Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Food | Bodega Biarritz 1881 | Barcelona

Everywhere you look in Barcelona, all the restaurants are serving tapas and we hardly sampled any. So for our next meal, again relying on TripAdvisor, we quickly determined our next place as one ranked #64 out of 5633 restaurants in Barcelona based on 141 reviews with prices starting from £4. The place? Bodega Biarritz 1881 located in the Gothic Quarter, about 5-10minute walk away from our hotel down Las Ramblas.

Reviews forewarned that the place was small and it was likely you would have to queue up, but the price was cheap for tapas and that is a thumbs up in my book and my pocket. We got slightly lost trying to find the location but quickly located ourselves and walked inside to find that about 5 minutes after, a red rope was hung across the door entrance - a sign to let passers by know that the place was full.

Upon arriving and signing that we needed a table for two, we were shown to probably the smallest table we ate at in Barcelona, if not ever. It was a semi circle against the wall which hardly had any space for our plates and drinks. We surveyed the place and was eagerly looking out for people who were near finishing on a large table so we could move and about 20 minutes into our food, a larger table freed up - hurrah!

Most of the tapas are on display, and with specialities made to order via a chalkboard just behind the display. There is a lady with black hair and a strong fringe (who I can only presume to be named Stephanie Francis judging by the only female name in the manager's comments on TripAdvisor) owning the bar who's attention you need to catch and she would promptly bring out a large plate with tongs. To order, you would have to basically point your finger at which tapas you want, she places your choices on the plate to then heat up and arrive at your table within 10 to 15 minutes. Pretty fast service!

My only gripe with the place, other than the small tables and small place in general, is that the tapas are not labelled nor with their prices attached so the only way of finding out what is what is by asking. Since I had never been to this place before and tapas is a relatively new thing to me, I asked Stephanie what the variety of tapas were only for to respond - "Sorry, can't tell you, the music is loud, it's really busy. Just point to what you want and I'll tell you." Not the greatest response and resulted in us spending near to €60 in the place, our most expensive meal in Barcelona.

Yes the food is good, and the atmosphere is something else but if the restaurant has been in existence since 1881, surely they can afford to expand the place? By the time we left, there was a queue of people waiting to get in - obviously a nod to its popularity. My OH commented that maybe it is a small family business and therefore quite difficult to expand logistically - my solution? Create a conveyer belt style restaurant similar to Yo! Sushi - it would lose the traditional feel of a typical tapas bar of Barcelona, but I'm sure that more people would be able to be served without having to say "excuse me" every 2 seconds to walk up and down the display of tapas.

AddressCalle Vidre, 8, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Contact Number: +34 618 67 79 27


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