It started with sangria, a plucky polka dotted brand that people found accessible and fun. Then they opened a small restaurant, lined the shelves with their bottles and wrote out the menu on mirrors and tiles. Now, they’ve gone bigger. Significantly bigger. An enormous space over two floors, with one entrance on Ronda St Pere and the other on Trafalgar.
They’ve taken the calligraphy that worked so well in Casa Lolea and pushed it further. Classic C|R hand painted on the windows in gold. Almost sloppy red writing painted on the mirror behind the bar.
The space evolves as you walk through. From dark and moody at the front where you have a drink and pick at small plates- to an elegant bright restaurant at the back. A large room where you are likely to sit up a little straighter and remember to take your elbows off the table. There are older patrons in this section. No doubt rejoicing, clean large spaces such as Casa Rafols tend to be found up in Eixample or Sant Gervasi.
The distinctive space used to be a much-loved ferretería (hardware store) for over 100 years as well as hosting a clandestine restaurant during the war. It was snapped up by the Balcastro group who set out to preserve much of the antique details and pay homage to the complex history of the place.
My friend and I are delighted by the selection of tapas we are given to try. Large ham croquetas (1.9€ each) with a crispy textured coating of panko breadcrumbs on the outside. The white asparagus cojonudos (a specialty canned asparagus that is uncannily thick) with grilled vegetables and Romesco (7.5€). The menu is extensive, and as they are open all day, starts with breakfast. We try an Arroz caldoso (15.50€)- translated as soggy rice on their menu and it lives up to its translation.
We end with a selection of 4 mini desserts: rice pudding, fried cream (it’s a thing and it’s delicious), a cinnamon ice cream and apple pudding.
We both agree that our favourite things were the beginning and the end. And we love the diversity of the space debating whether it’s better to sit in the front or back but liking that we have a choice.
Casa Rafols *
Ronda de Sant Pere, 74
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*I was a guest of Casa Rafols
Disgusting service, discriminatory personnel named PATRICIA.
My husband and I are commemorating our 7th wedding anniversary in Barcelona. So we simply wanted the best experience in this trip. Browsing through possible places to chill after a full day’s stroll discovering the city, we tried to come to Casa Rafols near Arc de Triompf.
We are decent people, not dumb. The girl at receiving area just rejected us for “not having a reservation”. Whereas she just let in 4 people in front of us also without reservation. Reality on the ground: a family of 6 just stand up to leave, many free spaces at bar. Plus, she just let a guy be seated at outside table.
Her name is PATRICIA. Such a bad front line and bad face for the restaurant. She did not even at least say “is it okay with you to be seated at the bar” or “is it okay for you to wait for so many minutes until a table is freed, meantime you can take a seat at the outside tables” or provide options. NADA. She just rejected us. When i came back to ask for her name, she even followed us outside and literally pleaded to come back and seat at the bar area. What the???? If you have that option from the very start why not offer right away??? Is it because we have a couple of bags with us from some shopping we made, thus, not making us a “desirable client”? Is it because we look too tired from a full day?
She definitely gave a bad face for the restaurant. She needs seminars and trainings on what a good service is. She should not be there in the first place. It is a pity because the restaurant is getting good reviews. But with employees like her, surely, she is only giving a bad reputation for the restaurant. She should not be among your employees in the first place.
Oh well, my husband and I have a better place to chill on a rooftop of our hotel. So I hope the management of Casa Rafol will act on such discriminatory personnel like PATRICIA. She doesn’t deserve a place in this world.