La Catalista - 7.8
May 1, 2019 - 1 min read
The concept at La Catalista is to showcase local Catalan wines on their menu, and the food follows afterward. The menu is organized by type of wine: there’s a section for sparkling, red, white and rose, with 4-5 glasses and each paired with a small plate. There’s also a section at the back of the menu for things to pick at, like cheese plates, patatas bravas, etc.
The space is warm and cozy, and has a small front room that opens up to a bigger back one. They’re really friendly here and let you try a few wines if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, and although each wine is listed along with a specific plate of food, it’s totally fine to order just the wine or just the food – the pairings are just suggestions.
For 2 people I’d recommend 4-5 dishes to share, depending on how hungry you are and what you order. I got a glass of one of my favorite whites – the Pansablanca from Alta Alella, a really easy-drinking organic wine from Alella (the closest wine-producing region to Barcelona!). Later I got a cava called Aurelia from Castell d’Age, which our waiter explained is a vineyard led by 3 generations of women (I really love that the waiters don’t only explain how the wine tastes but also the history about how it’s made!).
We started with a “bomba” – a fried potato ball usually filled with meat but this time filled with shrimp and topped with a piece of eel and some soy sauce. The flavors were really great and it was cool to see a twist on a traditional Barcelona dish. I’d recommend to try if you’ve never had it before since you probably won’t see this elsewhere – but I personally wouldn’t repeat just because the outside was a bit too tough for me.
Next we had a tuna ceviche with a kimchi emulsion. I don’t have a picture of this because it was SO GOOD that we just attacked it as soon as it arrived. I love a raw fish dish and this definitely did not disappoint. It somehow tasted both like exactly what I want out of a ceviche and at the same time unlike any ceviche I have ever had! True fact: this was so good at at the end we ordered another one.
Up next was a butifarra (pork and mushroom sausage) sandwich with sausage, quail’s egg, and cabbage inside. This was tasty, and I really liked the sauce, but at the end of it I realized I had paid 12€ for a sausage sandwich that was good… but not out of this world. After that came the canelones, which I liked a bit more – they’re normally made with meat, but we got the vegetarian version, and we scraped the plate clean.
My favorite thing by far was the eggplant with a soy and kibuyaki emulsion and covered in corn puffs. I’m not a huge eggplant person but I swear I could eat this over and over again – the char on the eggplant combined with the tenderness of the vegetable with the crunchiness of the corn puffs was just divine.
I can’t say no to dessert, so we got both the torrija (Spanish-style french toast soaked in a sweet cream) with salted caramel ice cream and the mixed berry cheesecake. The cheesecake was superb – it was really fluffy and I could actually taste goat cheese in it! I loved the salted caramel ice cream, but the torrija itself didn’t have much flavor and was just a bit soppy.
Overall, there were some dishes that were stars (tuna ceviche, eggplant) and others that were not quite there (bomba, torrija). However, I’d still wholeheartedly recommend going to La Catalista for a date night or night out with a few friends. You can tell that they put a lot of love into choosing and explaining the wines, and that warmth makes you forget about the small faults in some of the dishes.
address: c/ carders, 11
price: €€ (20-25€ per person)
good for: catching up with a friend, date