The best tapas in Barcelona

The little hot dishes are sung out to customers

The idea of eating tapas involves the implicit idea of the search, in addition to good food, for an informal, relaxed and fun setting. Therefore, El Nacional’s La Taperia in Barcelona imported a formula that customers love, tapas that are sung out, Malaga-style: the waiting staff call out the recently-prepared hot dishes as they come out of the kitchens and they serve them to the customers who raise their hands and ask for them, like an auction in a market hall. Special care has been taken in this restaurant when choosing the waiting staff, who play a leading role when singing out the tapas and when recommending the dishes to diners and telling the kitchen what people are asking for to match the oer to the customers’ preferences at all times. Therefore, when you sit at a table, a waiter will take your order of drinks and cold tapas, and give you some clues as to what is being cooked in the kitchens. Once served, the party begins.

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A map of tapas

La Taperia’s menu is a real map of the Spanish Mainland, condensed into over forty permanent proposals to which others are added according to the season’s products. Amongst the cold tapas, in addition to the excellent Guijuelo Iberian ham that is available throughout El Nacional, there is also a quality cheese board, meat platter and several salads, such as the personal version of Russian salad, baby broad bean with Iberian ham and mint salad; flaked cod with tomato and olives; fish and shellfish salad and the typical Gildas del Norte.

The show starts with the arrival of the hot tapas. Patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce), ham croquettes, fried eggs, fried fish (cod, Andalusian style squid, octopus, prawns from Huelva) or shellfish (razor shells, steamed mussels). But the stars here are the little rice and noodle dishes; amongst the former, mixed meat and fish, black, shellfish or vegetable paellas. Fideuá (similar to paella, but prepared with noodles) is always served with Catalan aioli (garlic mayonnaise) for diners to add as they wish.

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For lunch or dinner, although based on tapas, varied desserts are a must. These represent the different regions, from Granada’s piononos to Catalonian crème brûlée, including classic dishes such as crème caramel or rice pudding, fruit salad or a version of bread with chocolate, oil and salt.