Botafumeiro: four decades as Barcelona’s leading seafood restaurant

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Over time certain restaurants come to symbolize their city. This couldn’t be more true for the Botafumeiro Restaurant in Barcelona. A classic. For generations its name has connoted prestige. It has stood for exclusivity, excellent seafood and distinction since the day it opened in 1975.

Time passes, but Botafumeiro stays the same. Thanks to its enviable location on Gran de Gràcia, in the heart of Barcelona’s Eixample district, and the reputation it has acquired over the years, the restaurant has become a landmark. A stone’s throw from Passeig de Gràcia and Avinguda Diagonal, Botafumeiro is one of the city’s most iconic seafood restaurants. The man who founded it in 1975 is Moncho Neira, a Galician living in Catalonia who is inextricably linked to seafood and the restaurant business. He was one of the first to give Galician cuisine and seafood a name in Barcelona.

Cocina en Vivo. Restaurante Botafumeiro (148)

The menu does not disappoint. Maritime-inspired dishes and traditional recipes built primarily around fish and shellfish. “We work with exceptional ingredients. The very best one can find at the market, and we handle them with utmost care. Our customers have very discerning palates,” Neira says. In this regard, he acknowledges that “some customers know more about the product than I do, and this puts even more pressure on us.”

He has barely altered his recipes over the course of 40-plus years. The restaurant remains true to his original recipes, which are responsible for its success. “The only thing we have changed is how we present the food and the side dishes. More and more we are working with seasonal vegetables and fresh, locally sourced products.”

In any case, Neira acknowledges that “success is neither born from coincidence nor guaranteed. It can come and go.” He insists that to stay successful one must “work hard every day and not get complacent.”

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Picking one star dish at Botafumeiro is quite a challenge. The options are many and varied, but Moncho leans toward the “sole with truffles and shrimp.” It is the dish that gets ordered the most, but there are others. Lobsters, goose barnacles, spider crabs, shrimp and langoustines arrive fresh first thing in the morning and by nightfall they’ve all been served. Mainly because the kitchen at Botafumeiro never stops. Under Neira’s watchful eye, more than 130 people make sure everything runs smoothly. He is a self-confessed perfectionist.

As for wine, Moncho states that this “is what ultimately gives good food its credibility. The restaurant’s wine cellar must be on the same level as the food.” Botafumeiro’s wine cellar combines contemporary wines with celebrated classics. The wine list features two of our wines: Vinya Le Havre Cabernet Sauvignon and Vinya Gigi Chardonnay. Two exclusive, single-vineyard certified wines that pair beautifully with the restaurant’s culinary creations.

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