Sunday, 8 July 2007

Restaurants in Vilanova: Peixerot – living up to its name

Some restaurants are emblematic of their towns. El Peixerot has a strong, solid reputation and many regular guest who are prepared to come here all the way from Barcelona. Just imagine if Vilanova as a town would have the same attraction.

Among the connaisseurs of the Barcelona restaurant market whom I have met, nobody has failed to mention Peixerot (address: Passeig Marítim, 56; phone: 93 815 06 25), when I have told them that I live in Vilanova i la Geltrú. This restaurant, specialized in fish, has existed since the year 1918 and, by far, exceeds the quality levels which we are used to find elsewhere in this town. What better occasion could I possibly have to take my wife here than our 5th wedding anniversary. True, she would have preferred a surprise journey around the world in a hot air balloon, but after all these years together she has got used to my boring predictability.

Now in the summer, Peixerot offers the possibility to eat outdoors at tables overlooking the marina. Personally, however, I think that it is indoors where this establishment come into its rights. The first thing that a visitor meets when entering into the restaurant is big display of fresh fish on ice. Tables dressed in starched linen and shining white textile napkins with the Peixerot logotype embroidered on them, add to the expectations about the meal to come.

When seated at your table, on the one side you will be able to observe people passing by on the Rambla outisde, but with a nice feeling of privacy since the lower part of the windows has been frosted. On the other side of the room, you will find original paintings of Vilanova artist Martí Torrents (1887-1977), who, apparently, in his days used to be a Peixerot regular. I really liked the artist’s style, and except for that I must admit being childishly fond of art lit up through spotlights, so I would have loved to walk around and have a closer look at them. Since I did not feel confortable to do so when there were other guests sitting eating right below, I would be very happy if Peixerot would one day develop a web-page with a full presentation of the works.

I cannot say that the waitors of Peixerot felt especially warm or personal, but they are just as professional and attentive as you would expect in a place of this category. It is a special idea to hand your guests a menu card printed for the day, but for the touch and print quality I must admit that I would have preferred a more classic one. The selection of food turned out to be more extensive and varied than we had expected and we were surprised to find out that there were starters for € 11 and main courses around € 20, prices which must be considered as moderate in the Spanish world of fine dining.

Since we were celebrating our special day, we decided to splurge out a bit more than that and had the Peixerot house sallad and steamed mussels for starters, upon which monkfish followed for my wife while I tried the arroz marinera con bogavante. The food was excellent, but I must admit that to me it is the total dining experience which makes this place stand out. If the perspective is limited to food quality and preparation, then I dare to say that there are a number of other Vilanova restaurants which can give them a match. To enhance the unique strength of Peixerot – the stylish, spacious atmosphere - I think that the management of the place should consider adding music. To me, the image would grow further with a background of classic music, albeit recorded.

Peixerot happens to have a branch in the city of Barcelona as well (address: C/ Tarragona, 177). That clearly cannot compare with its prime location here in Vilanova – where the Rambla meets the Passeig Marítim. And remember that the fresh fish comes from here. Visca Vilanova!

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