Thursday, 27 August 2009

¡Que Rico!

Hungry yet? I took this at "La Bella Napoli", a great trattoria here in Poble Sec. On the one hand, my visit was simply a pleasant lunch with Mrs HD and a friend of ours. On the other it was an ideal opportunity to finally start reviewing the eateries and watering holes of this fine barri, and actually start publishing some useful information. 

La Bella Napoli
c. de Magarit, 14
Tel 93 442 50 56
13.30 - 16.00, 20.30 - 24.00
Closed Mondays
Takeaway but no delivery
More info on website

Around €25 per head
Beer €3.50 per glass
Wine c. € 12 - 16 per bottle

This place was already more than half full when we arrived at 2pm. On a Wednesday. During the worst recession in years.  So it must be special - the locals certainly seem to think so - it's also packed by 9.30 most evenings, so I advise booking, unless like most Brits, you prefer to eat early. 

The decor is nothing outstanding, but they do have a genuine wood-burning oven, which the chef made the most of when it came to the pizzas. But let's start with the booze. We got through two bottles of a hitherto unknown blush rosé at €14.50 each, which was suprisingly drinkable, despite our initial misgivings. Next we ordered a plate of Carciofi friti, battered, deep-fried artichokes, which were first-rate and fresh, not at all oily, but not as crisp as tempura. And there were plenty of them - good value at €9. 

For the next course, Mrs HD plumped for pasta - rigalatoni serentina, which consisted of a ragu with smoke provolone and basil. Verdict - excellent. Our friend and I opted for pizza. Some people say that pizza is a bit like consensual sex - it can never really be that bad, and I agree up to a point. And whilst there's not a whole Karma Sutra to choose from
at La Bella Napoli, there's a good range, including Pizza calzone con ciccioli, a folded pizza stuffed with Nutella. We gave that one a miss for fear of early-onset diabetes, however, with me ordering the bufalina - buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato slices and a scattering of basil leaves - as shown in the photo at the top of the page. The dough had exactly the right balance between crunch and chew, the minimal use of good tomatoes proved that less is indeed more, and the added depth of the classier type of mozzarella all added up to a great eating experience. Our friend went for the less earthy Sofia Loren, pictured here, featuring fresh cherry tomatoes, rucola, bresola and shards of parmesan. No complaints there either. We finished the meal of with carajillos de ron, or in my case a lemonchello. We didn't try the home-made tiramisu, which is reported to be good.

All in all, sixty-odd euros well spent. My only criticism would be that the wine selection was limited - and limited to some rather off-puttingly unknown vintages, but the food itself could hardly be bettered, particularly at the price.

Over the next few months I'll be attempting to review other restaurants and bars in the area, so watch this space. If you've eaten  at La Bella Napoli, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. Bon profit!

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