UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
Okay, it's our last night here in Barcelona, and while we've had some great personal advice from Kayo and some old friends who have spent some time here, I must admit that much of my research on where to eat has taken the form of Googling Chowhound. It took about a half a day spent inside that I could have otherwise been spending out and about seeing the sights, but in the end, it worked pretty well. (I will not mention here the couple of food disasters that happened because of fatigue and low blood sugar. But trust me, you can go wrong with food here in Spain if you're not careful and diligent.)

But my last food memory of Spain will be of this wonderful eating experience:

Quimet y Quimet is a tapas bar located in Poble Sec, which is one of the grittier neighborhoods that as a tourist you will see in Barcelona, surrounded by decrepit youth hostels and kebab joints and overflow from the casino traffic. We settled on this place because it was recommended by one reviewer I came to trust on Chowhound who appeared to be a native Barcelonian, and seconded by an article in the Times.

One of the things about Quimet y Quimet is that it's not really a sit-down place -- you stand either at the bar or at a high table and you just order from one of the three people behind the counter. All of the food is from tins so none of it is "cooked" with heat, just preserved or cooked with chemicals (oil) from the canning process. The Times reviewer lamented at this fact, citing that Spain has such wonderful fresh produce and farms even inside Barcelona's city walls, but once you taste what preserving does to, say, oysters, it's a tough argument.

I started by ordering a vermouth, which I had been curious to try, served with a lemon and with an old-school soda canister to refresh myself.

Okay, the food. Extraordinary. Simple. Intensely flavorful. I called it "Spanish Sashimi" for various reasons (unheated seafood served on the local starch, minimally treated, bite-sized).

We told the nice lady behind the counter who was making the tapas that we just wanted to try some different things (Aya said this) and she replied, You can either have the food by itself on a plate or served as canapes (arranged on top of toasted bread). We opted for the canape style. I don't think we could have gone wrong either way.




Out of all of the things we were served, this one still stands out in my mind: smoked salmon on top of some kind of incredible creamed cheese and drizzled with honey and syrupy balsamic vinegar. Um. To die for.

Canape with roasted red pepper, shrimp (ok, so the shrimp was cooked), and caviar

Tomato jam, mussels, caviar

Anchovies in vinegar, green olive tapenade

Oyster with something underneath and topped again with caviar

Ok, a confession: This was not the entirety of our dinner. We stumbled out of here, deliriously happy, but ultimately, we walked over past Las Ramblas and over into the Born district, and had two more meals (one forgettable, the other, to erase the memory of the second). We probably should have stopped after Quimet y Quimet, with the oysters, salmon, basalmic, and caviar etched onto our tongues as our final tastes of Spain.

Quimet y Quimet
C/ Poeta Cabanyes 25
Barcelona
, SPAIN
T: +34 934 423 142
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2 comments

  • serious works of art, these canapes. Aya, which one was your favorite? i’m going to have to go with the oyster and caviar. GORGEOUS!!!

    kayoko on

  • They were all pretty unbelievable. I wouldn’t choose on over another. I would also add that the lady behind the counter was super cool. This was definitely a place for in-the-know locals, not random tourists.

    ayagwa on

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