Noemí and her mother, Mamma Pia, natives of Turin, Italy, have dropped anchor in the Eixample with their Pescadea Fresh Fish Panini, a place that stands up to the over-exploited carnivorous hamburger market in Barcelona. Their weapons are impressive: fresh fish from nearby Vilanova, local ingredients and Italian specialities, artisan bread made by Albert Iglesias – freshly made every day, and there's a gluten-free option – and fun recipes that show that fish is fab as a fundamental part of a sandwich.
The place is informal and has a clear anti-plastic philosophy: 'When you work with fish, it's practically obligatory,' says Noemí. You'll see it in the cutlery and crockery – made with cardboard and wood – and the canned water by Ocean 52, which allocates 52 percent of its profits to projects that protect the seas and oceans.
Now to get to your meal. Among the starters are tuna and salmon tartare and octopus carpaccio; three salads (one from the south, with rice, marinated tuna, tomato, avocado and cucumber; one from the north, with black rice, marinated salmon, cucumber, avocado, mango, carrot, sesame and chives; and one from the midlands, with fresh lettuce, crunchy prawns, pineapple, marinated courgette, grilled tomato, peas, turmeric and ginger mayonnaise); and fried appetizers. The starter with mixed fried appetizers is the star, with home-made crisps, prawns, squid and anchovies accompanied by house sauce. It's a delicious dish that's not at all oily and which gives the panini a run for their money.
On the menu you'll find eight 'turtle sandwiches' – so called for the shape of this bread that's very popular in Italy – inspired by different Italian areas, and each recipe incorporates at least one ingredient from that area. For example, the Palermo has aubergine caponata, typical of the city; in the Cremona they put gorgonzola cheese sauce; and the Pompeii features ricotta. 'No one knows who invented ricotta, but the first fresco was found in Pompeii that records the consumption of ricotta in that area,' explains Noemí.
How boring the famouse Madrid fried-squid sandwich seems now that we can eat one with grilled sea bass that melts in your mouth, another with fresh tuna tartare, one with octopus or one with fried anchovies with sun-dried tomato pesto.
If you still have room, you can finish the meal with one of their three desserts: a home-made tiramisu that follows an authentic Italian recipe, a matcha tea cheesecake, or a passion fruit mousse.