Refined French dining in one of Barcelona’s most beautiful Modernist buildings
Sometimes you just need to put on your Sunday best and live it up a little bit. But although there are countless glitzy gastro-haunts nestled away in the city centre, there’s no denying that Barcelona’s real high-life is to be found in the elusive Zone Alta. And trust me my fellow gastronaut, La Dama is the perfect destination for a taste of bourgeoisie living.
The restaurant is located on the first floor mezzanine of the spectacularly beautiful Casa Sayrach, an architectural masterpiece completed in 1918 and one of the last hurrahs of the Modernist movement. Indeed, as the doorman ushers you inside the ornate lobby, which is resplendent with colourful mosaic work, sinuous wood and twisted stone, it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t designed by Gaudí himself.
La Dama has been around for a while. It was a beacon for bon vivants for much of the 80s and 90s. In 2016 however, it was given a new lease of life when it was taken over by Mariana Izasa and artist Peter Cauro.
The newly renovated space is sultry and seductive, with sumptuous wallpapers, rich gold and crimson tones contrasted with lashings of old wood. There’s an air of secrecy about it, like a speakeasy for the glitterati. The walls are covered in works of art, from more classic pieces to colourful pieces of pop art, some of which, Peter proudly explains, “was created especially for the restaurant”. It’s different. It’s unique. It’s special.
The brasserie-style mirrors and old-world vibes hint at the French-Mediterranean menu, which is the creation of chef Edouard Deplus, an alumni of the revered Institut Paul Bocuse. Dishes change with the seasons, but you can expect colourful starters like beef carpaccio with pickles and chimichurri, and smoked herring with potato and apple. Mains feature quality meat and fish served with rich sauces and fresh vegetables. Indulge in a rack of ribs or sirloin steak or dig into a mixed "plato del mar" for a gratifying taste of the ocean. The excellent wine menu features all sorts of goodies from Spain and France. The staff certainly know a thing or two, so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations when ordering a bottle.
Save space for dainty delights created by the in-house pastry chef. And be sure to pull up a stool at the glowing bar on your way out, where you can enjoy a classic cocktail whilst rubbing shoulders with the city’s high society.
La Dama is one of those places that really pays attention to the finer details. From the quality of the bread (and butter) to the first class service, everything has been carefully considered to put the customer at the centre of the experience. The food is fresh and interesting, beautifully cooked without being overly fussy or pretentious. And then of course there’s the undeniable fact that this is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful dining rooms in Barcelona.
By Ben Holbrook http://www.driftwoodjournals.com
La DamaAvinguda Diagonal, 423, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
Area: Eixample right
Website: La Dama - Barcelona
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 13.30 – 17.00 / 20.30 – 03.00
Phone: +34 932 09 63 28