You might think that a restaurant that does not have a menu and is hard to find, since it’s tucked away at the end of a narrow alleyway with no signage whatsoever, would not stand a chance of lasting very long. That might be true, unless the restaurant in question is Passadis del Pep. For over 30 years, chef Joan Manubens has been attracting diners with his cocina de mercado, or market cuisine, that features high quality, locally sourced ingredients that are prepared in a simple, traditional Mediterranean style.
Chef Joan launched his restaurant in 1979 with the help of his mother Pilar, an accomplished chef who previously ran the kitchen and taught her son how to cook. He named his restaurant in honor of his brother Pep, known for his highly regarded Cal Pep Restaurant, who encouraged his brother to open a restaurant rather than become a mechanic. I think we’re all thankful that chef Joan chose to pursue the career path that clearly is part of his family DNA.
As mentioned before, finding Passadis del Pep is a bit of a challenge, as there is no signage at all on the street to help you find this hidden gem. It is located just off the Pla de Palau, a small plaza located in the trendy El Born neighborhood. At No. 2 of the Pla de Palau you will find a non-descript apartment building with an ATM on the ground floor. Walk down the alley located to the right of the ATM and you will find Passadis del Pep.
Once you have found the restaurant your work is done, as now all that is left for you to do is sit back and enjoy the dining experience. The well trained staff will ensure that you feel at home and will guide you through the chef’s selections for the day. The meal will begin with a complimentary bottle of cava, Spanish sparkling wine, and since you don’t have to worry about ordering, plates of Iberian ham and Catalan bread rubbed with tomato will begin to appear. This will be followed by deliciously prepared plates of fresh seafood and shellfish, such as prawns, squid, clams, and sea snails. Other dishes include stewed chickpeas with cured ham and artichokes, and delicately prepared fish. Meat dishes are also offered, but there’s no question that the fish and seafood are the stars at Passadis del Pep.
Your waiter can help you find the right wine to accompany your meal, as they have an extensive wine list to choose from. At the end of the feast, a selection of liqueurs will be offered, and if you have room, there is also a choice of desserts.
The price of the meal will vary depending on the number of courses eaten, and the bill will likely come to €100 (US$135) or more per person. Most people agree that it’s worth every Euro to enjoy the unique dining experience at Passadis del Pep. For more information, click here.
For information on brother Pep’s restaurant, Cal Pep, click here.
Photo credit: Restaurante Passadis del Pep
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