Barcelona is known for housing numerous bars and restaurants, and from outside, some can look small and sometimes sketchy. 9 out of 10 times, they’re not. As you step inside, the room opens up and it’s huge and buzzing with guests.
Another thing Barcelona is known for, is their selection of tapas. Tapas, of course is a general Spanish concept, but I’ve never gotten better tapas than I have in Barcelona.
So, if you put small-looking restaurant and tapas together, you got something pretty typical for this city. And it’s often here you get served the real, authentic Barca.
Lesson one: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
We decided to try out a tapas place, called Cal Pep, which we actually also walked by the night before when we discovered Paradiso.
One thing about these places, is that you got to get there early, or else you won’t get a table. Therefore we planned to be there as the clock stroke 7pm. Obviously ’cause that’s when the restaurant opened that night. We weren’t in a hurry that day, we had just walked around in the city, and I actually got a tattoo after one, two many (cliché much?).
When arriving at Cal Pep 7pm .. Well, let’s just admit it: We were late. The line was about 10 meters from the face of the door and out on the streets – and the place hadn’t even opened yet! We thought about doing it another night instead, but luckily we decided to stick with it.
Lesson two: Come early.
After about 15 minutes we had followed the line inside, thank God. Barcelona isn’t exactly a chilly city in July, you know. We discovered that we were going to be seated at the bar. If you want a table, you have to be 4 people or more. And if that applies for you, you can also make a reservation. Good to know.
We waited for a long time, shifted weight from one foot to the other, I crouched down a couple of times because my feet hurt – and finally, after an hour inside we got seated at the bar.
Lesson three: Don’t wear heels.
They only serve a set menu, which I actually prefer. Then you know you will get a selection of their best dishes.
First up was tomato bread, which I forgot to photograph. I was too hungry to bother.
Next we got served clams, harvested from Barcelona’s coast just a couple of hours before. They were cooked in an incredible tasteful bouillon. It was exceptional and we couldn’t dig them in fast enough. My jaws start to tingle just thinking about it.
Then there was the third dish. And this is really embarrassing – I don’t know what it was .. And I don’t remember what they told us about it either. I just wanted it in my mouth.
As we finished the unknown unbelievable good seafood, we got to choose if we wanted fish or meat next. We went with the meat. By now we already knew they had a strong seafood game, and wanted to see if the meat could measure up. And let me tell you, I’ve had some pretty good steaks in my life.
Let’s face it, this doesn’t look gourmet or even any better than what you can do at home, right? Well, I do not know what they do with their produce, but this meat tasted like the cow had been caressed each day, been sung lullabies to every night and gotten a whole lot of love.
Fifth one was the traditional tortilla – omelett with potatoes. I’ve actually not made an omelett after I tasted this one, because mine will never, ever measure up. The ingredients are so simple and pure, but still they made it taste like something I would pay a whole lot for at a restaurant. So good.
This was a real pleasure and through the whole meal, the chefs – who stood behind the bar desk and cooked in front of our eyes, talked to us, danced and sang. And drank wine with us. It ended up with a bottle of red on the house. Which forced us (me) to go straight home to bed after. Oops.
Lesson four: Go to Cal Pep.