Inviting little gastrobar with hearty dishes and international flavours
Squirrelled away on Carrer d’Aldana, just a few steps from the ever lively Carrer Parlament, this trendy little gastrobar oozes Sant Antoni style. Hip but unpretentious, it’s modestly self-described as a destination for “food & drinks & fun”. And it seems to be a pretty accurate description. Crowds of jovial locals huddle around the little terrace out front, falling around in fits of laughter and indulging in colourful cocktails, German beers and local wines. It’s enough to pique your curiosity and tempt you inside — this place obviously has something going on.
On entering, the staff is inviting and efficient, quickly seating you in the small but interesting dining space that I can only describe as ‘industrial chic’. Unpainted concrete walls and vintage furniture from the 1960s contrast nicely against each other, and the contemporary light fittings — repurposed from contorted water pipes — adorn the walls like avant-garde art installations. It’s subtle, but cool. Very, very cool.
The kitchen is partially open and you can catch glimpses of heavily tattooed chefs in deep concentration, perfecting each dish before placing it lovingly on the pass. The floor staff move graciously, taking cutlery, plates and napkins from a huge red toolbox that looks like it was left behind by whoever installed the lighting.
And validating the ‘gastro’ in its ‘gastrobar’ title, the menu features everything from quality tapas to heartier home-cooked dishes with international influences. Start with patatas bravas and provoletiña, which is grilled pineapple and melted provolone cheese baked with herbs. The garden salad is refreshingly well-dressed (I’ll never understand why it’s so difficult to get a decent salad in Barcelona without paying an arm and a leg) with goat cheese and honey, mustard and mango.
Seafood lovers will delight in dishes such as tempura shrimp with curry sauce, mango and honey, as well as a fresh and zingy selection of ceviches. Meat dishes include pork or chicken tacos, spicy Greek meatballs and the club sandwich with chicken marinated in orange peel and mustard. I opted for the Filoburguer, 150g of beef served in a wholemeal seeded bun with generous amounts of cheese, bacon, onions, homemade barbecue sauce and crunchy cassava chips, which are healthier alternatives to French fries and every bit as satisfying. Undoubtedly one of the best burgers I’ve had in Barcelona.
There’s also a particularly excellent selection for vegans and vegetarians. Explore lovingly made dishes like veggie moussaka with eggplant and potatoes baked with bolognese sauce, vegan tabbouleh (couscous salad) and vegan tacos with black beans, grilled vegetables, avocado, and fresh cilantro. My vegetarian +1 devoured her meal with ravenous delight.
Finish with homemade desserts — the tiramisu is pure satisfaction — and coffee, before joining the party on the terrace. The micheladas, a sort of refreshing beer and Bloody Mary concoction, are the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Filomena is a fantastic little place to go when you’re craving something hearty to eat or a few informal drinks. It’s lively and fun, totally unpretentious. The service is good and there’s a definite sense that the staff enjoy their work, especially the chefs. Great value for money.
By Ben Holbrook of driftwoodjournals.com
FilomenaCarrer d'Aldana, 8, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
Area: Paralelo / Pueblo Seco
Website: Filomena Gastrobar - Barcelona
Opening hours: Monday — Thursday 19:00 - 02:00 / Saturday 13:00 - 03:00 / Sunday 13:00 - 01:00
Phone: +34 931069340