Generous Mediterranean dishes served in a bright and lively space
Housed in Filmoteca (cinema and film archive), La Monroe is a trendy tapas bar and restaurant offering generous Mediterranean dishes and excellent cocktails. But more than just a place to eat and drink, La Monroe is the physical embodiment of the arts-driven Raval neighbourhood, an ideal place to immerse yourself in the local community at any time of day.
The bustling terrace takes up a good wedge of Plaça Salvador Segui, where children play in the park and locals stop to chit-chat with their shopping trolleys in tow. Inside, the huge dining space features the same cobblestone flooring as the terrace, blurring the lines between inside and outside. And despite the large scale of the place, both the terrace and inside dining area always seem to be bustling with students and artsy types. The funky decor was designed by Antonio Iglesias, implementing a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours (I assume to reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the neighbourhood), with large, chunky wooden tables and trendy light features to achieve a sense of playfulness. It’s not about romance, it’s about having fun and socialising.
Join the hordes of happy locals that gather on the outdoor terrace for a few nibbles and a drink or move inside and get your appetite fired up with vermouth and tapas dishes such as “ensaladia Russia” (Russian salad), “fuet" (slices of Catalan sausage), as well as fat and juicy olives, sardines and cockles.
The generous and well-dressed salads are particularly satisfying — try the “Tomatina" salad with thick-sliced tomatoes, spring onion, olives and meaty hunks of tuna from "Las Açores”. Hearty sandwiches and burgers will delight even the most dedicated of carnivores, with hearty feasts like the McFilmo 200g veal burger with cheese from the Canary Islands and wedges of grilled zucchini and eggplant. And the nighttime menu also offers seafood treats like calamari stew with Dijon mustard, feta cheese and white wine, or the soon-to-be legendary sea bass ceviche with punchy "Bloody Mary" minced vegetable.
Don’t miss the house special “Papitas”, which is a hearty rendition of Spain’s famous spicy patatas bravas. And the “Supernachoman” — a towering stack of nachos topped with pico de gallo, beans, sour cream, cheddar, jalapeños and guacamole — also makes for an excellent appetiser or post-fiesta pick-me-up. There’s plenty for dessert too, with a good selection of ice-creams, sorbets and homemade cakes.
A solid wine selection offers plenty of variety from Spain’s best loved wine regions, although it’s the value-packed cocktail menu that shines brightest. Get warmed up with a stiff “Bloody Monroe” (a galvanising take on the classic “Bloody Mary), and ease into the night with classics such as Daiquiris, Dry Martini, Mojito and John Collins.
Whether you’re in Raval because you’re visiting one of the important cultural institutions — MACBA, CCCB, Filmoteca, etc. — or to explore the many independent shops, La Monroe is a delicious and entertaining place to stop for lunch or dinner and soak up Raval’s unique atmosphere.
by Ben Holbrook of driftwoodjournals.com
La MonroePlaça de Salvador Seguí, 1, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Area: El Hospitalet
Website: La Monroe - Barcelona
Opening hours: Tue – Fri 12.00 — 01:00, Sat & Sun 12.00 — 02.00
Phone: +34 934 41 94 61