In the heart of the famous Eixample neighbourhood, in the busy city of Barcelona, you will find a cosy and inviting place where you can taste the familiar flavours of Mediterranean food mixed with fascinating textures from exotic places all around the world. That place is Pau Claris 190, a restaurant that will surely awaken all your senses.
TEXT: GERARD PLANA | PHOTOS: PAU CLARIS 190
Owner Raphael Wanda sits at the table on the terrace, close to the tender light of the candles. “When I arrived in Barcelona, I had to choose whether to adapt myself to someone else’s kitchen or follow my own path.” He smiles while he looks at his wife Lizbeth. “Yet, soon enough, I knew that I wanted to do my own thing”.
Before moving to Barcelona, Raphael spent two years in Gran Canaria and seven years in Ibiza. Once here, he designed his own space, set up his own kitchen and created his own specialties. The result is a small, yet super-cosy antique flower shop transformed into a welcoming restaurant. It is decorated with handmade furniture and filled with smells and flavours from around the world.
Seasons matter, ingredients too
“We change the menu every season, that allows us to only use seasonal products,” explains Lizbeth as she stands behind the reception. Her smile immediately makes you feel welcome and relaxes you. “Furthermore, we also assemble our wine selection with care.” Pau Claris 190 offers an interesting variety of wines that will satisfy the most delicate palates. The selection includes bottles from France, Catalunya, La Rioja and Gran Canaria, where Raphael started his career behind the cooktops. And the whiskey, of course, couldn’t be anything other than Irish, in honour of Lizbeth’s father.
And what about the food? Perhaps you would like to have baby squid with yogurt hollandaise and a touch of watermelon as a starter, obviously combined with some of Spain’s finest wine. Or, as a main dish, tender dry-aged duck breast with coffee and orange reduction. Pau Claris 190 never fails to surprise you with their dishes.
As the two paintings inside the restaurant suggest, fruits and vegetables are the two pillars on which their kitchen is built. Raphael and Lizbeth truly care about the ingredients they use for their dishes: high-quality and local products are to be found in every single dish. Furthermore, the both of them participate in the creation of the menu, exploring different ingredients and tastes. A given, however, is that all dishes have an interesting, fruity twist. Both love how the fresh notes of the fruits mix with the salty flavours of the meat. The result: a tasty creation that will leave you speechless.
And even if you are vegan, you still have plenty of choice; like the homemade tofu with organic vegetables and homemade teriyaki sauce, or the ‘canelones’ with vegan béchamel, an interesting combination of contemporary and traditional food that comes together as an exquisite dish.
Slow food and good memories
Living in a busy city like Barcelona, it’s always a nice idea to find a place where slow life is the norm. Luckily, Raphael and Lizbeth believe in the power of slowness. “We aim to make slow food, just the way our grandmas cooked when we were little,” says Raphael with a smile. Old family memories are still very present in many of Raphael and Lizbeth’s creations. The five-star dessert, for example, is called ‘Tarta Mutti’, in honour of his mother who used to bake it every year on his birthday; a delicious chocolate crumble cake with quince, hazelnut, praline ice cream and pumpkin. It will leave you wanting more.
As Lizbeth and Raphael are so passionate about their work, both pay attention to the smallest of details. Nothing that leaves the kitchen is anything less than perfect. The restaurant has been awarded twice as the Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Barcelona by Lux Magazine. But that doesn’t make it lose its welcoming atmosphere. This lovely spot in the middle of Barcelona is a perfect place to enjoy a relaxed dinner or have a delicious celebration with friends or family. If you are visiting this great Mediterranean city, do not hesitate to go to Pau Claris 190 and delight yourself with Raphael and Lizbeth’s haute cuisine.