Barcelona Wine Bar is one of the premier places for you to go for a special occasion or just because you love tapas and ain't no shame in that. There are two locations in Boston -- one in Brookline and one in the South End.
*Apologizing in advance for the dark pics - the restaurant is very dark and I had to quickly snap pics before my friends grabbed the plates!
La Cena Grande:
For my friend’s birthday recently, we went to their South End location. When you walk in the lights are low and the mood is energized. There is a massive bar in the center for people to mingle over cocktails or to order some small plates. The bar is flanked by two dining rooms filled with intimate tables.
We had a table of eight in our group -- which meant more tapas to try and share! Immediately, several pitchers of sangria were circulating the table. Both the red and white sangrias are packed with a sweet punch from the fresh fruit. Those sangrias… they go down so easily that you have to watch how many glasses you drink.
We started out with a charcuterie board which is a great way to begin the meal. For our board, we chose several kinds of salty prosciutto and ham. Oh, and cheese of course! Manchego and a soft goat cheese accompanied the meats. And then with a big party like ours we each picked two dishes to order and share.
Ay Dios Mio!
The spicy beef empanadas were fried, crispy and loaded with spicy beef. The burrata - omg people I love cheese so much. Burrata, if you aren’t familiar with it, is in the mozzarella family but is a bit lighter and is formed into a pouch and then filled with soft, stringy curd and cream. This burrata was bathing in a pool of sweet cucumber sauce and topped with basil. Next came the sweet and spicy albondigas - meatballs in a ham-tomato sauce. Right when the spiciness hits your tongue, BAM -- the sweetness kicks in to balance it out. The ham and cheese croquettes with garlic aioli were fried balls packed with meat and cheese and oh so yummy! With only four on a plate we had to order another round.
Patatas bravas with garlic aioli: how do I describe them?? Upscale roasted potatoes with a foodgasmic aioli -- zing! Wish I snapped a pic before they were devoured.
Tuna Crudo -- my first time having this. That’s another great thing about tapas -- you get to taste dishes you’ve never had before! It was like the tuna you would see on top of sushi. And so beautiful!
Beef tartare came next. I passed, but everyone else loved it. Although they ran out of a few of the dishes we ordered they definitely made up for it with the quail egg over roasted snap peas which was my favorite dish -- such an interesting combination and yet the runny quail egg perfectly complimented the lightly salted roasted snap peas.
El Vino y El Postre:
Once the meal was finished the waiter brought over a decanter of white house wine for our birthday girl to go around and pour into each of our mouths -- a Barcelona tradition. We each took turns having a 5 second chug!
To finish off the meal we had a beautiful dessert crepe complete with a candle. They were filled with whipped cream, dulce de leche, topped with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream. We all got to sing to our friend and completely embarrass her!
Another way to experience Barcelona is through their unique cooking class held on the last Monday of every month. They do a cooking demonstration and feature a particular type of food every month - the one I last went to featured halibut and ceviche. The chef did a demonstration on how to cut and serve halibut and then the waiters brought out the ceviche and other platters of food for us to enjoy. We couldn’t believe how much food was served - meats and cheeses and broccolini and patatas bravas, on and on! I believe it was $39 for the whole evening, plus drinks! But, it is well worth it for a splurge-y night out and to make Mondays suck less!
Although Barcelona is technically a chain, which I am usually not a fan of, it definitely does not feel like it. They create and serve authentic Spanish tapas and provide an upbeat, lively atmosphere for you to sit and eat with family and friends. Better book a rez asap!