El National is a stunning restaurant with a gorgeous interior. They call themselves Barcelona’s Gastronomic Experience with four different culinary areas (a meat restaurant, a seafood restaurant, a tapas restaurant and a brasserie) and four different bars (specialising in beer, wine, cava and cocktails).
On our recent girly weekend away, Renata and I went to El National and we chose La Llotja – the seafood restaurant.
There is an area of the restaurant that had all the fresh seafood on ice that you are able to pick and choose from. It is all fresh from the fisherman every morning and when it runs out it runs out so you need to get there at a decent hour to get the good stuff.
We learned this the hard way, as we tried to do dinner the Spanish way and ended up arriving at 10:30pm and eating at 11pm so a couple of the seafood bits that we did want to try had disappeared into other people’s bellies.
We ended up choosing the Pan Con Tomat, a dish with Mediterranean and Atlantic oysters, tuna tartare and scallop ceviche and some fresh prawns along with a gorgeously clean cut white wine to go with it all.
A gorgeous place, amazing service, up beat vibe and such good food. Must try even if you just come for a drink!
Madison is an absolutely awesome roof top bar in the city that has the best view of St Paul’s Cathedral. It is perfect for a post work summer sunset drink outside.
We recently went for dinner there for Kuda’s birthday. It was my first time eating there and I was intrigued to find out what the food would be like.
The bar is really nice but I think the set up of the restaurant is really oddly placed in the middle of the bar with people standing around waiting to order drinks or just standing and drinking around you. I feel like maybe it should be a little more secluded as a restaurant area.
The food was really nice and it was well priced – it was nothing mind blowing – but still really nice and I could not fault any of it. I think that maybe because it was all served on individual heavy wooden chopping board it gave a bit of a posh pub grub feel to it.
Most of our group ordered the burgers which were all cooked perfectly and the patty big enough for the brioche bun so it looked great too (my pet peeve if a restaurant serves you a shrived up, dried up meat patty hidden somewhere in the massive bread bun). I ordered the lobster roll and the lobster was cooked and sauced wonderfully and then placed in a brioche roll. Their chips are perfectly cooked but I think the obvious highlight of the side dishes was the mac and cheese. It was maybe my highlight of my meal. It was intensely cheesy with a crunchy top from being baked.
Unfortunately the service was pretty awful from seating us to serving us to billing us which was surprising as the restaurant wasn’t full.
The views are so stunning and I think they definitely make up for the over-priced drinks. 100% worth a visit on a sunny day!
On our first night in Florence, when we were there in April this year, we wondered the streets looking for All’Antico Vinaio (a hole in the wall wine and sandwich bar) on Via De Neri when we stumbled across their sit in restaurant across the street. We walked into the busy, lively restaurant and were seated shortly after we stood at the bar and ordered a bottle of wine.
The menu was in Italian and they didn’t have an English menu – so when the waiter brought a very large basket of freshly baked bread, we asked him what he would recommend. He pointed at the charcuterie boards on all the tables around us (literally everyone had one) so we gave him a nod and a thumbs up.
The board was covered in all sorts – two different cheeses, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, roast pork, all sorts of hams and salamis, and some jam to go with it all. One of the cheeses was a hard, strong flavoured, manchego-type cheese and the other had a lot less flavour and tasted more like a young cow’s milk cheese (basically tasted like milk). All the meats were scrumptious and we ate pretty much everything on the board.
He also brought us a couple of spreads on toasted bread – one was a thin layer of fat (which we actually didn’t eat as it just isn’t to our taste) and the other was a thick layer of home made pate which was lovely and earthy.
For our main we asked the waiter about a (very) large steak that a man on the table was eating on the table beside us and whether we could get one for 500g – He laughed and said the smallest steak is 1kg. We decided that – even though the man beside us could tackle this large piece of meat on his own – this was one for us to share.
It came out sizzling on a platter. It was thick but very tender and it had a smokey flavour from being on the grill.
Cost about 30 Euros in total for the bill. A great meal and authentic local atmosphere. Definitely recommend for some wine, a charcuterie board and a steak!
The weather was glorious in Florence when Jack and I went in April this year (but I guess I have London to compare it to, so pretty much anywhere else has great weather). It is such a beautiful city – even more so when showing itself off in the sunshine and cool, springtime breeze – and it offers such delicious foods made so simply with the freshest ingredients.
We read on Trip Advisor about a Pizza place that we had to try, so we got in a cab and as soon as we mentioned Gusta Pizza, the driver told us how famous it is and how good the pizzas are – so we knew we had made the right choice!
As soon as you walk in it feels so lively and such a friendly atmosphere with the staff and chefs laughing and joking with everyone and making you feel so welcome when you enter. It is a small place with just a few large barrels with glass tops to use at tables and stools to sit on. You get in and you order at the till. Then they give you a number and you wait for it to be called then you go up and collect your pizzas.
I ordered a Napoli 6 Euros and Jack had a Calabrese 7 Euros. If felt like no time before they were out the wood-fired stone oven and onto the table. They made mine into a heart shape (CUTE!). The pizzas tasted so good. Everything from the prefect chewiness of the dough to the freshness of the sauce and the mozzarella – it was 100% the best pizza I have ever tried.
They had their own wine which we ordered as well and was absolutely gorgeous. I definitely recommend to try it – Plus it was only 10 Euros for a whole bottle!
A Florentine institution! No pizza will ever be the same now.