Big fans of good food already consider Igueldo to be a model for traditional cuisine with a modern flair, and they're pleased to find that it's not too over-the-top or pretentious. The cooking, with a strong Basque flavour, is expertly overseen by Gonzalo Calvete, and the other owner, Ana López, is a splendid sommelier and hostess.
This place will always put you in a good mood, thanks to the simple, elegant décor, including a bright hardwood floor and white walls and columns. The back is available for reservations of up to 10 people.
Ana and Gonzalo, with backgrounds in big restaurants, live up to the high expectations they created for this one. Even better, their presence has raised the quality of other places in the area, whether their excellence spread out to their neighbours or they simply forced competition, and we are definitely thankful for that. They don’t offer a set lunch menu, but regardless, superlative cuisine and reasonable prices draw in not only gourmets from this area of the Eixample, but also faithful patrons who come specifically to enjoy the delicious, no-frills fare.
The offerings and, above all, the existence of both a meat grill and a fish grill attracted us to one of the lovely Basque tables. Most of the regulars go right to the Oiartzun rib, with a bowl of salad and piquillo peppers. This option is a combination of ingenuity and good taste, which also results in delicious starters like the anchovy and strawberry salad, steak tartare with beer yoghurt, and the fantastic barbecued artichokes with fresh foie gras.
We also recommend trying the traditional dishes, like the peppers stuffed with 'txangurro' (crab), the tripe with chickpeas, and the lamb and vegetable stew.
But it’s the barbecue that shines: hake served with clams and fried with garlic, onion and pepper; diced tuna with sweet tomato; sweetbread, brains and kidneys; or fish from the market, which is a worthy order.
Try the grilled calamari, caramelized onion and ham, cod filet with cod tripe and barley or the twice-cooked squab with salsify, a particularly tasty edible root that very few chefs dare to use. They have excellent bread, a platter of fine cheeses and freshly prepared desserts.
An impressive wine menu, which varies according to Ana’s tastes, good music, excellent lighting and a welcoming ambience will give you a fabulous evening out in one of the best restaurants in the city.