We published an article a couple of months ago now about how we, the people, lost our port (in reference to the mega-yacht installations occupying the Barceloneta side of Marina Port Vell). In our conversations with many a different player in that particular drama, we heard speak of a restaurant, a mythical place, past the caseta de Policía Portuaria, down where local fishermen still hold sway. So, off we went, hanging a right at the bottom of Joan de Borbó and popping past the kiosk with the policeman’s slip of paper in hand (you better have the staff stamp your papelito in El Racó del Mariner, or the port popo will get you post-pulpo). Walk straight until you get to the old clock tower and hang a left.
The restaurant itself is housed in one of the hexagonal bungalows made of corrugated metal and equipped with dirty, aged fiberglass skylights. The interior is like any other manolo in Barcelona if you take away the old photos and models of boats gracing the walls (and a few fishing nets with plastic crabs and Nemos strategically entwined). But, before you get inside you pass through the terrace (which is where you should ask to sit) in the inner sanctuary of this odd port structure. We were lucky to get a table, and took note of the chalk sign with the mobile number for reservations. Grub-wise, there are two options here: the arroces and the raciones. Due to time and financial constraints, we went for raciones de boquerones, mejillones con marinera (¿cómo no?), calamares, pimientos de padrón, bravas, a giant green salad (with tuna and boquerones en vinagre on top) and some pa amb tomàquet. The waitress told us that was poco. She’s obviously crazy. The fish, as you can imagine, comes from the lonja right behind the bar, selected every afternoon and fresher than a baby’s bottom before the doctor slap. The calamari was the weak link, sadly, but the boques were bomb and Tiki nearly ate the mussels’ bowl just in case some marinera residue had infiltrated the ceramic itself. Ace pimientos and bravas as well, la verdad. After lunch, take 5 minutes to explore the docks and see the fishermen before Barcelona parks a mega-yacht or a hotel in their place.