La Panxa del Bisbe Bacalao con garbanzos

La Panxa del Bisbe: where Catalan cooking meets creativity

by Carlos Vicente, 02/01/2016

La Panxa del Bisbe is one Gràcia’s classic restaurants, and at the same time one of the least well know. Its location a couple of minutes outside of the heart of the area (Torrent de les Flors, 158) means it receives less traffic. As such, it attracts a more selective type of clientele. Above all, you’ll find local foodies who are desparately trying to stop word from getting out in case the quality of creativity of the place suffer.

La Panxa del Bisbe’s well-deserved fame meant they grew out of their old residence on calle Rabassa 37 (where little sister La Panxulina is now located), to move out to a bigger, more comfortable location in November 2014. Their new digs include an attractive outdoor terrace, perfect for those heady summer nights.

la-panxa-del-bisbe-burrata-with-tomato-and-aubergine

Burrata with tomato and aubergine

La Panxa del Bisbe offers a range of local Catalan cooking with a few touches of fusion, based on a recipe of elaborate, exquisite gourmet dishes. Ingredients used are fresh and good quality and spices and sides are well chosen, adding up to a melt-in-the-mouth mixture of flavours and textures.

Innovative local cooking at La Panxa del Bisbe

The menu offers small portions of dishes that I’d recommend sharing, tasting, enjoying and talking about, and overall a highly interesting culinary experience. Personally, I value the imagination that goes into the dishes and the wide range of choice on offer. I’m sure meticulous hours of work go into each dish. The result is as eye-catching as it is tastebud-tingling. There’s also a short but sweet wine list available.

la-panxa-del-bisbe-mushroom-rice-with-vegetables-and-butifarra-sausage

Mushroom rice with vegetables and butifarra sausage

We had the pleasure of trying six different tapas: burrata with tomato and aubergine; mushroom carpaccio with lemon, parmesan and pine nuts; cod with chickpeas and tripe; mushroom rice with vegetables and butifarra sausage; seafood cannelloni with prawns and lamb shoulder with aubergine, feta and rocket. All this was absoultely excellent quality. A confession: I missed the chance to try the croquettes and top surloin cap, which I’d heard good things about. Maybe next time…

The food is exquisite and completely original. The only downside I can see is that the portions are a little on the small side for the price you pay. For four people, we paid around €25 per head for the 6 portions we shared and a bottle of wine, and while we didn’t leave hungry, we weren’t especially full either.

In terms of how many dishes you should order, a friend of mine once confessed that his formula is the following: multiply the number of people going by 2.5 and the result will be the number of tapas you need to leave satisfied. That said, if you’re still hungry, there’s plenty of appealing desserts on offer to round off the meal.

la-panxa-del-bisbe-lamb-shoulder-with-aubergine-feta-and-rocket

Lamb shoulder with aubergine, feta and rocket

If you’re going with a group, La Panxa del Bisbe offers the possibility of two set menus: the “Pica-Pica” menu, with six tapas, a dessert and water for €27/person, and the “Variadillu” menu, with six tapas, two desserts and water for €35/person.

Personally, I’d recommend La Panxa del Bisbe for a special occasion, when you fancy splashing out and are in the right mindset to appreciate the creativity of the food and value the culinary experience.

In any case, booking is a must for La Panxa del Bisbe, because it’s difficult to find somewhere if you just turn up and it seems as though dinner is served in two turns: at 9pm and 11pm, which is important to bear in mind.

So if your favourite area is Gràcia, La Panxa del Bisbe is an interesting choice if you fancy weird and wonderful dishes and unusual flavours and textures, as well as sophisticated presentation. Would I go back? Never say never…

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