I was in Gracia, hungry and in a hurry, when I stumbled across Piras Brasería (C/ Montseny 10, +34 93 218 26 05, closed Tuesdays). I’d just visited Barcelona’s best (and only) English-language second-hand bookshop, Hibernian Books just a few doors away on the same street and I was lured inside Piras by the smell of smoke and the promise of steak; I discovered something of an understated gem.
Rustic and basic, with brick and tile walls, exposed beams and a family-friendly atmosphere, Piras is dominated by an open charcoal grill at the back of the dining room. Here an Italian chef (all the staff here seem to be either Catalans who speak perfect Italian or Italians who speak perfect Catalan; I speak neither well enough to judge but my wife, who does, thought it was the latter) turns out very good entrecotes and filet steaks from Girona. I asked for blue entrecot steak (vuelta y vuelta) and that is exactly what I got — something that doesn’t always happen in Barcelona.
Top marks, especially at the price. The set menu del día is just €10.50 and includes a fine selection of meaty treats, like butifarra sausages and secreto (a shoulder cut) of ibérico pork, plus home-made Italian pasta dishes and mozzarella salads. The €15.80 menu offers a few more options, including the entrecot (with a small supplement). Both are outstanding value for money.
There’s nothing sophisticated here; Piras is an unpretentious family restaurant that does the simple things well, but if you’re in the mood for a no-frills Gracia grill at bargain prices then it’s a great option.