Essence and Flavors of Mediterranean Cuisine



Etapes is one of those self-made restaurants. Dídac Montes and his father saw potential in a small, centrally-located premises in Barcelona’s Eixample district and took a chance on it, despite still not being sure what kind of business they were going to set up. They finally decided to open a restaurant, since what they were sure of is that the business would work if they did things right and used high-quality products. Neither of them had experience in the restaurant industry, although they did have a lot of drive and passion. Dídac’s brother Pol, however, was studying at the Hofmann Culinary School, so he would be in charge of the kitchen. In the end they decided to go for the “culinary tapas” concept. In 2009 they got off to a flying start with a good location on Carrer d’Enric Granados. Within a year, they had already earned themselves a spot in the Routard Guide on its list of recommended restaurants, a good entry point for French and international customers, their usual clientele. “We’re in Barcelona, and in this sector you have to be able to speak different languages to give the customers really good service,” acknowledges Montes.

Four years later, in 2013, they were added to the Michelin Guide’s “Bib Gourmand” list of restaurants where diners can enjoy an exceptional meal at an affordable price. “It’s a distinction that’s very highly regarded and well known outside of Spain,” notes Montes. Etapes has continued to appear on the list every year since then. Why? Because they are committed on product-focused cuisine to bring out the flavors. “We’re not a technical, state-of-the-art, or fusion restaurant. We don’t want to teach anyone new gastronomy. I want people to come and eat well, for them to be comfortable and to have a good time at our restaurant,” explains Montes.

One of the standout dishes is their take on surf and turf: scallops and Iberian pork belly confit with oyster sauce and crispy ham. “This is a dish that doesn’t mess around. It’s innovative, but not technical. It doesn’t need to be.” Meat from Nebraska and big steaks from Danish or Dutch cows are some of the products they use to create the four menus currently on offer: the Tasting menu (€35), Gourmand menu (€50), Chef’s menu (€70), and a special Mobile World Congress menu (€160). There is a wine pairing option for each of the menus, except for the special menu, which already includes pairings. For Montes, the aim of Etapes is “to recover an updated, careful production of the traditional flavors and aromas of Mediterranean cuisine and, through pairings with the right wines, to achieve a harmonious experience in a laid-back environment.

They definitely have a special touch when it comes to wine. Starting off with just 14 wines initially, today the restaurant’s cellar boasts around 700 labels, as well as a space for private tastings. Our single-vineyard wine Vinya Gigi Chardonnay is one of the wines you can find there. The commitment to wine is certainly firm: “We wanted to specialize and create a place where you can have a nice time and learn by sampling great wines.”

Have we given you any hints? ;)

Categorías: Gastronomy