Spaniards have this fabulous phrase to call attention to a local neighborhood eatery or a site that they frequent, they say "es un bar (restaurante, sitio) de toda la vida", which directly translates into, "it's a bar of your entire life." I love this use of the language because it adequately fits so many existing establishments dotted throughout cities, pueblos and ports. The phenomenon of small and local specialized shops, although drastically hurt by the crisis in Spain, continues to be valued by the population and found tucked into their small Gothic alleyways or holding strong to their ocean view property. La Cova Fumada is a perfect example of this generational happening, and because of its history, minimalist approach and quality, it remains so well admired yet so well hidden that the tourists have yet to run amok. The locals however are present, and to satisfy their Mediterranean diets, they must abide to the ever so peculiar schedule of this beach taberna, where they snag a seat at closely squished marble and iron sewing-esque tables and wooden benches.
Although it's not a total secret -you've got to check if the back door is open- I've been lucky to find myself many times seated for early lunch or late breakfast, however you look at it. The other reason this is a toda la vida bar is that the prices remain reasonable and within reach for many families, in a country where the unemployment rates, drop in construction and mortgage meltdown has affected nearly everyone. At La Cova Fumada two people can eat very well, sampling fish fresh from the sea, or seasonal grilled vegetables, like wild mushrooms or artichokes, and grab that morning beer, chato of wine or spiked coffee (carajillo) for around 12-15€ a person. My personal faves, and almost always on the menu, are grilled calamari (calamar a la plancha) and their famous bomba, which according to legend in the barrio, was invented here. This small fried potato ball is filled with ground beef, finely chopped onion and garlic, then topped with a creamy alioli (a garlic mayonnaise) and a contrasting spicy tomato sauce. It should be served hot, and if so, is absolutely addictive.
After your meal, spend your early afternoon retracing the steps of generations of fishermen and soaking in the sun, a short five minute walk to the Barceloneta beach.
La bomba de Barceloneta. The famous bomba of Barceloneta.
Calamar. Calamari at La Cova Fumada Barcelona.
Ensalada de tomate. Tomato salad with olives and onion.
Caballa a la plancha. Pan fried mackerel at La Cova Fumada Barcelona, Catalonia.
La Cova Fumada
+34 93 221 40 61 (no reservations accepted)
Carrer Baluard 56
Monday- Friday 9:00-15:20
Thursdays & Fridays 18:00-20:20
Closed Sundays and Holidays
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