There are restaurants which are famous for just being famous, and unfortunately, Botafumeiro’s one of them. When I arrived at the restaurant, the ambience and appearance seemed to point to a great gastronomical experience. The wall is mounted with framed pictures of celebrities and heads of state. It was only when I dig into the food, I found out that it is very much overrated.
The restaurant is rather big. With the servers and waiters rushing down the walkway, I didn’t have a chance to explore the restaurant. Even on a Sunday evening, the restaurant was packed. Anyway, my partner and I were seated near the bar. And we couldn’t help but to notice that most of the customers were mainly tourists. Where are the locals?
Botafumeiro Bar Counter
Do not expect prompt service. It took some time before the waiter came to take our order. It took an even longer time before the food came. Meanwhile, we were trying to fill our stomach with bread.
The Deep Fried Squids (calamari) Andalusia Style is a huge disappointment. From the size of the rings, it is clear that Botafumeiro uses the bigger squid for its calamari. The meat is rubbery and tough. Compared to those that I’ve eaten over the last few days, this unappetising version takes the bottom spot.
The Baked Scallops fare much better. They are presented with shells and placed on top of a pool of salt. The meat is tender and juicy. The small bits of ham and onions added more flavour and texture to the scallops.
Just when we thought our meal was getting better, the Seafood Paella threw us back to earth. We were at a loss of words when we saw how meagre the chef was with the clams and prawns. Not only that, they are small clams and shrimps. The only consolation is that the rice has some flavour.
I prefer my beef is to be cooked at about medium well because I have a weak stomach. At Botafumeiro , a medium well veal fillet is an extremely well-done piece of meat. The veal is so dry and tough that it lost all its natural flavour.
And when it was time to order our desserts, we decided we would be better off grabbing ice cream at a nearby store.
Some complimentary desserts
I have nothing against the restaurant. But to put it bluntly, the restaurant is just riding on all the hype generated from who knows where. It is way overpriced for its run-of-the-mill food. I wouldn’t even think of going back to the restaurant should I return to Barcelona.
Carrer Gran de Gràcia, 81, 08012 Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 932 18 42 30