Barcelona Hotels Articles

April 26, 2010

Dining in Barcelona, Spain

Fish & Chips Snack Bar: a New Masala in Barcelona’s Ravalistan

There is a new masala in Barcelona’s Ravalistan. The aptly named Fish & Chips snack bar and its Rambla de Raval location make an ideal match. A large flat screen telly serves for important matches, but the real entertainment is on the street as the river of life that is the new Ravalistan ebbs and flows through the open front of the snack bar-chipper in a sort of Mississippi Masala of “buen rollo” and cross-cultural confusion. Like a mushroom sprung up after October rains, the newborn chippy in front of Botero’s cat sculpture is already totally integrated into the mixing bowl-not-melting pot environment, attending to the needs of Pakistani waifs, special homeless clients, clubbers revving up or coming home, old time barrio residents, British tourists, and downmarket foodies in search of a perfect fry with hand cut chips. Diners not keen to take all this on board are probably not looking for meat pies or fish and chips.

Pies, pasties and mushy peas

In the pie and pasty department, the cheese and onion pasty tempted, but in the end I liked the chicken and mushroom pie best, with nice meaty chunks of chicken in it, and I piggishly polished off the whole sample instead of taking just a bite. The mushy peas and baked beans were equally delectable, although traditionalists will wish for more fat and sugar. I didn’t delve into those special British sauces or soft drinks, but they had an authentic look about them. Hand-cut fries are the gold standard of chipperdom and the large cod fillets are a good choice in today’s world. Batter’s personal, but here they eschew bullet-proof, greasy casings, and the breading is light and firm. The fry depends on who’s dipping and frying. It comes out best when it’s one of the owners, called Julie and Julia, from Liverpool and London. They’ve done a special course in Leeds and it shows. If you think frying fish in batter ought to be dead easy, try it at home some time.

Fish & Chips is open daily from midday till about 2 or whenever, but no need to hurry down; they’ll be around for a good while. Wait for a good moment to sample the sensuous pleasures of the Ravalistan or to respond to a special feeling signaling a need that can be satisfied only by a nice order of fish and chips.

Pulished in print in BCN WEEK. Online edition at

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