If you don’t like snails, if just the thought of their sliminess repulses you, the idea of them on your plate makes you queasy, then don’t read on.
If you do like snails – or let’s be posh and call them escargots – and you are in Barcelona, you can give the restaurant La Tomaquera a try. Apart from escargots, they also have a fantastic selection of grilled meats and seasonal vegetables.
La Tomaquera Commandments
I guess the owners of La Tomaquera are a bit eccentric. They have a set of strange rules, but the food is so good that to be honest I don’t think it stops anyone from going.
To begin with, they do not receive reservations by telephone, nor by anything else more advanced in technology. The only way to get a table is to turn up and hope for the best. If the restaurant is full, they’ll put you on the list for later on that evening. You get sent to the bar across the street so you can have a beer while waiting. Then they’ll go in there and shout your name when it is your turn. If any one single person is missing from your group, you won’t get a table either, nor will they put you on the list for later on.
What else? For “hot foods”, as in anything cooked, grilled,.. you can only order the first time you order. We accidentally found out about this rule once when in the middle of our meal we decided to order an extra butifarra sausage, and we were told no way. The owner even came down to personally complete the task of denying it to us in a grand manner.
They don’t accept credit cards either. But then neither do plenty of other restaurants and establishments in Barcelona.
I’m sure there are more rules. They do have their commandments listed on a sign on their front window.
If you do get a table, as soon as you open the door to walk in La Tomaquera, the first thing that hits you is a cloud of garlicky smell. Once you order, you are given a plate of boiled quail eggs to keep yourself distracted.
Their star dishes, escargots, are cooked in various ways. Our favourite versions are escargots in tomato sauce with pieces of morcilla (like a Spanish version of black pudding) and escargots in a dry herb and garlic sauce. I can’t decide which I like best out of the two. Maybe the herby garlicky version wins for me by a tiny fraction.
As I mentioned they do also have a selection of vegetables and meats, so really if you don’t like escargots, there is also plenty to eat. And everything is delicious.
La Tomaquera: Carrer Margarit, 58, 08004, Barcelona