Enter the promised land of food…
We arrived in Barcelona on the 13th of March and went straight to the hotel to unpack and venture off into the unknown abyss that awaited us. The best part of wondering around a new city is that you get lost, and when you get lost you discover parts of the city you never normally would.
We went to the restaurant opposite the hotel. We were starving.
After that, we went off on our mission to unearth Barcelona and see it in all its glory. We went to watch the UEFA Champions League game between Arsenal and Barcelona, looked at Picasso, Miro, Gaudi and all the amazing heritage the city has to offer.
Our main attraction, however, was a tiny hole in the wall called Tapas 24. We stumbled across it because the recommended restaurant was fully booked and we decided to go next door. Little did we know what lay ahead. In short, we went there four times in three days. We even tried two other places one evening and decided to get a taxi back to Tapas 24 because it was just that good.
You walk down a staircase into an underground section that has seating around the kitchen and bar area, because none of the waiters other than one spoke English, our first night was very interesting. But it got better as we got used to the menu, when I say used to the menu, I mean trying every meal on it.
The menu is in Spanish, however, they do have an English one as well, so we obviously got handed that plus the waiter who spoke the best broken English.
We decided to order different items each every time so we could get a taste of everything. We started off with the following:
Bravas: These are fried potatoes with a spicy sauce, but not too spicy, with garlic mayonnaise. This is a typical Spanish starter that was available or given to you at most restaurants in Barcelona.
Bomba de la Barceloneta (Bomba): This is a meatball with a creamy inside and its served on a plate with mash potato and spicy sauce. We ordered this for our starters every time we went, it was the perfect size to leave you craving more and left your taste buds extremely excited. Best served with beer, the Moritz was the only beer they had and it was amazing. Basically get it with every course you order, probably why the last course is the best.
Bikini Comerc: These are what are normally called a toasted sandwich, however, it is no ordinary toasted sandwich. These specific ones have black truffles, cured Iberian ham and buffalo mozzarella in the middle. Melted to perfection. Quite an acquired taste, but one of those things you have to order, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread (couldn’t avoid that pun).
Mc Foie-Burger: Now this, this was out of this world. Its one of those meals you only eat once in your life because you know it will never be this good anywhere else on the planet. It’s a small beef burger, with foie-grass in the middle and its served with a side bowl of foie ganache. The ganache you can eat by itself or spread onto of the burger, either way, you’ll die knowing you’ve tasted possibly the closest thing to heaven. It melts in your mouth as it touches your tongue, its almost as if your taste buds are devouring it for you.
The bun was fired/toasted and then layered in garlic butter, giving it a crispy bite but a moist finish, and then you hit the beef patty. You get a taste of the Fois-grass and it compliments the beef like brandy does with coke. It just works.
Arros Barcelona: This is the daily rice special, which is a massive frying pan with rice, prawns, fish of the day, squid and all sorts of different fish foods. We shared this as it was huge! But it was delicious. Basically a paella.
The variety of puddings that they had was almost as large as their tapas menu. We had a lemon dessert that was served inside a lemon with a meringue on top of it and board with smooth dark chocolate that came with salt, olive oil, and breadsticks. The chocolate was a complete confusion for all sensory organs as the combination made no sense, however it was golden. Finally, we ordered chocolate chip cookies, which I was quite disappointed in as I expected amazing cookies but got small little rusk type things, which made me quite depressed looking over at the chocolate with exotic and wonderful toppings. Bladdy nice rusks though.
The great thing about Tapas 24 is that it has a very homely feel to it, the menu is also painted all over the walls and none of the wine bottles have labels. When you order a glass of wine, they pull the bottle from a huge ice bucket, and there is your wine. Its atmosphere was incredible and it was packed with locals, which is always a good sign!
With not being able to speak Spanish fluently, we only realised that one of the best meals was right in front of us the whole time, on a blackboard. We only noticed this because the family next to us had ordered it, and I will be forever grateful that they chose the same time as us to have dinner.
The “Hot-dog”: This was something which I will never forget. It was a huge chunk of crab on a hot-dog bun (prepared with garlic butter and toasted), caviar and green chilies on top and sweet mayonnaise that tripped down your fingers as you bit into it. I had two of these in one night, our last night, and wept as I swallowed my last mouthful.
A bit of background…
Tapas 24 was started by Carles Abellan, it is a Michelin star restaurant (had no idea) and it is known as the place that locals enjoy the most. Carles also owns two other restaurants in Barcelona, one where he is the head chef and it is a 2 Michelin star. So no wonder the food we had tasted like it was from the Gods. He also has his own brand of wine, cookbooks, and cooking utensils. Quite the entrepreneur.
All in all, it was a great place to stumble upon, having done no research on where to eat in Barcelona other than markets, we hit the jackpot.
and made sure we cashed in hard!