The chances of you coming here and not getting wired in about some tapas action are as slim as Dawn French. I have to say this subject is the hardest to comment upon, when you have lived here a while then it is something of a case that familiarity breeds indifference. I imagine were any of you to do a blog on your home town I don’t expect you’d rave about pub grub or Greggs Steak Bakes (actually, scratch that last one, a man tired of Greggs is tired of life)
There is a trick to tapas, take your fucking time. The trick is order a few dishes, get them ate, take a breather, order more. The number of tourist I see who order a load of dishes and I then see half of it getting taken away half an hour later. So my message is allow yourself plenty of time and graze your way through the menu.
As far as specific recommendations this is a hard one so my advice here is general. First avoid anything on the Ramblas, overpriced, microwaved shite, think La tasca and you have the picture. A little walk from the Ramblas is Rambla Catalunya. At the junction of Gran Via and Rambla Catalunya is a place called Cuidal Condal, first up it isn’t that cheap but the tapas is fresh and the selection is impressive.
On the junction of Gran Via and Aribau at Universitat is a place called Aribau 3 which is also pretty decent. These places are a fine example of a general rule, when you see a place take a moment to wander round and look at the tapas they have laid out. If it looks fresh and tasty then wire in. If not, steer clear.
In the Borne area on Carrer Argenteria there is a basque tapas restaurant called Sagardi
The difference with Basque tapas is that the food is served on little pieces of bread and you essentially help yourself to the food laid out on the bar. Now, here is the reason I wouldn’t hold my breath for a Sagardi opening in the UK anytime soon. Each pintxo has a cocktail stick in it and your bill is calculated by counting the number of sticks left on your plate at the end. This form of bill calculation likely to be abused somewhat in the UK, I have visions of a load of people leaving the restaurant looking like Hellraiser in an effort to keep the bill down.
I have to say I am a huge fan of this sort of Tapas, it’s very civilised and gives you the chance to try a wide variety of different dishes. To drink, give the cider a try. It comes in wine sized quantities rather than pints but does compliment the food really well.
Apologies in advance for the “will this do?” nature of this entry. Biblical weather has curtailed the dog walking and I’ll add photos and expand on the two places mentioned above shortly