Time for Tapas in Barcelona

What trip to Spain would be complete without sampling tapas? We had heard about a great little restaurant just north of La Rambla called Ciudad Condal and decided to try it out. The first time we went, the place was packed! There were people at the bar and in a line and up against the walls of the restaurant waiting for a seat so we opted to skip it and try again the next day.

Manchego Cheese

After a day of touring Barcelona, we arrived at Ciudad Condal with our fingers crossed and our stomachs growling. Luckily for us, this time it wasn’t so busy. While we waited, I observed couples at the bar exchanging romantic looks over a glass of wine as well as families and their children waiting to sample a little bit of everything. This is elevated fast food with the servers flying around the restaurant delivering drinks and small plates to everyone while providing great service.

What exactly is tapas? The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, which means “to cover.” Tapas is the name of a wide variety of appetizers or snacks that may be served cold (such as mixed olives and cheese like the Manchego cheese above) or warm (such as chopitos, which are battered, fried baby squid, croquettes, or vegetables). You can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal, which is what we did. We were using our cameras from our phones for these pictures so they aren’t as nice as I would have liked, but you get the idea. This plate below has prawns, clams, croquettes, and more for the meat eaters at my table.

Of course, my husband opted for a Belgian beer in Spain. Go figure!

Is there anything better than grilled mushrooms and asparagus? I was perfectly fine letting them eat their seafood and meat while I hogged the veggies!

This little dish was interesting. What looks like an eyeball is not an eyeball, but cheese. It was something like a 4 or 5 cheese toast with an olive oil drizzle and herbs. Plenty of taste packed into a small bite, the epitome of an amuse bouche, a single bite appetizer.

Time for another round? Why thank you! This time we’ll have yet another Belgian beer (guess who ordered it?), Judas, and an Argentian beer, Quilmes. I had really wanted to try Sangria de Cava made with Spanish sparkling wine, but they didn’t have any here. Next time…

I’ve saved my favorite for last, Pan con Tomate (Bread with Tomato), which is so incredibly simple to make and yet, was one of the tastiest things I’ve had in a long time. You can find a variation of the recipe with garlic on it at the Tapas Bonitas site. This satisfying little dish is full of flavor despite its simplicity.

Next door to Ciudad Condal was a little store called Nostrum with the most amazing spinning gelato wheel in the front window. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it! Ok, I could, but my husband couldn’t! Nostrum serves prepared foods that you can take with you along with gelato and drinks including alcohol. My husband wanted gelato and I left him to figure it out since they didn’t speak English and he didn’t speak Spanish. I know, I know — not nice, but I really wanted him to at least try, which he did. The woman there was so nice and had a great sense of humor and they were able to communicate with each other, half in English and half in Spanish. Not bad! So even if you don’t speak the language of the country that you are visiting, you can communicate if you smile and make an effort. The payoff? Gelato baby, gelato!

Time to leave Barcelona and head home. Next time we will make our way to the Barcelona airport.

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