Rafa Panatieri, who kept up Roca Moo's Michelin star until that establishment closed, opened Garden Pizza in a quiet part of Gràcia inside a modernista house that dates back to 1870. The Brazilian chef with Italian roots (his grandparents had a wood oven, and put him to work kneading dough) isn't only a great cook, he's also come up with a great idea. 'In Italy they value their tradition above all,' he says. 'They don't like anything that is not one hundred percent Italian. And it occurred to me: why not make pizzas using all Catalan products?'
So he created a short and to-the-point menu where the recipes are an Iberian and Catalan mirror of Italian classics, with excellent seasonal produce. One very popular example is the pizza with mortadella, mozzarella, Idiazábal cheese and pistachios. Or another with roasted pumpkin purée instead of tomato sauce, mozzarella, sweet potato, goat's cheese ricotta, and Iberian pork belly (which can be kept off for a veggie option). Panatieri is a radical believer and practitioner of using local products: he's even said that in the workshop upstairs they're going to start making his own mozzarella and sausages.
They already produce the herbs and sprouts themselves, and they also have their own garden. Panatieri wants Garden Pizza to become the first self-sufficient pizza place in Gràcia, as he believes chefs must be responsible when it comes to the world they live in. Rocambolesc ice creams, out-of-this-galaxy tiramisu (you notice the taste of fresh coffee in the home-made sponge!) and a timetable that's open for both lunch and dinner had us falling in love at first pizza.