Relaxed neighbourhood vibes and healthy home-cooking
Poblesec has garnered a gleaming reputation over the last few years and is now a fully-fledged “foodie hub”. But although on the surface it may appear that dining here is either about eating cheap and cheerful pinchos or wildly expensive Michelin-starred gastronomy, if you dig a little deeper you’ll be rewarded with all sorts of interesting establishments that fit nicely somewhere in between.
Restaurante Carmesí is the perfect example. Its unshowy, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it facade houses a cosy little restaurant and occupies a prime piece of Carrer Blai real estate. Harking back to the neighbourhood’s gold old days as an unsung hero, this light and airy space feels very much like a place for locals, not in an exclusive or unfriendly sort of way, but in a way that feels like its main customer-base is not made up of sangria-scuppered tourists. No, Carmesí is for locals, a go-to type of place where you can always count on quality home-cooking made with quality ingredients.
Inside, the ambience is warm and relaxed with colourful vintage furniture and a brassy, “Paris Cafe” type soundtrack. The bar occupies the entire length of one wall and morphs halfway along into an open-fronted kitchen. The cooks can be seen at work, whipping up what might be best described as Mediterranean market cuisine with international (specifically Greek) influences. But beyond being fresh and delicious, Carmesí is known for using organic produce to create healthy dishes that are packed with flavour.
Start with a couple of squidgy little croquettes made with spinach, feta and gorgonzola, or one of the fresh and perfectly-dressed salads which are elevated with the likes of feta, walnuts, mango, pear and parmesan. Main course dishes range from wok-cooked wonders to hearty risottos and tartines. My vegetarian +1 very much enjoyed a generous feast of grilled courgettes stuffed with basmati rice and parmesan served with a green salad and punchy olive tapenade. I devoured the homemade lamb burger (off the specials menu), which was moist and succulent and enhanced with a wedge of grilled aubergine and a feta cheese salad. A balanced but gratifying dish, ideal for the morning after la fiesta.
A solid selection of Spanish wines make for a complete dining experience and the chunky homemade cakes round off the experience nicely.
When you’ve had enough of shallow foodie trends and hipster pretences, Carmesí is the antidote. Here it’s all about honest (and healthy) cooking, real food made with quality ingredients. Laid-back vibes and sensible prices will have you running back for more.
CarmesíCarrer de Blai, 28, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
Area: Poble Sec
Website: Restaurante Carmesi - Barcelona
Opening hours: Mon-Thur 6pm-11:30pm, Fri & Sat 11pm-1am, Sun 11am-11:30pm
Phone: 659 04 83 94