There’s a gem of a place in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and at the time we found it, I genuinely believed it was heaven-sent. You see when a hangry Honey strikes, you’d pray to all the saints that you find something good really quick. Thank God, we found Santagustina.
The place is literally a breath of fresh air from other establishments in the Gothic Quarter. It’s bright and airy, with window counters that overlook the square and al fresco dining outside, rustic unfinished walls and wooden shelves all over. The branding is quite minimalistic and cool as well. There’s something very modern about the place, but also something quite comforting.
I perused the menu as I sipped on an iced cold glass of sangria de cava by my window seat. There’s a good selection of tapas (and all looking rather healthy) categorised as Original Sins (aka the classic appetizers), Blessed Tapas (aka the raw creations), Divine Tapas (aka all from the Josper grill), Sacred Tapas (hearty, slow cooked tapas), Immaculate Tapas (aka the light salads) and Temptations (aka the naughty dessert and cheese selections). They also have a board of specials up on the walls.
I adore coca bread and I liked Santagustina’s offering. The amount of tomato looked underwhelming but the flavour burst! The only thing I hoped for was a bit more chew. It was toasted too much for my liking, I thought.
We ordered the Russian Salad out of curiousity. I knew it had eggy bits but nothing I couldn’t poke out of my way. 😉
Santagustina’s offering was totally good and the portion was actually quite generous. It was rich and creamy and bursting of texture. The pickled anchovies were a great treat and there was a surprise layer of tuna in the middle. I could wolf this down again, sans egg.
Next up came Santagustina’s clams in garlic butter sauce. This, I swear, made me sing Hallelujah.
Admittedly, the clams weren’t consistent in size, but they were all so darn delicious. For me, the sauce was perfect – and by this, I meant a slight nod to the garlicky side. All you need is a good fistful of angel hair and you’ve got an awesome vongole!
The grilled octopus was a beast who sat pretty on a bed of sweet potato mash and salsa.
I was grateful for this dish, because the Josper-grilled octopus came out beautifully cooked. The dusting of paprika gave its smokiness a level of intensity that was balanced by the sweet potato mash. A hearty dish that I’d thank not just Santagustina, but all the saints for.
The final dish was called Grandma’s meatballs. As with most things on a menu that starts with “Mama” or “Grandma” or “Tia” or “Nonna”, it’s a secret family recipe.
I’m not even gonna lie. Whatever Grandma used to make these magic balls – whether it’s pork or veal or voodoo – I don’t care. I was definitely high in gastronorgasmic delight. Delicious.
Verdict for Santagustina
One word: heavenly. I love restaurants like this, ones you chance by at the right time and take you by surprise. The vibe was totally cool and buzzy and service was pretty good, too. The food is great – it’s all your favourite classic tapas with a modern (but not the hipster type) twist. It’s a cool spot, particularly when the weather’s nice and bright. You can either choose to sit outside by the square or stay indoors whilst watching the world go by. And at night, go check out their extensive selection of wine. It’s rather impressive!
And really. Grandma’s meatballs are to die for.
Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell, 9, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Ave spend pp 40€