When my parents came to visit me in Barcelona I wanted to take them to a really nice restaurant. My Spanish professor at the time was a local and I had asked him where I could get his favorite paella in the city.
“7 Portes,” he told me.
I made a reservation online and it was an easy process. I got an email verifying my time, and even when I had to change the time, it was easy to do and they were flexible. It was easy to find down by the port, just a short walk away from Barceloneta off the yellow line (Passeig Isabel II). Knowing the sea was just behind the restaurant gave the impression the fish was going to be fresh.
The service was outstanding. It was almost too much, having the waiter always by your side and having them serve the food to you. We ordered the “Rich Man’s” paella, claiming to be “invented especially for the wealthy but lazy gourmet.” The paella dish came out and was placed on what looked similar to a pizza tray.
Instead of grabbing a spoon and scooping a pile on your plate, the waiter asks for your plate and serves you over the paella. Then, you wait until everyone has been served. Although it was fancier than I’m used to, with the waiters and hostesses wearing white coats and ties, referring to everyone as sir or ma’am, the atmosphere was still friendly and approachable. Etiquette did not have to be completely proper, though it would be nice to have some knowledge.
The paella we ordered was also outstanding. The rice was hearty and filled with a wide assortment of meats and shellfish. But what made the “Rich Man’s” version so glamorous was that the shellfish were already de-shelled.
You could just dig right in.
A really neat touch was seeing how history was a part of the restaurant. It’s been around since 1853, and with your receipt, they add a note about what famous person was known to have dined at your table. My parents and I were sitting at the table of surrealist artist Joan Miró.
Dining at 7 Portes shouldn’t be something done every night of the week, being expensive, but it makes a great place for special occasions and good memories.