Semproniana Ada Parellada's restaurant in Barcelona


In 1993, Santi Alegre and I, Ada Parellada, rented a large space in the centre of Barcelona’s Eixample district. It had previously belonged to an old and rather beautiful publishing house that had just closed shop. So we substituted the books with menus and the letters with dishes, hoping to fill the place with baked sea bass, lots of black Catalan botifarra sausage and chocolate delirium tremens. And we called it Semproniana.

The name Semproniana has aroused a lot of curiosity, so we’ll try to explain why we chose it.

The first clue, a set of vessels from the Roman era, a kind of early Michelin guide, leads us to the Via Augusta, the long road running from Rome to Cadis in southern Spain. Where we live it runs along the coast. The second clue is a rather mysterious place, since it does not coincide with any ancient Roman settlement at all. Its name is Semproniana and it’s found in the Vallès district outside of Barcelona. In this area quite a few Roman archaeological remains have been found, but none related to a stop along the way, an inn or a service area for travellers and their liveries.

In the mid-twentieth century, an historian from the Vallès town of Granollers, Josep Estrada, came up with a theory that Semproniana was found near Granollers, while all other town historians rejected his theory, almost treating him as a madman.

Forty years after this first note by Estrada, in 1982 a third clue appeared in the centre of Granollers: the remains of an important Roman villa, which naturally forced historians to alter the written and demonstrable history of the city as understood until then.

We chose Semproniana as the name for our new space to render homage to the perseverance of all those who believe in their ideas despite lacking the tools to corroborate them when up against the sceptics hounding them on all sides.

Now, after having had so many doubts about the project, and after having opened day after day for years, putting up with everything imaginable and working very hard, we can assert that it has all been worth it. In tune with our ideas, perseverance has been the slogan behind each and every dish we’ve come up with at Semproniana, a restaurant with a name enlivened with meaning.

The cooker is hard at work, churning out white-fish and chicken, all kinds of sauces and a ton of optimism and energy to keep pressing on.