I’m scared and curious about Barcelona. First day here amidst the social unrest and clashing tourist season and it is already a trip to remember. Almost mugged by men claimed to be “policia” on our first day, it’s made me a little uneasy… and hungry! Arriving to one of my dream destinations, I’m feeling Barcelona is a bohemian cosmopolitan with Gotham chic. Barcelona is dangerous and alive yet serene and untouched. Just like the cuisine. There are tapas bars on every street, lined up offering Sangria and Iberian ham for desperate and willing tourists. If you’re lucky, you could really find something with quality instead of quantity. Ignore the taunting advertisements, crowds of tourists, and if you see a fanny pack, run. It’s not about luck, just time. Luckily, we invested time in getting lost. I lied, we also did some research. Michelin starred Chef Carles Abellán’s masterpieces are featured here at Bravo at the W Barcelona.
Nothing too familiar at Bravo, but luckily we are brave. Fish is one of the basic and most necessary ingredients in Catalan cuisine. The coastal metropolis has one of the world’s best access to fresh succulents of the sea. Starting with crusty bread and sea salt with the local olive oil, I’m blown away. Something about European bread. No one believes me. There’s a difference. It’s what I’ve been dreaming of since my first visit to Europe in 2009. I wish I was joking, but nothing does it for me, but good old crusty bread. Bravo prides itself in true Catalan tapas. Choosing a local Rioja, we dived right in. Everyone who is anyone that has traveled to Spain has raved about the sardines. You know how I feel about my sardines. I had to try this. Result: a food epiphany. If they even exist, I found it in Bravo’s Sardines and Mackerel plate. I remember the presentation was flawless, but the taste, I will never forget my first bite. Salty, crunchy, buttery, and sweet. The entirety of the plate was nothing short of flawless.
Small plates don’t only invite small appetites, but tempting to food lovers willing to indulge in flavors as well as conversation. “As not to be a distraction,” tapas is a conversation’s friend. As enjoyable and distracting as food and flavors are, your company is the priority.
Barcelona is dangerous and alive yet serene and untouched. Just like the cuisine.
Now, you have to forgive me. A bottle of Rioja and I’m a goner so my memory might have been tainted. Tapas continued as did the endless glasses of wine. Another tapas selection of their freshest fish and their freshly sliced ham. Both perfect choices for a true Catalan dining experience. A personal recommendation of our server was their lamb ragù. Another food epiphany happened here. I’ve had a version of lamb ragù before – a sauce-less pasta, a lame excuse for a version of pulled meat pasta. I take it all back. Ordering two, we were almost in a daze, entranced to lick the plate clean.
Bravo to Bravo for representing Catalan cuisine. Barcelona is proud of its distinct flavors and the quality of fresh catches. I want to copy and paste the words right off their website. “The main character is simply in the plate.” Whether it is meat, fish, poultry, the main attraction always shines bright. In translation, I believe without all the bells and whistles is when food is truly enjoyed.
Here are more pictures of my trip (via Instagram).