Barcelona is one of the top cities in the Mediterranean for enjoying a great appetiser. There are bars and taverns of all sorts, but we are going to focus on the ones that have withstood the passage of time and make appetisers a true ritual.
Bar Bodegueta Cal Pep
This bar is located far from the beach, but its menu is full of treasures from the water. Àngel, its owner, is personally in charge of cleaning and preparing all the food, from the sea snails to the crabs, not to mention razor clams, goose barnacles, dried salted tuna and peppers stuffed with anchovies. They all share the limelight with its peerless Torta del Casar cheese and his wide variety of wines: rancio, dry, muscatel, wine from Gandesa (Tarragona), etc.
c/ Canalejas, 12. Tel.: 93 339 30 37
Its little marble bar has a vast variety of products. They have a great homemade vermouth, wines with different appellations of origin, and of course beer which they draw perfectly. The food holds a surprise or two, since wise creativity is one of this establishment’s hallmarks. Broth with stewed skewers, pickled
mackerel with citrus, migas bread crumbs with sobrassada sausage and brie… a pleasure for all the senses!
c/ Blai, 1. Tel.: 600 742 532
Celler de Cal Marino
We are staying in the same neighbourhood but now heading to Margarit Street. There you can find this wine cellar which occupies an old mechanic’s garage. Maybe this is the source of the desire to bore through the walls, although in this case they are filled with wines, cava sparkling wines and beers from numerous provenances. There are a few cold must-haves, such as the porchetta, cecina bacon and farmhouse cheese, but you really can’t afford to pass up their croquettes.
c/ Margarit, 54. Tel.: 93 329 45 92
En Sant Antoni (Eixample)
La Bodega d’en Rafel
This is one of the best establishments in this neighbourhood and one of those spots that is still crowded with locals. Well, locals and its owners, Rafel and Mari. Both are likeable and honest, just like their food and drink: homemade vermouth, wine from Batea and always a good cava sparkling wine nearby to finish the morning banquet. Great for breakfast or for snacking: codfish with ratatouille, homemade little empanadas, tripe, baby sardines and a long list of cold pickled foods. Can’t miss it!!
c/ Manso, 52. Tel.: 93 442 56 24
The name of this spot, which may be associated with an old rocker or two, actually reflects the owner’s name, Lourdes Branca. This is a small bar, a bit baroque, but ultimately an oasis for those who love good tapas and seafood from Galicia. Let yourself be carried away by the scent of the snails, tripe and
codfish on bread. Of course, it also has the classic cockles, sea razors, tuna, clams and mussels.
c/ Escorial, 3. Tel.: 93 285 54 21
En el Gótico
Located on the ground floor of the Hotel Arai, right in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, is Palosanto, an establishment with a personality all its own. It could be described as a “neotavern” since its cuisine is a modern yet honest update of the classic recipes and sauces. So it dares to serve a true Russian salad, croquettes and fried egg with acorn-fed Iberian ham. Of course, it also has a few more elaborate nods like its strip of wild maigre with yellow garlic sauce or picanha tagliatelli with Shimeji mushrooms. As an example of its focus on the
product: Gouthier oysters, fresh and salted anchovies and its famous “ugly” tomato from Tudela. And as if that weren’t enough, Palosanto also has a secret hidden in its basement: Kaki. This is a different kind of space that feels intimate
and is great for midday snacks or a drink at night. With live DJ sessions and a menu of exquisite cocktails and more than 40 different kinds of vodka, it is also a great choice for after dinner.
c/ Avinyó, 30. Tel.: 93 412 71 98