On our first night in Barcelona we ventured into Qu Qu, a colorful tapas restaurant located on the emblematic Passeig de Gràssia in the city's bustling and upscale Eixample District. Short for Quasi Queviures which in Catalan means "almost provisions" - part of the concept is reminiscent of the typical grocery stores that existed at the turn of the century, where dishes and fresh products (meats, cheese and more) for sale are displayed behind a glass counter. The other half remains a visually captivating, bright and cheerful restaurant and bar serving standard Catalan and Spanish fare at a reasonable price. A retro globe chandelier with phrases painted in bold primary colors and an artisan wine bottle statue command attention as you enter the bar, which is backed by a grand multi-tiered shelf of red wine bottles in repetition. A traditional Catalan tile floor underfoot changes to hardwood as you enter the comfy dining room, defined by clean white surfaces, maroon banquettes and a striking wraparound vintage poster collage. In addition - vintage barware stands proudly on display, sparkling in glass lined and encased shelving along the back wall. The huge space was fairly empty, so I had a field day photographing the decor I was so enamored by. A few tables here and there saw other patrons, most of whom looked like tourists. The patio and bar were bustling, though. The quintessential Pa amb tomàquet which is bread smeared with tomato, olive oil and garlic to begin the meal was a must.I had this entire plate of bread all to myself; no matter how many times Adam tries tomato (nearly impossible to avoid in Spain) he just can't seem to enjoy them. I relished the juicy vine ripened fruits as much as possible. Spreading them onto crusty bread is so simple, so ironically Catalan, and oh so good. I also got my tomato fix with some Gazpacho. Smooth and velvety, perfectly seasoned, this bowl of cold soup dotted with mini croutons hit the spot. We also enjoyed an order of Chopitos, thick flat strands of baby squid lightly battered and fried were crispy and chewy, just excellent.
The Patatas amb queso y chorizo were also a solid choice. We had a few other tapas, but none were particularly standout. The salmon nor the avocado over a bite of crusty bread were all that fresh and I didn't care for the crab (although Adam liked it.) The menu is fairly large, and hit or miss, it seems. Dessert was a hit, another Crema Catalan for me! That rich custard base flavored with lemon zest and cinnamon, topped with a layer of caramelized sugar can positively do no wrong. I'm officially suffering from a serious case of food nostalgia. This country's beloved collection of small plates makes me so, so very happy. And we still have two more days of Barcelona cuisine week to go!