Arnon Grunberg



Last night I had dinner at L’Osteria del Contadino. It might be strange to go to an Italian restaurant in Barcelona, but you are in love with the Italian cuisine or you are not in love with the Italian cuisine.
L’Osteria del Contadino received raving reviews but to my surprise the restaurant was (Sunday night at 22:00) completely empty.
The owner and waiter turned out to be an Italian.
He received us with the words: “I don’t speak English.” So I tried to speak Italian, but my clumsy attempts provoked something that resembled sadism in the owner/waiter. Also his command of English turned out to be rather good.
For example, I would say: “Il conto per favore.” And then he would reply: “Il conto. Oh my god. You do speak Italian. Bravo. Bravissimo. This is marvelous. No need to go to school anymore. Il conto. He speaks Italian. Il conto. Mama mia. If only all my guests would say ‘il conto.’” Then he would come back with the check, he would smile ironically and he would say: “Il conto. Here it is. Il conto.” But the food was delicious, and the owner was despite his sadistic tendency charming.

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