Prime real estate and a good meal don’t often go hand in hand. It’s a trade-off: looks over food or vice versa. Llamber, however, is an exception. Facing the Mercat Del Born Cultural Center with abundant outdoor seating supported by a large indoor restaurant. Money has been spent on the interior and furniture. It helps that the space was once a fruit warehouse and elements like the slim columns have been preserved.
The food is a combination of Asturian (up at the top of Spain) and Catalan. It is seasonal, KM 0 Slow Food meaning the ingredients are grown in proximity, tend to be organic or at very least, traditionally grown on a small scale for flavour.
Llamber has a penchant for unusual serving formats. Of the 5 dishes we order, not a one comes on a plate. A preference for unusual serving formats does make me sigh in resignation. On this occasion, I find the mushroom dish mounted on a white porcelain log striking (14€).
There is a good menu del dia to choose from but we order a la carte so that I can try the emblematic dishes of the restaurant. There are light and fluffy cod bunyols, similar to a delicate doughnut (7€ 1/2 portion). A strange marriage of new potato, praline, and Cabrales blue cheese(6.5€ 1/2 portion)- the praline seems a catastrophic choice to me but the dish is much loved by customers (go figure).
We share a dish of black rice with vegetables (14€). It is served in a porcelain crater with tiny carrots, smaller than a baby’s digit propped onto a large by comparison radish. It looks like an edible garden of sorts, with the rice doing a good impersonation of rich, humid soil.
Since we haven’t opted for the lunch menu, the two of us have set our ceiling at 25€ each. We manage to come in just under that amount by skipping dessert and ordering a half portion. The option of ordering a medio racion (half portion) is reason 873 that I love Barcelona. I didn’t even realize it was a thing until a waiter recommended I pare down my greedy order by diminishing some of the portion sizes. (I am repeatedly astounded when my request for a smaller portion is met with a nod instead of an eye roll. I can even order a quarter portion if I want. It’s ok – no judgment.)
Coffee comes with a delicious foil wrapped shortbread and orange peel biscuit. So good, in fact, that when the table outside leaves theirs next to their empty coffee cups, I scuttle outside and swoop on them before they can be cleared away. (True story.)
Llamber capitalizes on their prime location by being open all day. Beginning with breakfast. You won’t find any bowls, or Benedict, or pancakes here although somehow an avocado bocadillo has managed to infiltrate the mostly traditional choices. As Spring gets its footings and things warm up, the terrace is likely where you will want to be.
Carrer de la Fusina 5,
08003 El Raval