This will be my 3rd post about the menu del dia within the last month. Sure, we have lunch specials back home in the US, but not like Barcelona. Back home, I often pack my own lunch to take to work so I don’t go out to lunch too often. If I do, it might be Chinese takeout or Jimmy John’s but the menu del dia is a perfectly crafted 3 course meal and drink and I love that the 3rd course is the dessert so you have to have sweet into your meal.
I thought I’d share a little bit about how the menu del dia works because it’s a bit of a local secret. My husband and I are also the type of diners that when we find a great place, we like to build up a relationship with the restaurant so during our stay, we had 3 menu del dias (update : 4 menu del dias) at a wonderful Catalan restaurant in the Gracia neighborhood called La Pubilla.
La Pubilla opens for it’s menu del dia each day at 1:15pm. I had read that this can be a hard place to get into so we set out on foot from the L’Eixample neighborhood around 12:30pm. Let me tell you, the walk is H-O-T! It’s so hot that each time we arrived, we swore that we would never do it again. But then after the meal all is forgotten. It would normally take us about a half hour to walk and the Llibertat Market is across the alley so if you find yourself arriving early, you can spend some time inside the market. There are a few great bars to hang out where you can grab a cafe con leche or a glass of freshly squeezed jugo naranja!
La Pubilla is small, a front marble bar, a small bar along the back wall and then the restaurant in the rear. From what I can understand is that you can get a lunch reservation for the restaurant but if you do not, you can get a table but must be about by 2:30pm because they have a second reserved seating beginning at 3pm. Don’t quote me on this but this is what I gather. The other option is that the two bar areas are first come first served and we have been lucky (meaning we get in right as they open) on all 3 visits to grab a seat at the marble bar and you won’t be on a timetable to be out by 2:30, plus the bar staff is super friendly.
Here are a few pics of two of the menu del dias. It’s 15 euros and this is probably one of the higher priced menus in the area but you are guaranteed to be treated to one of the best meals that is highly authentic and completely unique. Also, when you go and see the Pinya Fresca on the menu, get it. I never thought I could get excited about chopped pineapple, but I was wrong and just about every single local ordered it.
The menus are in Catalan and I attempted to build a Catalan vocabulary before the trip but I could decipher about one word per offering. My husband has a good Spanish vocabulary and he was out too. On our 3rd trip the meal was explained in English to the entire front bar area, as it was completely full by 1:30pm, but half the fun is not knowing and taking the plunge knowing you are in good hands. You order all 3 options at once and adult beverages of wine and beer are included. You could also opt for coffee or a bottle of sparkling Vichy Catalan.
The meal is well paced. It’s very crowded with people constantly coming in and wanting to be seated but the staff does not rush you at all. In fact after your meal, they will offer coffee, which is hard to say no to. Here are a lot of photos of the menu. These first two are repeats from my first post about La Pubilla.
We photographed our meals together and of course having two people we tried almost everything on the menu!
This 3rd item may look like a beer with a head but it’s apricot gelato with foam.
We’re missing the primero on this one. It was a potato salad with spicy mustard and shaved hard boiled eggs.
As you can see, 15 euros takes you on a nice journey through Catalan cooking. You don’t want to miss this. My one suggestion is that on the day of, have a light breakfast.