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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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La Paradeta [ Sunday, 17 Aug 08 | 11:56 ]
[Tags|, ]
[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |fullfull]

Last Saturday evening Ruben took me out to eat in order to celebrate his “saint’s day” (dia de santo) or name day. In the past, name days in Spain were widely celebrated and had more importance than birthdays. Now, they are not generally celebrated with parties and presents as they were in the past, but they can still be an excuse to go out for dinner.

Ruben chose La Paradeta, an unusual chain of self-service marisco (selfish) restaurants located in Catalunya. At La Paradeta:

  • you choose what you want to eat,
  • you serve yourself,
  • and collect the food after it is cooked.
  • Many marisco meals can set you back a bunch of euros in Barcelona. Not as much at busy La Paradeta that has more in common with a fish market than traditional eateries. The lower prices are probably because of the money they save on waitstaff as there are no camareros at La Paradeta.

    The seafood — clams crabs, prawns, squid, and so on — is displayed on counters covered with ice. Each type of seafood is priced separately like at a fish market and includes cooking. You pick out what you want at the counter, where it's weighed. After you pay for the meal (cash only), you wait until your number is called and then pick up the cooked food.

    It's fun and less expensive, but you have to get there early in order to avoid a long wait, especially on weekends. We arrived just before they opened. There were already a number of people in line. Spanish speakers seemed to be in the minority. August is tourist season and many locals are away on vacation.

    We tried a variety of things:

  • chipirones (baby cuttlefish),
  • gambas (large shrimp),
  • cigalas (often called “scampi” in the US),
  • and several types of clams including navajas (razor clams).
  • We were stuffed by the time we left and we decided to take a leisurely walk to Plaça Catalunya where we took the Renfe Rodalies commuter train back to El Masnou.