little wine bar in the equally charming El Coll, Enoiteca Zona d’Ombra offers some seating in the square in front for those warmer nights, as well as another 30 or so seats indoors.

The name gives the game away here – the specialty is wine, and there are eight whites, 12 reds, two rosés and two cavas available by the glass, as well as a few on the specials board.

Wines hail from Catalunya and other regions around Spain. Those 12 reds are each from different regions, so it is a terrific way to tour the amazing world of Spanish wine without leaving town.

As it’s Barcelona, there is a range of snacks available too.

Tel: 935 005 802


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