Pepe Carvalho is a famous fictional detective that was born from the pen of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. This detective not only brought fame to his author but also to the many small areas that where his usual haunts in the books. If we want to follow his steps, why not starting the route in the Ramblas, this long avenue with its many shops, kiosks, cafés and bars.
Going down the barrio de la Barceloneta we will find many fantastic fish restaurants that are commonly known as “merenderos”, this means the place where one eats “merienda”, the traditional evening meal, the Spanish version of the British high-tea at 5-6 pm. Of course merienda is not just tea and biscuits but some more hearty local delicacies. However, merenderos nowadays are open most of the day and serve all types of meals, the name did stick though. Some of the establishments we find in the area nowadays opened as simple cafés and have evolved into fully fleshed restaurants with tablecloths and menus priced accordingly.
Rice is a special dish in this area of Spain, and if you want to try good traditional dishes, you should pay a visit to Can Majó or Casa Solé.
If you are of adventurous nature and like surprises and trying new things, try Casa Leopoldo and before you order say: “Vengo de parte de Pepe Carvalho y póngame lo que usted quiera.” (Pepe Carvalho sent me, serve me whatever you want). This establishment in the heart of la Barceloneta in the Barrio Chino or China Town is one of the usual haunts of Pepe Carvalho in his books.