Trad & Fab
Words by Cat Ingledow
Tint Takes on Tapas
Trad & Fab
Words by Cat Ingledow
Tucked away in the heart of the gothic quarter hides this charismatic little tapas restaurant, It’s modest façade makes it almost invisible to the untrained eye. The restaurant’s low lighting and ancient brick walls give it an ethereal charm, making it feel as though one has accidentally slipped into another century. The food is as magical as the atmosphere with a menu that offers an expansive range of traditional tapas dishes to choose from. The roasted peppers with goat cheese come particularly recommended, with the stuffed squid falling closely behind. Do not forget to try one of their famous cocktail concoctions.
Carrer de Salomó ben Adret, 14, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
There is a definite sense of youthfulness here, a restaurant that has been founded on the foundations of the traditional 'tapas' model yet, has experimented with modern, bohemian interiors and an unconventional menu, ultimately creating, a fresh, up to date restaurant with a quirky charm. The walls are decorated with a scattering of framed illustrations and curly calligraphy that detail's the day's specials, the atmosphere is fun and welcoming. Order the artichoke with ham and the patatas bravas (they are arguably amongst the finest in the city). If you are a particularly adventurous traveller, then the meatballs in squid ink also come highly recommended. The restaurant has an outdoor seating area which spills out onto Rambla del Raval, making it the ideal location for an evening spent watching Barcelona go about its business.
Rambla del Raval, 26, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
As much a restaurant as it is a culinary gallery, the ethos here is to activate the senses. The impeccable meal presentation may at first, prevent you from wanting to decapitate such a work of abstract art, however, the duck confit and the truffle ravioli are irresistible. The food is gourmet and therefore, be warned that the meal will be a little more strenuous on the wallet. Afterward, be sure to spoil yourself with cheesecake and an espresso martini.
Carrer Ample, 26, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
The menu here consists of a mere five options, making it the perfect choice for those who struggle with decision making. Pepe, the charismatic owner, makes his guests feel immediately at home in his authentically local restaurant. The guests are required to put their faith in the professionals and, unsurprisingly, they are almost always satisfied with the results. The homemade vermouth, barreled wine, and electric orange walls, all add to the charming ambiance of this tiny tapas bar. The price, like the food, will also come as a pleasant surprise.
Carrer de la Mercè, 28, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
A gastronomic theatre, here the guests are given front row seats to the behind the scenes creation of their meal. The guests are seated around a 'bar', in front of which the chefs prepare their fresh ingredients. The seafood swirls and sizzles before the guest's eyes, eventually being served up in front of them. There is no such thing as a menu here, it is essential that the customer places their faith in the chef and it is unlikely, near impossible, that they'll be disappointed.
Plaça de les Olles, 8, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
La Xampaneria has become something of an establishment in Barcelona. The Tapas bar offers a uniquely atmospheric dining experience, that, it should be warned, is not for the claustrophobic. Customers huddle together like sardines as groups of families and friends stand around and chatter over their shared sausage slices. It is very cheap and very local. It is the perfect place to stop off for a quick croquette and a shot of cava after a long day spent lazing on the beach nearby.
Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Located beside the beautiful church of Santa Maria del Mar, El Chigre is as much about its stunning location as it’s delicious tapas. The charming interiors immediately draw you in, with bar stools dotted around island tables and perfectly placed baskets dangling from the roof. The experience is personalized by the host, Imran, who graciously guides you through the menu, taking each taste bud on an individual journey. Recommendations include the spicy octopus covered in a croquette and the chorizo in cider, the experimental cuisine is an exciting amalgamation of different tapas dishes. It is usually very busy at dinner so best to visit at lunchtime.
Carrer dels Sombrerers, 7, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
A little tapas restaurant with a worldwide reputation, tales of the perfect Padron peppers and delicious breaded aubergine have traveled, by word of mouth, across oceans and continents. It is a hidden gem that is no longer as hidden as it once was. There is always a great atmosphere, with a mix of both locals and tourists enjoying an evening of tapas and craft beer. The waiters are extremely welcoming and the menu is diverse. For those that have had enough of the endless stream of seafood, opt for the chicken wings in garlic and wine sauce.
Plaça Comercial, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
The authenticity of Jai-ca is indisputable, the tables here are decorated in the traditional bright yellow tiles while the background hum is that of the Catalan dialect. Situated in Barceloneta, it is no surprise that the menu predominantly consists of varying forms of seafood. The steamed mussels and the fried squid are cooked to near perfection. It is the perfect restaurant if you are after reasonably priced seafood tapas and a local ambiance.
Carrer de Ginebra, 9 y 13, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Bodega la Tinaja
A gigantic ornate door guards this beautiful restaurant, entering it feels as though one is drifting into a fairytale castle where a banquet awaits. The guests will not be disappointed as the interiors work to reaffirm the ethereal charm. Ancient farming equipment hangs from the walls, interspersed with pots and pans that have traveled from another century. It is a magical setting to have dinner, bottles of red wine adorn the stonewalls, setting the scene of a genuine, Catalan tavern. The food only adds to the mystical adventure, be sure to order the authentic cheese platter that consists of all variations of delicious lactose goodness, pair it with the perfect Iberian ham for the integral Catalan experience
Carrer de l'Esparteria, 9, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Situated on one of the beautiful squares in El Born, where the trees throw shade unto the pedestrian-only cobbled street, this restaurant is the perfect location to enjoy a cool, midday lunch. The menu includes traditional tapas as well as some slightly more quirky cuisine such as the surprisingly tasty potato peels. The fried manchego cheese also comes highly recommended.
Plaça de Sant Pere, 12, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
The family-run restaurant located in Gracia is a great option for those that want an atmospheric dining experience in which locals and tourists dine together harmoniously. The walls are decorated with handwritten messages from adoring, satisfied customers. The affectionate scribbles characterize the restaurant as a loveable institution at the heart of the local community. The meals on offer are a playful, up-to-date interpretation of traditional dishes. The seabass with strawberries and the beef cheeks with pear are the two house favorites, both as beautiful to look at as they are delicious to taste.
Carrer de Còrsega, 343, 08037 Barcelona, Spain