Jen and I went to Cafe Barcelona for lunch one day. We were actually wandering down Granville and weren’t sure where to go when we happened by Cafe Barcelona. It looked kind of interesting and I vaguely recalled having heard about it a while back so we decided to check it out.
Cafe Barcelona serves Spanish tapas and I guess since tapas is more of a mid-afternoon or late evening thing, we were the only ones in the restaurant at lunch time. We weren’t sure what we should order so we decided to each order a couple of items to share; after all, it is a tapas place.
First was the patatas bravas, which was fried potato pieces with a side of spicy tomato sauce and aioli ($2.75). The potatoes were very crispy, which I liked and the tomato sauce had a hint of garlic in it although it was not spicy at all. I actually enjoyed the aioli more than the tomato sauce although they went quite well when mixed together.
Next was pimientos rellenos, which was a small red Spanish pepper stuffed with cod bechamel cream ($2.90). I couldn’t really taste the cod flavour in the cream but the bechemel itself was made quite nicely and the pepper itself was full of flavour. There was only one small piece of bread that came with this and Jen and I used it to sop up the leftover bechemel in the dish.
The brochetta pulpo was next and although the menu noted that it was octopus with olive oil, potato, and sweet red pepper, we only had potatoes and octopus on our order. In any case, the octopus was grilled just right and had a nice char grilled flavour to it. The potato was quite firm, which contrasted with the octopus and the whole thing was drizzled with paprika and olive oil. I quite enjoyed this.
Our last item for this round of ordering was champinon, which was mushrooms with caramelized onions and ham. I’m quite a fan of mushrooms and these button mushrooms were quite flavourful and stacked on top of a small toast with the sweet onions and salty ham. I didn’t think the drizzle of aioli or mayo on top was necessary as it tasted just fine without it.
At this point, Jen and I weren’t sure if we were full so we decided to order a few more items. The bonito was supposed to be bonito with mayo, red pepper, and egg with a prawn on top ($2.75). To our surprise, it turned out to be what seemed like canned tuna with mayo and we could not detect any presence of the pepper or egg. The prawn itself seemed to be just steamed or boiled and lacked flavour. There was too much mayo in this for my liking and it was a bit of a letdown after the success of our initial dishes.
Our last dish of the day was the txistorra ($3), which was a basque sausage served on a small piece of toast. The basque sausage was quite flavourful but seemed to be a bit dry. Again, this was a bit of a letdown.
I’m not sure if we ordered the right things but I think if Jen and I had stopped after our initial round of ordering, we would have been quite pleased with our visit to Cafe Barcelona. However, we both lamented afterwards that our two final dishes just did not compare to the dishes we first ordered. That being said, now that I know what I like and do not like at Cafe Barcelona, the next time I’m there, I know which items to order again and which ones I should forego. I should also note that the dishes themselves are quite inexpensive but they are also quite small, being tapas, so pace yourself accordingly.
1049 Granville Street, Vancouver