Ever had a restaurant you liked so much that it became your regular to-go place? I have a few of those back at my hometown; however, not so much when traveling. My motto whenever I travel is, “explore and venture, never repeat.” I made that my motto because every time I travel I want to bring back home tons of pictures and stories from numerous different locations. Visiting a new cafe, a new restaurant, a new park, etc. would give me a fresh perspective on the local lives and atmosphere of the area. Plus, visiting a new place each day would allow me to explore around new neighborhoods and that is always an exciting aspect of traveling! I always stick by this rule until I went to Spain…
On June 10, 2016 I entered a restaurant/bar that I would soon call my “second home” in Spain. I introduce you to Obama. Yep, named after our 44th president of the United States.
So, how did I become a regular during my last few days?
The morning of June 10, 2016 my friends and I were preparing to depart Madrid and enter back into Barcelona. Our journey to Barcelona was certainly not an easy feat. The train that would lead us to the airport halted mid-way because of a prior train breakdown. We were nervous that we would miss our flight and that was the last thing we wanted happening to us. There was no way we were willing to be stuck in Madrid’s scorching hot weather for any longer. We ditched the train along with other people and hopped on a taxi that drove for around 20 minutes and charged us thirty euros. I am not a huge fan of taxis and would love to avoid them at all cost but we had no time to waste.
After arriving at the airport I figured that would be the end of our problems for today but I was completely wrong. The flight takes around one hour and thirty minutes — short and simple; however, the environment inside the airplane was like a jungle. Kids were screaming, babies were crying, and the pilot was controlling the plane as if it was some race because he would keep speeding and going up and down continuously. The turbulence that should last for a short time almost took place throughout the whole ride. Once landing, we all wanted to check-in and rest at our new Airbnb.
Enter Badal … our new place for three nights. We did not have high expectations but at the same time all we needed was a clean bed and quick wifi, which we got none of along with other required features. When entering the place, it seemed normal but as we started our tour of the apartment our faces started to all fall flat. The bed was filled with hair, the table had an old and used q-tip, the shower head and door were breaking apart, the sink was barely functioning, and the terrace was more like a junkyard. This provided us no comfort after our long day’s distress and in fact, it added to our stress. We considered even going back home believing that bad luck had overtaken our whole trip. One of my friends suggested we go out for some retail therapy and comfort food — in this case, American junk food slathered in oil and batter.
We stopped by a few stores and then made our way over to Obama, which we encountered when entering the metro. We figured that they would be able to serve us the American food we craved and longed for. This is where the real story begins…
The atmosphere of the restaurant seemed bustling with tables filled with locals and tourists all shouting and eagerly staring at the television screen as France was versing Romania in the first match for the Eurocups 2016. However, we were all invested in staring at the menu. The menu offers extensive American food ranging from nachos, pizza, burgers, and salad. It also offers English food, such as fish and chips as well as Spanish food, which included patatas bravas, and classic Mexican burritos, quesadilla, and fajita. We ordered guacamole and chips and chicken fajitas for our first visit.
The chicken wings reminded me of wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, the crispy texture slathered in sauce. The chips were warm and crunchy and the guacamole was soft and mushy. Their main nachos option offers more variety as it is drenched in cheese and chicken bits along with everything featured in the guacamole nachos, which is what we got.
The chicken fajita was a new experience for me and it was so much fun making my own mini wrap. The soft tortilla wrap was warm and the chicken was marinated well. The grilled onion and paprika offered taste to the chicken, making my very first hand-made wrap delicious!
The restaurant is comprised of three floors. The basement follows a more American diner-type setting as it housed booths. The ground floor was more of a English pub-style with stools, and high-top tables. Lastly, the top floor was like any other restaurant but had the best view of the television and the live music from the ground floor, it also offered solidarity at certain hours of the day.
After, the Eurocups finished we looked at the drink menu as there was no way we were all planning on heading back home anytime soon. My friend recommended me the Magner’s because it is tastes more like juice and fruits rather than alcohol. I am not a huge alcohol fan; therefore, it was a pleasant surprise when I finished the bottle. The alcohol content was low since it was only 4%. As we were drinking the television switched channels to their restaurant-camera and on the screen there was a young man setting up his guitar. We learned from the servers that every night Obama offers their diners with live music from different local musicians. Our first night, we heard David from Barcelona and he knew how to liven up the mood. He interacted with the guests and encouraged them to dance and sing-along. He sang American songs as well as Spanish songs, allowing us to end our day on a happy note.
Looking back, I counted and realized that I went to the restaurant a total of six times.
Below are the other foods I consumed during my many trips there.
Brunch: Egg Benedict
The only other place I ever tried an egg benedict was at Sarabeth’s in New York. The one offered here was much different as it was served on a warm brioche bun with a side of tomato and lettuce. It looked as if it could be made into a burger. It was certainly not as fancy but it was equally, if not more, delicious! It was a hearty meal that kept us full and energized throughout our long walk around the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona.
Snack: Patatas Bravas and Tiramisu Gelato
Patatas Bravas was a dish I wanted to try since it was mentioned in every travel books and sites. What made the dish delicious was the sauce. The sauce was creamy and spicy making the ordinary potato wedges actually transform into a yummy dish! I looked online and the sauce looks easy to make: BBC Good Food Recipe
We all went too often that eventually the servers recognized us and without hesitation would immediately lead us to our usual table upstairs. It allowed us to feel relaxed without having to worry about anything else because we knew what to expect in Obama’s. The one concern of visiting a new restaurant is not knowing what to expect from their food and service. The servers are all too kind and smile continuously at you, the food is yummy, and the live music is exciting to listen to. When in Barcelona, visit Obama! Whether you want to go only once or six times is your own choice but I highly recommend checking it out!
Address: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 603, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: 8AM-3AM, every single day.