Divinus Restaurant, Barcelona – Spain

I had been on a leisure trip with Mrs Travel Freak to Barcelona for the weekend.  The weather had been on side and we had enjoyed a great weekend.  It was the last day of our trip and we only had a few hours before we needed to get the train to the Airport.  We had asked in the Me hotel where we could have a bite to eat and then catch the train and were told that Passeig de Gràcia was the best plan.

We hailed a cab and 10€ later we were in the street.  This was clearly an upmarket street – Hugo Boss, Armani, Yves-Saint-Laurent, Chanel etc. all had a presence here.  Luckily for me (and my Amex) it was a Sunday and all the shops were closed.

We walked around for a bit and realised that a lot of the restaurants looked very touristy and were full of… tourists.  The only Spanish we saw were drinking Cava in the sun; they were certainly not eating anything.  After walking with heavy bags in the sun for a bit we picked Divinus; there was a table outside and the Cava that was being drunk there looked pretty good.

The table was cleared as we approached and our server came over and started chatting with us.  He was clearly used to dealing with tourists and was pretty good at it.  He found some menus while I went inside.

I was a little cynical when I counted three large TVs inside – all showing football.  I was thinking that this maybe wasn’t the most authentic place to eat and then dismissed my cynicism.  Think positive Mr Travel Freak!

Mrs Travel Freak had ordered us a bottle of Cava (14.84€) upon my return.  We opted for Ham Croquettes (5.69€), Meatballs (6.15€), Potato stuffed with meat (4.54€), Spanish Tortilla (6.61€) and some Pintxos (2.20€ each).  Why the random prices I had no idea.  We also ordered some Patatas Bravas (4.89€) as I had yet to have any in Spain.

The Cava was brought out quickly and was cold and refreshing – and of course very cheap.  The problems started with the food…

Our server had gone for a break – we could see him inside the restaurant eating.  His replacement was functional but not quite as chatty.  He delivered the ‘Patatas Bravas’, if you could call them that, first.  They looked vile.  I mean really horrible.  It was a perfect example of crap that’s served to tourists that a local wouldn’t touch in a million years.

I consider myself pretty good in the kitchen and occasionally I have some friends round for a tapas night.  I make everything from scratch and this includes Patatas Bravas.  Mine are spicy and pretty yummy!  They are made with olive oil, potatoes, paprika, chilli and tomatoes.  I might add a touch of sage and maybe some salt at the end.  The slop that was served up here looked just vile.  I am disappointed that I didn’t take a picture of it to share.  Think of some deep fried frozen potatoes topped with a sauce that is pink.  I suspect if you were to mix some cheap tomato ketchup with some even cheaper mayonnaise then you would get the sauce.  It tasted worse than it looked and having it sat on the table really put us off the rest of the food.

The ham croquettes were OK, although not remarkable.  The look of disgust sported by Mrs Travel Freak after tasting the potato with meat was enough for me to pass on the opportunity.  She described it as tasting simply ‘fried’.

The Spanish omelette at least got eaten but didn’t really have much of a taste; the meatballs were the best out of a bad lot, tasting well, like meatballs should.  The sauce they were served with tasted almost authentic, although by the end of the (very small bowl) I had eaten enough of them.

The Pintxos were acceptable – although nowhere near as good as Bilbao Berria.

All in the bill was 54€.  We left full of Cava and not very much food.  If you find yourself in this part of the world, you could pop in for the Cava but avoid the food at all costs.

All in all, a really disappointing meal to end our trip in beautiful Barcelona.  I should have left as soon as I saw the TVs with football!

Divinus, Passeig de Gràcia 28, Barcelona.  Website


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