L. E. Daily Tips: Casa Mari y Rufo

This hole-in-the-wall, family-run restaurant simply can't be missed on any trip to Barcelona!

I was in Barcelona a few years ago with a friend as part of my first visit to Spain. A local recommended a spot for dinner that evening and our hotel made the necessary reservation. However, as we headed to dinner, we passed a small place that grabbed our attention. To say it was a hole-in-the-wall would be no exaggeration. But, the place had a certain appeal, so we decided we would stop in and grab some appetizers before we continued on to our reservation.

We sat at the bar and quickly determined that Mari and Rufo were married and ran the place. Their son worked there as well. Listening to them argue in Spanish made me feel as if I was sitting in the middle of a Spanish version of "All in the Family" (a show from the 1970s for my younger readers). Clearly, a family-run restaurant. 

They had a variety of seafood, all of which was caught in the Mediterranean Sea that day. We decided to try the octopus, calamari, and a small piece of fish. The calamari was the BEST I've ever had in my life. The food was so good, we completely blew off our reservation and asked Mari and Rufo to keep the food coming. As time went by, we were surrounding by Spanish speaking locals... always a good sign when you are looking for good and affordable food. 

As we said our goodbye's, she told us that she made the best paella in the world and invited us back the next night to try it. Sure enough, we went back and she was spot on... delicious! If you want to try it, make sure you call in advance as Mari cooks it for 4 hours.

I've been back on several occasions including twice last year and the food was still fantastic! And, I was still surrounded by locals. By the way, Mari and Rufo have run this place for more than 35 years.

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 The front of the house, the view from the street.

The front of the house, the view from the street.