Wandering through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona at night is like being in the Orson Welles’ noir classic “The Third Man.” The occasional passersby will cross your path in narrow, winding alleyways, casting long shadows across Medieval walls. You start to ask yourself, “Is this okay? Am I safe?” And then you realize that these aren’t alleyways at all. These curving paths, riddled with graffiti and darkened archways, are actual streets. You aren’t lost, and you (most likely) aren’t about to be robbed by a band of gypsies. This is just how you get places here.
After a quick weave through this urban topography, we found ourselves slightly off the beaten tourist path at a place known for it’s tapas and paella - Sensi Bistro. The crowd here was younger and the prices far more reasonable than the overpriced fare to be found on Las Ramblas.
We nestled into the bar and ordered a small meal - salad, croquettes and seafood paella. Before this trip I didn’t realize that croquettes - crispy fried balls of usually mashed potatoes, cheese and meats - were so popular in Spain and Holland. The croquettes here were my favorite from this trip, apart from the cheap ones I found at Febo (more on that adventure later). The meat and goat cheese croquettes at Sensi Bistro were pillowy, silky smooth and nicely seasoned.
The rite of passage every tourist must go through during a visit to Spain is to feast on seafood paella. I’m not an expert on paella, but I can say that I enjoyed it very much. The seafood wasn’t overcooked and the rice was tender with a nice bite to it. And you can’t beat this presentation.
But honestly, does it matter? The food was great, but even if it wasn’t, all I had to do was look around me. Here I was in Spain, sitting in a relaxed restaurant located in a narrow gothic corridor, surrounded by beautiful Spanish people and European tourists, sipping wine at an unhurried pace. I’ve got nothing to complain about. In that moment, life was mellow and good.
If you’re ever in Barcelona, put Sensi Bistro on your list. This foodie recommends it.