restaurant 7 portes in "la vanguardia" neswpaper

El diari barceloní ha dedicat una sèrie de 7 articles al restaurant . Pel seu interès en el seu conjunt els reproduïm aquí: El periódico barcelonés ha dedicado una serie de 7 artículos al restaurante Por su interés en su conjunto los reproducimos aquí: La Vanguardia 7 Portes La Vanguardia 7 Portes. The Barcelona newspaper has devoted a number 7 products to the restaurant . For your interest the whole is reproduced here: La Vanguardia 7 Portes

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The Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia has devoted a number 7 products to the restaurant 7 Portes. For your interest the whole is reproduced here.


Page 1: Restaurant 7 Portes in "La Vanguardia" neswpaper

El diari barceloní ha dedicat una sèrie

de 7 articles al restaurant .

Pel seu interès en el seu conjunt els reproduïm aquí:

El periódico barcelonés ha dedicado una serie

de 7 artículos al restaurante

Por su interés en su conjunto los reproducimos aquí:

La Vanguardia

7 Portes

La Vanguardia

7 Portes.

The Barcelona newspaper has devoted a

number 7 products to the restaurant .

For your interest the whole is reproduced here:

La Vanguardia

7 Portes

Page 2: Restaurant 7 Portes in "La Vanguardia" neswpaper



TASTE MEMORY Joaquim Roglan

Seven days and seven nights

TA couple celebrate theirgolden wedding anniversaryat what had once been thefavourite table of Picasso.

They have eaten the same dishes of theday that were promised and thereceptionist, Sandra Moreno, in thephoto which accompanies this article,brings them the bill. The total comes toless than two Euros, the equivalent ofwhat was paid a half a century ago. Thecouple is surprised and Sandra tellsthem that it is a gift on the house. Theyoung receptionist transmits feelings,speaks 7 languages and is in charge ofnew technologies and in her socialnetwork has hundreds of friends she hasmade through the restaurant. Themaestro pianist, Manuel Bareacaressess the piano keys and evokeswhat the song says that he plays everynight for the past thirty years. “ Itdoesn't matter what the future holds. Astime passes, the moonlight andlovesongs never go out ofstyle.”Neither does the number 7 goout of style, which has beenpresent since classic Greece,the Bible and in the Kabala,in Masonry and in the lottery.Mithical like the Set Portes, theplace since 1836 in the most neo-classic and romantic square in the entirecity without the gentrified Rambla northe first train on the Iberian penninsula.Below the porches of Josep Xifré, themost richest man in Barcelona at thattime. It is said that he was a mason, likehis decorators and like Josep Cuyàs who

innaugurated the Set Portes Café. It wasthe most luxurious, bourgeois andaristocratic café and served its desserts tothe Baroness of Turella who always askedfor a discount. It is not known whether ornot they were masons as it was forbidden,just as it was forbidden in 1831 in the cafésbecause it was considered to be “caverns

of vices”, of sin and political conspiracy.It is not known who named the place. If ithad been Xifré, Cuyàs or the columnistJoan Cortada, who signed his name asAben Abulema and was called a “Moro”without being one. Some say that therewere only three doors, others say five andothers, nine. What is certain is that one

enters and leaves through one door, thesame one that so many generations fromBarcelona as well as foreigners havecrossed. The large building was restored,but what has remained is the well, the winecellar below a classic Catalan arch , theroom where the present owner was born,the staircase where the chorus descendedbefore it was a restaurant and much of theart that remains on the walls.“Always under restoration”, concludesRafael Santos, the director. Just likeBarcelona, always under construction,always in figures. “More than 500 peopledine here every day, 100,000 rice dishesper year...” Purchasing Manager, ManuelMartí confirms this. “We've beenpurchasing from the same bakery for thepast 60 years, the meat and fish from theBoquería market from the very beginning,the shrimp from Palamós, the wine issupplied by Quim Vila, who, as ayoungster would bring us fresh vegetableson a trolly. Open every day of the year, at1:00 pm the service team carry out theritual of organizing the dining room. “Thewaiters have changed with time, but theirprofile remains the same.”The pianist repeats As Time Goes By.Just as the era has passed in which CarmeParellada, lady and the soul of therestaurant gave storybooks by Calleja toher clients as gifts that the grandchildrenof her clients kept. This Saturday theseven days and seven nights at Set Portes,with its thousand and one myths andstories. Seven crullers just like UncleNelo made back in 1836 to make the waita little sweeter.

175 years of history is celebrated. The restaurantSet Portes was and continues to be in all sensesa reference point of the city of Barcelona

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TASTE MEMORY Joaquim Roglan

Seven muses at the tables

more than the bill for the meal. JosepMaria Revés has been working in theSet Portes for almost half a century. In1839 the first photo in Spain was takenthere. He handled the digital screen andmemorized the prices of the 40 differentdishes on the menu: “ I've been heresince the times when we used carbonpaper.” He started at the front counterpreparing the charcuterie and called theclients when they were telephoned.“The Set Portes was already a high levelrestaurant with rich people that beganwith an appetizer at lunchtime and madea long after lunch conversation until lateafternoon. “Much earlier than being a high levelrestaurant it was a café theatre and thevedettes from that time still can befound in the posters that arehanging on the walls of therestaurant. At that time, themanager was Joan Biscampst h a t m a n u f a c t u r e dcharcuterie and used to sell itas “del icacies” to hisneighbors that lived in palaces.Following the inauguration of theBarcelona-Mataró train station andLa Llotja of Fine Arts, the Café de LaLlotja became the perifery of theexposition of 1888, with the CiutadellaPark as its epicenter. It was nearby thebullring of the Barceloneta where thefirst hot air balloon was seen inBarcelona.

The City of Marvels kept growing andfinancially booming. The rich peoplemade the Rambla in fashion, El Liceu,they had a lover in Paris and they moved tothe new majestuous Ensanche district andto the new international hotels withFrench chefs. The Set Portes becamemore popular and allowed billards,

gambling, flamenco dancing, but suffereda certain decline.Its rebirth took place thanks to the GreatWar of 1914, the exposition of 1929 andthe construction of the França train station.Bartomeu Mas bought the old café andrestored it to the taste of the military, spies,businessmen, land owners, artists and

freight forwarders that came to live nearthe port. Mas started serving them whitebeans with sausage, tomato bread, prawns,and drinks such as zuavo. Fed up withFrench cuisine, the Catalans returned totheir own cuisine and began to devourwhite beans. To this day they are stillpresent on the menu at Set Portes and thereare people who still order them almosthiding in their reserved dining roomswhere so many secrets are kept.As the accountant tells us, the Fall of theHuman Empire began with the rushes thatwhen the time to sit at the table at middaywas finished. “Coffee, a drink and a cigar?This was with the literary gatherings ofJosep Maria de Segarra and otherintellectuals. Now you can not smoke nordrink if you have to return to work aftereating.” He remembers these longgatherings with Joan Miró and FredericMompou “ dear elders that dined here andstill few knew them nor recognized them.”Poets, musicians, writers, actors, artists,ballerinas...All the muses have inspiredsomething in The Set Portes that no oneknows how many doors the restaurantactually had. Like the muses that we stilldiscuss if there are three, nine, or seven. “With respect to the literary gatherings wecould easily write an entire book”, saysthe accountant. In the meantime, themaster Barea plays on the piano the SieteMares Azules of the Acuarela fromToquinho. As it was read in old storybooks and comic books that todays ownerof the restaurant collects - the story willcontinue.

The private dining rooms at the Set Portes holdbig secrets and allow one to enjoy the food in arelaxed atomosphere like the green or pink room.


From an accountant – musiclover that made a moviecalled the “Fall of the HumanEmpire”, you expect much

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TASTE MEMORY Joaquim Roglan

Sitting on after a meal with taste and art

Companys, Josep Tarradellas, and thesindicalist Angel Pestaña frequented therestaurant. We must not leave outFrederico Garcia Lorca, Dalí andMargarita Xirgu. The restaurant wasalready famous as a place to shareconversation, but Josep Pla and JosepMaria de Segarra transformed it into aliterary myth. During the civil war it wassocialized and transformed into a publicdining room served by sindicalists.Later on,Alexander Fleming, Eva Perón,Rothchild the millionaire, Manolete thebullfighter, Monsieur Citroen andpersonalities from the “nuevo regimen”dined there. The power was changed,but not the food, since all tried the samedishes as Catalans such as pig's feetgratin, that in Catalonia are still calledMinister's feet.In 1942 Paco Parellada becamethe manager of Set Portes.Member of a long line ofrestauranteurs , he learnedwhile he worked in thepopular Fonda Europa inG r a n o l l e r s a n d t h esophisticated Maison Dorée inBarcelona. With his fine ability inpublic relations he managed to relate tolivestock dealers, politicians andintellectuals. A legendary man, peopleused to say that they paid not only for thefood, but also for his conversation. SetPortes became a large dining hall topractice the art of conversation. Parts of

its legacy are fifteen fixed conversationmeetings and many more improvised . Therenowned magazine, Destino, held itsmeetings there, hosted by Josep Maria deSegarra, Nestor Luján, Ignacio Augusti,Vicente Aleixandre and other writers.But, what deserves to give special mentionto were the meetings held by those eight

medical doctors who frequented therestaurant every Friday . They eventuallydied one after the other until there was onlyone left and every Friday he would comealone to the same table and ordered thesame dishes. He continued maintain thistradition until he followed the same steps ashis colleagues.

The oldest members of these gatherings arethe traders at La Llotja and the StockBrokers from the Stock Market, whose richbuilding is known as ” the one in front ofSet Portes”. There, the well known PereLlauradó, “since we were young andqueued next to the telephone to find out thefluctuation of prices in Chicago. He speakswith the younger ones of today using theirmobile phones waiting for news fromChicago. Among them, Rosa Grau, firstand sole lady, member of the Llotjamanagers since the 17th century. “ When Ibegan, we were very few. It was hard. Wehad to earn self-respect. Until I became amember of the literary gathering.” Stillthere were members from La Llotja and theStock Market from all over Spain. “ EveryTuesday at this table we did big businessand moved big fortunes,” said Llauradó.And continues: “With the newtechnologies we are losing face to facecontact which was very important to dobusiness.”Fixed gatherings are held by The ForumTechnologic, Chamber of Commerce, Unióde Pagesos, Mercat Carnic, IngenierosAgrónomos, Barça, Humorists from themagazine, El Jueves and other selectpersonalities. Some met Just Blanquer, theman in the photo that illustrates this page.He was a poet and waiter that transformedevery menu into a poem. He was soinfluential that he managed to get the traintimetable changed for the Renfe gatherersso that they could return to Mataró.Everyone ordered and today still continueto order Paella Parellada with its incrediblehistory which will be covered in nextSaturday's issue..

Just Blanquer, who appears in the photo, was botha waiter and poet and made verses of the menusof this restaurant which were the highlight ofhigh-level literary gatherings.

During the Second Republic,the Set Portes was left nearthe parliament and at itstables Francesc Macià, Lluis


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TASTE MEMORY Joaquim Roglan


TASTE MEMORY Joaquim Roglan

restaurant had never had the objective toobtain Michelin stars, it continues to beloyal to traditional Catalan cuisine. Therestaurant has never given in to some ofthe strange fashion of gastronomy such asvichysoisse or shrimp cocktail whichinnundates other restaurants and thendisappears without anyone knowing why.APaella, for example, that many considera dish mainly for tourists and the not sosophisticated, now change it for risotto.These things do not occur at the SetPortes. Since the last century millions ofParelllada paellas have been served. Thedefinition is “ a rice dish not containingany bones from the fish nor meat ”with allits necessary bits and pieces of fish ormeat, that must be carefully peeled,cleaned and cut, making it a gastronomicpleasure for the client to enjoy.The name of this type of rice dishis one of a capricious dandy, setin his comfortable ways, andwhat the Set Portes made toorder for this type of palate,just for him and he wouldalways give his surname tosimplify the order. Since that time,the clients continue to order in this wayand it has become in fashion in Cataloniaand in many places to call it “the rice ofThe Set Portes”. They forgot that thechef, Josep Lladonosa, wrote a bookcontaining 90 varieties of rice dishes thatnowadays the clients can still order from.Carlos Ruiz has taken over the task as

chef as the famous Lladonosa is nowretired. “I dislike being in the limelight ofthe media, I prefer anonymity”, he claims.With a team of 45 kitchen staff under hiswing, he is not interested in theory.“Catalan cuisine during all our lives withoutconcessions to a modern style”, hesynthesizes. He coordinates some 400

paellas per day, all dishes are a la carte aswell as seasonal menus. However, hishistorical mission is to achieve that therestaurant never takes on the look of anindustrial dining room, that each dish is at itsexact cooking time, at the exact moment andthat the client feels well looked after.“Everything is very calculated and we have 8

burners on the stove only for paellas alonewhich allow us to prepare 20 at a time. Ourpaella chefs cook nothing else.”A kitchen that is so busy can cause absolutechaos, but there, organization and silencedominate. “Good food requires calm”. Onecan only hear the waiters chant their ordersfrom each table, “and a strange phenomenonoccurs: each chef only hears his own orders,as if our head were a computer that selectsthe messages”, says Ruiz, while he isalready thinking about the autumn menus.Another brand name of the house is thePijama. Auguste Escoffier from the HotelSavoy in London created this dessert inhonor of the opera singer, Nellie Melba. It iscalled Peche Melba in French and PeachMelba in English. However, when theofficials of the 6th Float disembarked inBarcelona and discovered The Set Portes,Paco Parellada translated it as Pijama andadded whipped cream, flan and vanilla icecream, peach in syrup and powdered sugar.It was a huge hit throughout Spain and wasthe deluxe dessert for the middle class thatemerged from rationing.Knowing Catalans, that by nature, have asweet tooth, the Set Portes was also the onlyrestaurant that served ice cream in winter.For this reason, the ice cream producer,Frigo, gave shares as a gift to the owners ofthe business until a multinational bought outFrigo. And now due to asthetics and fordietetic purposes, it has alsmost disappearedfrom the menus of restaurants. The“pijama” still resists there where its namewas given, the most appropriate for sweetdreams and digestion. For this reason themaster Barea carresses the piano keys andwith the song Nights in White Satin.

The Set Portes had been inexistence for 63 years when inthe year 1900 the MichelinGuide was created. Since the

The Paella Parellada, made by the chefCarlos Ruiz in its most traditional way, owes itsname to a capricious dandy who would alwaysorder this dish at the Set Portes.

Naked Paella and a Pijama

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TASTE MEMORY Joaquim Roglan

Ladies, Gentlemen and tourists

In the year 1844 a reporter wrote:“We recommend, especially toforeign visitors, the luxurious SetPortes. The cleanliness and

everything that surrounds it, a landmark ofthe city. More than its food, I enjoy theambience and the atmosphere. Realp isone of those young, driven, over-achievers that wants to face up to a newchallenge: “ Maintain a tradition whilstworking, make the client feel at home andyou only can do that when the waiter is not

only the transporter of a dish ”. He got thefirst lesson by a veteran accountant, Josep

very much of those in the Liceu. Deepdown, things are the same, although itseems they've changed. “ From the timeof the Olympic Games of 1992, so manytourists visited which caught usunprepared,” they admit. Groups wouldcome, we began to have waiting lists,rushes, and, for a Catalan, not to be able tofind a table in his normal restaurant issomething that he will never forgive, as itaffects both their stomach and theirfeelings.The answer of the owners of the Set Porteshas been to accentuate its symbols ofidentity. “To avoid waiting lines, werecuperated some of the porches where weused to serve dinner until they were closedin the 70's due to the crisis, the traffic andsocial problems”.At the moment, there are tables forsmokers and something grand is beingprepared for the Mercè festivities. Also,they have highlighted what the clients andwaiters mention constantly: Moreseasonal menus and more traditions likethe Catalan “Easter cake”, Custard Creamfor Sant Josep and the Special CatalanChristmas soup.” The Golden book andthe Art collection has been left to be seenand will be discussed in next Saturday'sissue.

The head maitre, Javier Requena, checks the stateof a wine in the cellar of the Set Portes, a restaurant that with the years, accentuates its identity.

superb service are a guarantee worthmentioning.” The keeper of thistradition is Javier Requena, who 26years ago began as an assistant waiterand later became dining room manager.“To direct 45 waiters requires lots ofskills and diplomacy with the client andthe service, but it is fun because youdeal with all kinds of people.” Likewhen the comedian Jerry Lewis dinedthere, he saw a boy who was drawing ona table napkin and the actor wanted tobuy the napkin . Or when LaurenBacall entered into the room: “ she issuch a beautiful and elegant lady whoprovoked complete silence in theroom.” The master Barea performed thebrillant tune, To have and not to have.Too young to remember: “you don'thave to represent any role with me,Steve, you don't have to say ordo anything with me. Onlywhistle. Do you know howto whistle? Put your lipstogether and blow”.Luis Realp is the other diningroom manager and has beenworking for a short time. “Iworked in many good restaurants andeven had my own. But when I got a callfrom Set Portes, it was like getting a callfrom Barça”. Mr. Realp has a degree inlaw and paid for his studies working asrestaurant manager. He liked it andlater on forgot about his law degree.“Set Portes is not only a restaurant, it is


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TASTE MEMORY Joaquim Roglan


The book of the seven symphonies

In the year 1985, the King JuanCarlos and Queen Sofia wrote: “How strange life can be”! Havingvisited Barcelona more than 30

Rivaldo, and of books with Ana MariaMatute and José Saramago.Many preferred to draw rather that writeand the book is like an art gallery illustratedby Julio Caro Baroja, Charlton Heston,Yoko Ono, Garcia Márquez, Mingote,Rafael Alberti, Rebollo, Marisol, Gila andFelipe de Borbón. Together with them,

Ràfols Casamada, Maria Girona, Miró,Antonio Saura, Tàpies, Xavier Cugat,

of Catalonia that Elisabet, the great-granddaughter of Paco Parellada, catalogsand exhibits in the dining rooms. “We willmove them and restore them withoutanyone realizing it”, she promises.A principle part of the restaurant is themaestro pianist Manuel Barea. Aseverything else in the house, he is morethan a pianist for the restaurant. He hasbeen recognized and congratulated byFrederic Mompou, Lou Reed, PlácidoDomingo and Anthony Burgess, whocomposed

. Who is maestro Barea? Heplayed for 25 years in the Orchestra of theCity of Barcelona, directed the SimphonicBand of Badalona and is professor of theConservatory of Music of Badalona and theEscolania of Montserrat. It can not beexpressed any clearer: he is a classic.“With all the work I have, The Set Portesrelaxes me because I go unnoticed, Icapture the atmosphere and play each songat the appropriate moment”, he confesses.For this reason, he has over 500 scores .“Boleros that never fail and music from allthe countries of the tourists”. From

. And fromLa Cumparasita to Yesterday. Anything bySinatra, maestro? ,but . So very classic andsentimental just like The Set Portes.”

Siete Melodies para el SietePuertas

Paraules d'Amor to Love Story

Strangers In The NightMy Way

The pianist Manuel Barea, a principle part of therestaurant, entertains the diners with more than500 different scores of all styles.

times and never having dined at the SetPortes seems like something unheard of,but the error has been by far rectified.They signed the Golden book of therestaurant that a year earlier Juan deBorbón, Count of Barcelona visited therestaurant and that in 1844 Queen MariaChristina was served. The bookcontains so many famous autographsthat the Pianist Barea plays the song

.Imagine a list containing: Joan Collins,Antonio Banderas, Catherine DeneuveJerry Lewis, Paco Rabal, Harrison Ford,Lauren Bacall, Marcelo Mastroianni,Michael Douglas, Woody Allen, PedroAlmodóvar, Fernando Rey, JoséSacristan, Luis G. Berlanga, Margaux,Hemmingway, Robert de Niro...Orconcerts by Alfredo Kraus, JosepCarreras, Victoria de losÁngeles, Montserrat Caballé,Bebo Valdés, Gloria Estefán ,Lluis Llach, Lola and LolitaFlores... Or some laughterwith Charly Rivel, MarySantpere, Pajares, Cassen andEugenio. Or to see the state of theworld with Jordi Pujol, JosepTarradellas, Pasqual Maragall, AdolfoSuárez, Santiago Carillo, FrancescoCossiga, Jacques Delors, Javier Solana,Vicente Fox, Alberto de Mónaco andChe Guevara. Or visit the kitchen withArzak and Ruscalleda. Or converseabout football with Pelé, Schuster and


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TASTE MEMORY Joaquim Roglan


The theory of hospitality

With its 175 years of history,the Set Portes has to be theonly resturant whoseowner is a university

friends had pictures of Che Guevarra intheir room and me, a photo of Pla”.Before becoming a legend of the past,Che Guevarra visited Set Portes and wasserved by Francesc. “ He came dressed inuniform, kept his turn, he called me“chico” and he ordered Paella Parellada”.The myth of all the cousins is grandfather

Paco. He used to say that if a restaurantgoes well, the sons would study, prosper

with dances and traditions. But, to thecountries found between these twoparallels from California until the sevencuisines of China, hospitality means thatyou take your guests to eat outside thehome whilst making them feel at home.”They keep this sacred flame burning andmention, “from the Set Portes one can writethe sociology of gastronomy, another ofeccentricity, and another of the everydaylife in Barcelona.” They know for sure thatthis restaurant “is a symbol of Catalanphilosophy that consists of doing thingswell, preserving what you own and passingit down to your children, updating it andincreasing it.” While updating it, the 175thanniversary is a reason to renew it withoutlosing its positive and nostalgic ambience,because as Lluis Llach sings: “Far, wemust go farther”.This is the last after dinner conversation ofthese 7 Saturdays at the Set Portes. There isno one left and the waiters are re-organizing everything for Sunday. A dayfor family groups. “We are now in areference of our country.” says theprofessor. Before the Sagrada Familia, theSet Portes was the first restaurant withrunning water and gas light. And themaestro Barea says goodbye to the readerswith the song, “Eternally” .

The porches cover the Set Portes, a symbol ofCatalan cuisine and above all a reference point forboth residents of Barcelona and visitors as well.

professor. He is Francesc Solé Parellada,born in one of the dining rooms of thisestablishment. His dynasty goes back to1771 when Fidel Parellada invented thewine served by the glass in a tavern for thecart transporters in the market ofGranollers. His sucessors innauguratedthe Fonda Europa, another symbol ofCatalan cuisine. And so on, until PacoParellalda came to the Set Portes.Francesc Solé mentions “This table wasmy desk and there I got my degrees inEconomics and Engineering”. As a boyhe helped his parents and as time went onhe eventually combined the restaurantwork with giving classes as a professor atthe Polytechnic University of Barcelona.He took his official exams and became afull professor of Engineering- theyoungest in Spain.I had to delegate runnning therestaurant because thescientific community wouldno t app rove tha t anacademic was a waiter. Onthe second floor was his familyhome. “My mother, CarmeParellada hosted all my cousins fromLa Seu de Urgell and Granollers and here7 cousins of mine used to live”. Onceagain seven.One of these is Ramón Parellada thatopened the restaurant, Señor Parellada, aclone of Fonda Europa. “I was theassistant and driver of Josep Pla. My