Rice dishes and smart interior design combine at Maná 75º restaurant near the W Barcelona hotel in Barceloneta.
Review: Maná 75º restaurant, Barceloneta, Barcelona
Manà 75º isn’t somewhere you’re likely to find by chance. Here at the far end of Passeig de Joan de Borbó, away from the beach, there are usually few pedestrians. The only traffic is taxis and buses arriving at the nearby W Barcelona hotel. That’s starting to change, however. The celebrity-backed Blue Spot restaurant is next door and there are plans to build a vast art museum on the empty land opposite. It’s an area where change is afoot, even if people aren’t.
The office buildings here are the home of fashion firm Desigual, which played a role in Maná’s interior design. And it shows: the distinctive patterned fabrics draped inside combine with straw mats to create a vaguely beach-y, non-specific-nautical feel. Very airy, very welcoming, very pretty. There are some large round tables inside that would be ideal for business lunches, and careful lighting that makes the big spaces seem intimate. Outside there’s a pleasant terrace and even, gasp, free parking for clients: one of the benefits of the out-of-the-way location.
The name of Maná 75º aims to evoke both manna from heaven and the alleged perfect temperature for cooking rice. An open kitchen runs along one side of the restaurant, with top billing given to a row of paella stations, each of which has an infra-red rice-temperature monitor. Set, presumably, for 75ºC.
Maná, which opened in April 2017, has recently changed chefs and thus has a new, simplified menu. Paella purists will be delighted to hear that the word ‘paella’ does not appear; paellas (i.e. the broad, flat pans of that name) may be used for cooking but the dishes themselves are referred to only as various kinds of rice.
Full disclosure as always: for this visit I was a guest of the restaurant.
We started with what was described as calamares but instead turned out to be chipirones (baby squid). Fresh, crispy, flavoursome, fine, but pricey at €14.
We also chose a green salad (€9).
And of course rice. In this case, arroz de montaña (mountain rice) with botifarra negra (blood sausage) and sous-vide pork rib (€19 per person, minimum 2 people).
Very good it was too. Some sweetness from the sofregit, the all-important socarrat crust on the bottom and a thin layer of perfectly cooked Ebro rice grains. My only complaint would be with the miserly portion of pork rib. There was enough meat in the dish and enough food overall but the small, solitary chunk of tender rib felt ungenerous — the very opposite of the hospitable, trenchermanly repast that this kind of food should be.
Desserts are displayed in an old-school fashion, on a tray brought by the waiter. The lemon meringue pie was good, the torrijas (think tarted-up French toast) superb. Both €6.50.
If you’re in the area, or in the car (free parking, remember?), and in the mood for rice, Maná 75º is a solid choice. Service is friendly and efficient, the restaurant design is beautiful, and it’s a welcoming environment with a warm atmosphere. The food is fresh, enjoyable and competently prepared. I wouldn’t enthuse wildly about it but I’d happily go back. Portions of some dishes are on the skimpy side but rice is filling so you shouldn’t leave feeling hungry. There’s no lunchtime menu del día, which is a pity. Expect to spend €30-€40 each, plus drinks, which is about what you’d expect in Barcelona for this kind of thing. Manà 75º is somewhere you could take friends or business clients and be confident that everyone would relax and have a good time.
Maná 75º | Passeig Joan de Borbó 101, 08039, Barceloneta, Barcelona | Website | +34 93 832 64 15 | Metro Barceloneta (L2) or V15 bus | Open Mon-Sun 1pm- 11.30pm
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