Petit Comité: Catalan-chic

Grandma's food in an evening dress

Grandma's food in an evening dress

Give it a try if… You are looking for proper Catalan food in a cool setting.

Steer clear if… You’re after a cheap informal snack.

If you live in Barcelona and you like dining out, chances are you’ve already been in Passatge de la Concepció – you know, that street between Passeig de Gracia and Rambla de Catalunya where locals and foreigners alike flock in order to look important and sign imaginary autographs while eating designer plastic in one of the pseudo-glamorous restaurants. Luckily, Petit Comité stands out as an interesting exception.

Fideuástic

Fermi Puig, the renowned chef which created this restaurant in 2008, clearly held the same thought I entertain so often when I dine in upscale restaurants in Barcelona: why do suddenly equate “good” with “containing puré de manzana (apple purée)” or “covered by a layer of foie (liver)”? That is why in Petit Comité you can taste a fantastic fideuá – curiously black instead of the usual red, a detail that tasted wittingly doctrinal albeit unorthodox – which made justice for all those times when I ate this sort of thin fish noodles, a classic of Catalan cuisine, simply cooked without love. Nearly on the same level was my friend’s dessert – mantecado, a luscious ice cream with crunchy almond topping – followed by my melting veal fricandó with mushrooms. All of this in a forward-thinking, minimalistic setting which shows that elegance is mostly a process and good service a reason for pride.

Residents, there's hope beyond Grupo Tragaluz

Residents, there's hope beyond Grupo Tragaluz

The Albondigas Situation

The evident pride, rooted in the tradition of Catalan cuisine, might even go one step further, trying to strike a tighter balance between quality and quantity of food prepared (it is probably difficult to make good meatballs in restaurant amounts, but my friend’s albondigas were unacceptably compact); also, my strawberries with whipped cream were a bit ordinary, and the prices on the menu could use a little down-tipping. On the whole, though, the unusual level of food overall and the above-average ambiance and service awareness – not to mention the Local-Gorgeous manager! – make a visit to Petit Comité quite compulsory for bonvivants. I’ll be back.

UPS score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 7.5/10

Petit Comité: Passatge de la Concepciò 13 (Eixample Izquierdo), BCN +34 935 500 620 – closed: mondays – website

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