It's not easy to maintain good quality over the long term, to serve traditional, homemade Catalan cuisine, but updated and well presented, adapted to today's demands, with friendly and efficient service, an immaculate kitchen in plain view, and cotton tablecloths, rather than those cheap paper ones... And to do all this without taking a gamble.
But one restaurant that has managed all this is Arturo, over 30 years in existence and now run by Carlos and Ana, the successors of those wise cooks who started the adventure in a short and pleasant street near the Cotxeres de Sants civic centre. They prefer not to offer a daily menu, but they do have a dish of the day, usually a good stew. And if there is one thing that stands out in this cosy place, with exposed brickwork and tasteful decor, it's authenticity. And the warmth of the welcome and the genuine sense of hospitality that this unique restaurant has never lost.
We started with a divine small Russian salad to accompany our glass of cava. This was followed by a simple yet highly successful tomato and avocado starter, then battered calamari rings which were fried and served like few places know how to do. The chickpeas with fresh baby squid had been recommended to us, but on the day they weren't available. But the stuffed calamari more than replaced the star dish. Done to perfection in a tasty sauce, it was the surprise of the day.
The roasted pork knuckle, another mainstay of the kitchen, brought a delicious end to the fiesta. The dish of the day was beans with onions and anchovies, while the dish not to be missed on the menu is fried eggs with potatos and mushrooms. The fish is excellent, especially the monkfish fillet and the hake with burnt garlic. And the desserts are mouthwatering, especially the homemade crème caramel and the Sachertorte. An experience not to be missed!