I had a great meal at Tapeo, a small Spanish restaurant started by the opening chef at Tapas 24, David Rueda. When I first walked in, I didn’t catch the resemblance, but could definitely feel the same bright modern vibe. Speaking to the chef, he had a bit of a giggle reporting to me how the white counters happen to look just like Tapas 24!
First, we had the fried rabbit ribs. Yes, rabbit ribs! At first I couldn’t believe it, and while there was very little meat on the bone, it was so good. Fancy Super Bowl party snacks, anyone?
Next we had the fried artichoke (which you can find at just about any other tapas restaurant). Apparently artichoke is fairly common on West Coast menus, but you hardly see fresh artichoke on the menu in New York so of course I ate it up.
Then came the sliced stuffed squid (the only vegetables I had the entire trip, haha). It was exactly as you’d expect from a Spanish restaurant: pure simple fresh flavor.
Next we had the beef and mushrooms. It was a slow cooked stew-like meat with a thick sauce. Delicious.
Finally on the savory side we had the foie gras with truffle, mushrooms, and eggs. Wow! It was an amazing finish with all your favorite flavors in one. We almost didn’t order it but David insisted we try his specialty.
My first day was really rough with apartment issues, but I was able to catch La Pedrera before it closed, and see the rooftop right at sunset. If you are going to visit any of the Gaudi sights (which you must to have really seen anything), this should be your first because the mini museum inside provides a lot of context to the others.
I started off my second day at La Manual Alpargatera, the old school shoe shop in El Gotic that specializes in espadrilles.
If you look up all the places in the city you must visit to shop it is in the top ten of about every list. This is where I met my new friend, and went on to have coffee and dish about how tough and great traveling alone is (see here).
She was nice enough to walk me over to the cathedral where I discovered the most spectacular views (for 6€ to get into the church) and a local-oriented Christmas market. I don’t think Barcelona is a Christmas market destination. The markets are mostly mini nativity scene pieces, garlands, lights and simple ornaments. It was great to see but if you are looking for many unique stalls and offerings, I would head to Berlin!
I told my old school Catholic grandma about the church and she was equally shocked that you had to pay to go inside, but agreed it was just a donation. She proceeded to give me a lecture that I’m young and shouldn’t worry so much about spending if I have my savings! LOL, oh grandma.
In the early evening I headed over to La Boqueria to pickup some breakfast for the next day.
In the evening I finally landed at Tapas 24, my favorite tapas bar! (I wish you could sense my enormous amount of excitement for this place).
Tapas 24 is… AMAZING. They have your standard tapas elevated to the next level. I’m really upset that they don’t have the squid paella anymore, but the baby squid and prawns are never-fails and are ridiculously fresh. You should remember to ask for the shrimps and squid when you go because they didn’t have them when I first arrived (8p). I was asked to eat slowly for thirty minutes for when they did come! It was heaven. The squid comes with the ink still inside. They were about the size of my nose as I described in a FaceTime to home :). The shrimps are grilled very simply but they are perfect–sweet, fresh, and full of their natural flavor.
Have you ever had that moment where all you want to eat is something very specific from a specific place? An irrational craving for something so simple and perfect?
That is how I often feel for Tapas 24. I hardly get cravings or yearn for something specific, except this restaurant. The food there is perfectly executed in their open kitchen. The dishes are simple but all have a small twist. I’ve had friends complain about the service during busy times, but it’s never been a problem for me with the very friendly and hospitable staff. It is one of the rare places where you smile at your hosts and they smile back!
Dishes come as they are prepared so everything is always hot, and I would say the shrimps and squid (with head attached and ink inside) are always fresh. I was almost at the point where I want to ignorantly skip all other restaurants in Barcelona and just eat at Tapas 24.
Tapas 24 Croquettes
Tapas 24 Baby Squids
Tapas 24 Prawns
Tapas 24 Sweet Potato and Ginger
My first night here, Tapas 24 wasn’t open so I went to try Morisco. The seafood is laid out in front as if you are at a fish market and after your selections they weigh everything, place it on a pan, and send it off to the kitchen. In the end it really felt gimmicky, considering the prawns were not really fresh, and the paella was subpar. Fun yes, excellent no. Service was great, but I don’t recommend going for the food.