Like all other visitors to Barcelona, our curiosity about Antoni Gaudí's cartoon-esque architecture took us to the exterior of some really neat buildings. La Sagrada-Família, arguably the most famous of his works, presented as far too commercial to merit entry (not to mention my reluctance to give money to religious organisations), so we did a lap of the cathedral and walked on to Casa-Batlló. It's really disappointing that the Gaudí buildings aren't edible since they look like they might be made of candy.
After such a fantastic dinner at Sésamo Restaurante in Barcelona, I was very tempted to ditch all other food plans and head back for a guaranteed great meal. Alas, I felt a cold coming on and hence had limited hours to taste the food I ate. I decided to prioritise the place I hadn't tried: Teresa Carles.
Teresa Carles Cocina Vegetariana
Design wise it's the best branded and most eloquently presented restaurant we visited in Barcelona, and they've really got it together when it comes to timing and providing a welcoming environment. Everyone is friendly and the menu selection is impressive, but for the price I still expected a little more. The server had no knowledge about wine and the artichoke starter contained a lot of choke (if you're not familiar with artichoke anatomy, the choke is the inedible fuzzy centre of the vegetable that feels like stabby dog hair in your mouth).
I ought have complained about the artichoke problem on the spot, but I was too distracted by the greatest dinner conversation I have ever witnessed in the history of sitting next to annoying people by chance in a restaurant.
Two women from California, one loudly asserting her privilege and income anywhere she could, even when it didn't suit the conversation. Her dining companion realised my amusement and softened her own self enthusiasm early on. The dynamic was so great that I half forgot my food and instead basked in the awkwardness of the quiet friend's knowledge of my awareness of their conversation. Meanwhile Ms Have-all cluelessly and relentlessly carried on about salads, handbags, and the importance of her opinion. It was ace.
To the food!
Paul opted for the mushroom and young coconut ceviche for his starter, which came with hijiki seaweed (like umami spaghetti!) and avocado in an olive oil and spirulina dressing. The spirulina tasted like the grossest smell ever of freshly cut grass (I know I'm in the minority in detesting that scent), but the combination was so perfect that it worked stunningly. This dish was the winner for me.
As mentioned, the artichokes I had for my starter weren't completely up to scratch. The balsamic reduction served alongside them, however, had me licking the plate.
For mains we both chose the same, a cashew cheese lasagne that seemed to be the star of the menu. The presentation was unique and enjoyable – layers of concertina folded pasta with a separate filling in each layer. Cooked spinach, masala pumpkin (a genius addition), mushrooms, cashew cheese. The contrast between the warmth of the dish and the cold marinara served on top struck me as a bit odd, but flavour wise the whole package was spot on.
For dessert we chose both of the vegan options, which included cake and a selection of truffles, turrones, and bonbons (all very good). The indulgent snowflake cake featured caramelised pears, macadamia nuts, and white chocolate fudge (!!!). Need I say more? I think not.
While I was disappointed with some aspects of the meal, I was impressed enough with others that I would return to Teresa Carles should I find myself once again in Barcelona. It's a great spot for a relaxing meal to take your time over, with plenty of options to choose from on the menu. Reservations are recommended for evenings, despite the restaurant's unusually large size for its location.