Where to Eat Around the World ts

From DiverXO and the Roca Brothers to Street Food: The Talented Young Chef Embracing Pop Cuisine

Alessandra Meldolesi
copertina silma ayres casa pince

At the age of thirty-two, Brazilian chef Silma Ayres has taken over the historic establishment Casa Pince in the tourist center of Barcelona, transforming it into a venue for popular dining. This new venture leverages the culinary lessons from some of Spain’s greatest chefs, bringing high-quality, accessible cuisine to a broader audience.

Photo cover: @Credits Marta Garreta

The Story

Barcelona is one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, and this is especially evident in its tourist-trap dining scene. This backdrop makes the achievements of Silma Ayres, a young chef at the historic establishment Casa Pince, even more remarkable. The restaurant, founded in 1905 by Jean Pince and his wife, was originally designed as an elegant house and a place for what would now be considered early food delivery. However, under the current management led by Ayres, the focus has shifted towards offering popular, affordable dining without compromising on quality. This transformation caters to a wider audience, ensuring that high culinary standards are accessible to all.

silma ayres Paola Sama
@Paola Sama

The format at Casa Pince is diverse. It starts in the morning at 8 AM with breakfast at the bar and continues with lunch and dinner in the adjoining dining room. "It makes me very happy to see the neighbors from the area and people going to work sitting here," the chef told La Vanguardia. The daily menus are also accessible, with a complete meal available during the week for just 18.5 euros. Despite such affordability, Silma Ayres boasts a prestigious resume: born in Brazil, by age 32 she had already worked at the Basque Culinary Center, DiverXo, El Celler de Can Roca, Moments among others, and even conducted research on yuca in the Galapagos. However, this is the first time she is leading a kitchen of her own, a venture that fills her with excitement.

casa pince ristorante 5

Objectives? Silma Ayres is shifting away from high-end dining. "I want to see this restaurant filled with local clients, and tourists too, to whom we can transmit a love for authentic Catalan cuisine. For us, it makes no sense to do anything different," she recently explained to Betevé. She continues to serve up savory sauces and croquettes made from oxtail, staying true to her roots and the region's culinary traditions.

casa pince ristorante 3
casa pince ristorante 2

The menu at Casa Pince features about a dozen options, ranging from tapas to full dishes, often with a nod to Brazilian flavors. Whether it's patatas bravas, a shrimp salad with coral, pickled mussels, octopus with roasted pepper and onion cream, a creamy risotto, Santa Pau beans with butifarra sausage, Catalonian cream in a cup, or a drowned tiramisu, the quality is exceptionally commendable compared to its neighbors on Calle Ferran, where mediocrity often prevails. Additionally, the restaurant offers brunch every day, and dining à la carte typically doesn't exceed 30 euros, making it a quality yet affordable option for locals and tourists alike.

casa pince ristorante 4

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