One of my best dining experiences in Barcelona was at La Bodega Restaurant at Plaza Molina in the Sant Gervasi district. My local friends, Tina and Alex said it was their favorite restaurant in Barcelona so they had to take me there. Open since 1983, the owner, Jose Luis Jimemr Momci still greets every one of his guests and attends to every detail. White table cloths and rose petals create a romantic atmosphere in this wine cellar converted into restaurant; it specializes in classic Mediterranean cuisine with a Catalan twist.

What first grabs your attention at this establishment is the group of waiters carrying very large trays of food, with one sole purpose, to tickle your senses. You can see and smell some of the specials of the day, which leads you to make a decision based on what appeals to you most. Reading the menu and imagining what you will be served is totally unnecessary.

All menu items are served in half and full portion, which means you can create your own Tapas dinner or get an entrée size. One of the most interesting dishes I ate was the steak cooked tableside. Thinly sliced raw steak was served with a large very hot stone plate. I cooked the steak on the stone and drizzled a bit of sea salt on it and viola; it was cooked instantly and was delicious!

We also tried some of the traditional Catalonian dishes – Esqueixada cod fish salad (not the canned salted cod fish that Portuguese love), Pimiento Padron (flash fried tiny green peppers), Rossinyol Habitas (sautéed mushrooms with lima beans), Calamares Romana (fresh fried calamari in a delicate batter), Patatas Espatacadas (an accident of potatoes, eggs and mushrooms, really it’s like a scramble), and drowned it all down with some Pago de Chapellanes and sweet moscato straight from the carafe.

No Spanish dinner goes complete without an apple pie (unlike any other you have ever had). A thin crust pie with a layer of apples and fresh cream, almost like a tart, was the perfect ending to this oh so scrumptious meal.

Ah and we still got to drink a gin and tonic, a traditional after dinner drink in Spain.

Our waiter put on his white gloves and brought over his rolling cart of ingredients to operate upon the cocktail. He showed us how making the perfect gin and tonic table side  while demonstrating that it took special skills and the use of correct tools to get the job done right. You must watch this video to get the real picture. It’s hilarious!