Google maps is telling me to go to the Raval side of Ronda de Santa Pau. The only places I know of in this corner of the Raval is Espai Egg and a cute, but in no other way noteworthy, family run Moroccan restaurant.
It turns out the Moroccan has become Gringa. The work on Parc Folch i Torres is finally complete and is now full of squealing children. The picnic tables outside Gringa are all taken when I arrive at 8 pm. Childish Gambino “This is America” is playing.
The common aesthetic for Mexican restaurants in Barcelona tends to be loud oilcloths, a grinning embellished skull, and at least one brightly coloured wall. Gringa has none of that. It is a chic minimalist Californian Mexcian restaurant, inspired by the diners that are popular there – as one of the owners, Priscilla, tells it. Cement floors, low lighting, caramel coloured banquettes, plants to soften the hard edges. Inside the open kitchen, a hanging shelf, loaded with drinks and condiments – looking like an industrial chandelier.
Gringa started life out as a Food truck, one of the first in Barcelona, a blue Citroen called Eureka Street Food. Run by Priscilla, a native Californian, and Gascon. After five years, they acquired a new partner, Juan and found their location in the Raval. A barrio in flux with many faces: principally a migrant neighborhood, with investment funds buying up entire buildings and leaving them empty – useful for ‘drug flats’. Things are changing, Barcelona is booming and El Raval and its attractive rents are becoming a real contender as a place to live.
I’d hazard a guess that Gringa has come in at precisely the right time, the rents are attractive but there are enough hungry people around dying for just this kind of place.
Gringa’s menu is small but perfectly formed: fish tacos (10.5€), carnitas, chicken & veggie (all 3 for 8.7€ or 5 for 12.5€). There is no mixed platter nor can you order by piece making this a place you must come with friends. That way you can share the Echo Park Elotes (7€) LA street style corn Mazorca covered in cheese (yes please!) or the Gringa nachos (9.6€). And since no one can resist a burger, you have your pick of those too from veggie ((10.5€) to fried chicken (11.5€). Weekends they serve their Walk of Shame Brunch. Gringo pancakes with peanut butter syrup (8€), Chilaquiles (9.5€) and Breakfast burritos (10€) to name a few.
I have a feeling I will be seeing a few of you here soon.