The Rustic Magic of Barcelona’s Hotel Neri
Deep in the maze of Barcelona’s Gothic quarter sits Hotel Neri, the first 5 star 22-room boutique hotel that opened its doors in 2003. While the luxury of this hotel may be concealed from the exterior, it holds the key to one of the most esteemed culinary escapes in the city!
Nestled in the back of the ground floor between two Medieval arched walls that lend to an intimate and romantic setting is Neri Restaurant. This hidden gem of a restaurant invites travelers and locals to explore the aromatic notes of Catalan. With simple yet elegant décor, the restaurant’s intention is not to wow guests with ambiance but to draw attention to its gastronomy.
Led by Executive Chef Lucia, Neri Restaurant bridges the gap between traditional 12th century ingredients and modern 21st century flavors, creating a sophisticated spin on rustic dishes. MiLLENNiAL was invited to taste the menu, complete with wine and cava pairings, and enjoy a 7-course sensory experience that truly represented the spirit of Catalonia.
In proper Catalan fashion, we started our meal with a glass of cava, accompanied with a wonderful Spanish sausage served on a wooden cutting board alongside a fresh Spanish baguette. Cured to perfection, this sausage was locally made from a remote shop outside of Barcelona that exclusively sells their products to Neri Restaurant. A real treat to begin our culinary exploration, each bite was light and sweet yet hinted at savory depth.
Next was a creative spin on a classic salad. Chef Lucia prepared warm buttered lobster with cold orange slices on a bed of fresh spring greens. The orange brought out bold flavors in the lobster complimented by the leafy greens. Continuing the edible journey, a crispy green pea with fried pork belly in gravy au jus offered a nice bite with simple and rustic ingredients to create a homey yet delicious dish.
Soon a native Catalan white wine with a touch of Riesling was poured preparing our pallets for the fish dish. Out came the Seabass in celery purée and light gravy. Navigating our senses to prepare for the meat dish, a smooth yet smokey red wine, again native to the region, was served.
Then, a beautifully tasteful braised pulled pork with potato purée and gravy with light citrus was placed in front of us. One bite was all it took to uncover the star of this show- a deep savory and juicy pulled pork. You know its good when each bite became increasingly more addicting.
Rounding out the meal, a passion fruit sorbet was used as a pallet cleanser for the final dish – a special dessert. Called a Crepe Suzette, the plate was specifically designed with a small hole in the center, acting as the pocket for lightly syrupt’d custard inside an open crepe. The added bonus, we had to fold the crepe ourselves and then slice it open, allowing the custard and syrup to spill out. Think Spanish flan meets French crepe.
While the meal was impressive in itself, the hotel staff made the experience inviting. From the young maître de that catered to our every need and presented each dish with precision to the female-run kitchen and hotel administration, Hotel Neri is a top notch relaxed and dignified place to stay for any millennial traveler looking to get the most out of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
To learn more about Neri Restaurant or to book a stay with Hotel Neri, visit HotelNeri.com.