This review of a Barcelona restaurant is a break from The Picky Glutton’s usual London-based coverage.
Unsurprisingly, there’s no shortage of tapas restaurants in Barcelona but one or two caught my eye. Tapas 24 is reputed to be one of the best tapas restaurants in the city, but the prices at this small underground bar are surprisingly affordable.
The bar stool seating and minimalist decor won’t suit everyone, but the staff were helpful and there’s also an English translation of the menu (which seems suspiciously shorter than the Spanish original). Helping me out during my weekday lunchtime visit was Templeton Peck who wasn’t as hungry as I was and subsequently ate less. He was very happy with the crisp bread topped with fruity tomatoes, mild olive oil and a hint of garlic – a simple classic, but a classic nonetheless.
Templeton Peck was also pleased with the tortilla. The thin, layered construction of folded egg was soft and delicate and was perfectly counterbalanced by the hearty filling of potato, onions and a mildly piquant chorizo. The strong, creamy aioli added the perfect finishing touch.
I sampled some of the more inventive dishes on Tapas 24’s menu. I started off with the bikini sandwich, which is a simple toasted ham and cheese sarnie that can be found in cafes throughout Barcelona but here it has the added bonus of truffles. This added a visceral earthiness to the creamy cheese and salty pork. The sandwich obviously wouldn’t nearly as enjoyable without it.
Even for a tapas dish, the McFoie is laughably small. There is nothing farcical about the way it tastes though. The soft, buttery brioche-like bread is a perfect wrapping for the beef filling – the bread has a lovely taste of its own but doesn’t overwhelm the raw, tender beef. The meat has a slightly chewy bite and was enriched with the deliciously creamy foie gras condensed into a dollop resembling ice cream. It’s not too rich though, so it doesn’t overwhelm the beef. A lovely dish.
I didn’t completely avoid the traditional dishes though – I also sampled the beef tripe with chorizo and chickpeas. The tripe was soft and tender with a dimpled texture in a mildly tangy broth, but the chickpeas were a little too mushy for my liking and the chorizo was surprisingly limp.
Templeton Peck wasn’t in the mood for dessert, but I couldn’t help trying the churros. Tapas 24’s version of this classic Spanish fried doughnut wasn’t served with any chocolate, but it was remarkably unoily. It also had a crisp exterior that wasn’t too crunchy or hard as well as a fluffy soft interior.
The food at Tapas 24 is simply great and very reasonably priced with much of the joy to be had from sampling the more innovative dishes that put a novel spin on familiar classics.
Name: Tapas 24
Address: Diputació, 269, 08007, Barcelona, Spain
Phone: 0034 93 488 09 77
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 08.00-midnight.
Reservations: not taken.
Total cost for one person including soft drinks shared between people: €25 approx (£21 approx. at time of writing).