Category Archives: Pintxos

Tapas in Barcelona

On my last trip to Barcelona a couple of months ago, My good friend Gabriella who is always in the mood for good food and wine, joined me for a self-guided tapas tour one warm Saturday evening. After we got sidetracked at some fun shops on the Rambla de Catalunya and the Passeig de Gracia, we stopped at Cerveceria Catalana. If you are new to the idea of tapas and don’t mind being with others who are too, this is a great place to start. Its big, there is plenty of seating (not always common in tapas places) and it has great food, menus in English, many traditional options some with a modern flair, and great service! I was skeptical as I knew this place might be touristy but I was pleasantly surprised by the food and won over by the friendly staff.

Ceveceria Catalana

anchovy tapa with peppers

Our next stop was pure fun. I had heard of Tapaç 24 as it is overseen by Chef Carles Abellan from Comerç 24 and I was looking forward to trying some of his inventive cuisine. Sitting on high stools, surrounded by colourful painted walls and fresh vegetables hanging between the bar and the glass through which we could watch the chefs at work, we were not disappointed. Practically everything on the menu is based on traditional Catalan dishes and ingredients, some with inventive twists, and everything made with the best fresh ingredients. We started with the Tapa D’Or – or Golden tapa for 2.50€ which was a plate of quality extra virgin olive oil with tomatoes served with crusty country bread. Next we ordered the restaurants version of Bombes called Bombes de La Barceloneta for 3.50€. Bombes are a type of croquette, always round. Our other tapa was the Tapas 24 version of the Catalan “Coca” which is like a pizza topped with fresh vegetable goodness with some caviar sprinkled on for fun. We of course enjoyed our tapas with some local sparkling cava and vowed to return someday soon!

La Tapa D'Or at Tapas 24

Bombes de la Barceloneta, Tapas ,24

Tapas 24

Soon we were off again. To reach our third destination we took a 10 or 15 minute stroll down to the Born area near the Picasso Museum and stopped in at a packed Basque pintxos bar called Euskal Etxea, or the Basque house. Not just a source of great pintxos the Euskal Etxea is also a sort of Basque cultural center which offers activities and basque language classes. We stood at the bar and as is the custom here, were offered a plate and allowed to take what we wanted from the heaping plates of pintxos and kept our toothpicks in good faith in order to pay at the end. A weeknight might be better to stop here as it gets pretty crowded but no one really seemed to mind, and since this is the norm here in Spain, we were quite happy to enjoy our txacoli and pintxos elbow to elbow with our fellow diners.

The details.
Cerveceria Catalana

C/ Mallorca, 236. Between Rambla de Catalunya and Balmes.

93 216 03 68


Tapaç 24

Carrer Diputacio, 269 (just east of Passeig de Gracia)

http://www.carlesabellan.com/

Euskal Etxea

C/ Montcada 1-3, Barcelona 08003 (next to the Picasso Museum)

10 Comments

Filed under Pintxos, Places, Spain, Tapas, Tapas Bars, Uncategorized

Pintxos in Bilbao

Pintxos in Bilbao

A few weeks ago when visiting Bilbao we headed down to the Plaza Nueva, an enclosed plaza with terraces, and lots of tapas bars. Here they are called pinchos, or the preferred basque-ish spelling, pintxos. What a difference from the straightforward tapas found in Madrid’s traditional bars. Pintxos are a work of art. They are not free and you must ask for the one(s) you would like.

Bar Bilbao, Bilbao

Our stop in the Plaza Nueva included Cafe Bar Bilbao, a historic pintxo bar and cafe almost 100 years old, we were a group of about eight people all standing around the bar with our drinks and sometimes ordering a few pintxos. A couple Americans came in (since I am one, for me they are easy to pick out) and somehow were able to get one of the 6 or so tables. It was about 8pm, still two hours short of dinner time but the bar was full of Bilbainos having an aperitif. The two women proceeded to order, first they were served a bottle of wine and I thought to myself, they are obviously tourists, they are not going about this pintxo thing the right way. They should stand at the bar like us, have some pintxos and move on to discover other places. Then their order came, a plate full of the colors of delicious looking pintxos, too much for just a bite, and seemingly too much for two people! It looked like the typical situation when you are in a foreign country and you order something and it ends up to be enough food for double the amount of people you are. But the women seemed happy with their dinner and my Basque friends had by now taken notice of these two and their huge plate and were enviously remarking at how those ladies really had a great idea! Now why didn’t we think of that!?

Pintxos Variados

This was my plate of pintxos. I loved the one at the bottom of the photo. Its mixed fresh cheeses rolled into a ball covered with walnuts and balsamic reduction. The salmon and the fried squid were also wonderful.

Café Bar Bilbao is located at Plaza Nueva 6. (Metro Casco Viejo) in Bilbao

Website: www.bilbao-cafebar.com

Bar Bilbao on YouTube

An interesting website dedicated to pintxos, the tapas of the Basque Country, is Todopintxos.com. They even have recipies and list some great tapas/pintxo bars in San Sebastian.

3 Comments

Filed under Food, Pintxos, Places, Spain, Tapas, Tapas Bars