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.
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!