Elche (or Elx in Valenciano – a form of Catalan) is the name of a town in the Alicante province of Valencia. People from Elche are collectively called Ilicitans.
The Iborras, an Ilicitan family, moved to Barcelona in 1959 and opened this restaurant – the first restaurant in the city to specialise in food, and particularly rice dishes, from Alicante.
Foodstuffs and wines from Alicante are often referred to as being de Alacant. To clarify some possible confusion, because Alicante is in the region of Valencia (not the city of Valencia), which is often referred to as being in the Levante (or, Levant in English), food and drink, and other products from the area, are sometimes described as being Levantino.
To explain more possible confusion – the original restaurant in Poble Sec was so successful that the family opened another – called Elx, pronounced exactly the same, in the Maremagnum, down on the city’s waterfront. And the family now own another restaurant, in a town on the coast north of Barcelona.
Though they’re justly proud of their excellent rice dishes I really enjoy the starters here.
I’d be quite happy here to forego a main course, order a selection of starters, a salad, bread and a bottle of the modestly priced Primitivo Quiles, Blanco Caña (€6) – a rustic white wine from Alicante. The char-grilled aubergine, asparagus and prawns, buñuelos (lightly battered parcels of cod) and zamburiñas (scallops), pulpo (octopus), stuffed peppers and fried artichoke are excellent, and compared with most tapas spots, exceedingly good value.