Posted by - 27 March 2011 - No comments

Cal Pep de Barcelona

Cal Pep is one of the most famous tapas restaurants in Barcelona.   As such it features on 'must-visit' lists for most visitors to the Catalan city, so is arguably a bit of a tourist-trap. People from far and wide queue for hours to grab a stool at the tightly packed bar.

If you've been to Barrafina, the London tapas bar that was inspired by Cal Pep, then you'll know the score with the no-reservations-policy, where you either arrive ridiculously early or join the back of the queue and wait for a stool to become free. However, unlike Barrafina, Cal Pep actually has a backroom dining area that accepts reservation for groups of 4 or more.

Our meal starts with a tasty shot glass of gazpacho soup, served with freshly baked, crusty olive bread.

This was followed by plates piled high with a vista of tantalising treats including crispy, fried artichokes hearts and freshly cut slithers of yummy jamon.

The tortilla at Barrafina is one of my favourite dishes, so I had high hopes for the one at Cal Pep, but I was left disappointed.  The omlette tasted perfectly fine, but I would have prefered  it to be thicker, and the centre to be more yokey and gooey but then I'm partcularly partial to the tortillas served at Barrafina which are made to these exact specifications. 

The tuna tartare was good, but was served slightly too cold and tasted better after being left to sit for a few minutes at room temperature.

And the dessert?  Well it tasted as good as the picture suggests and comprised a shot glass filled with lightly lemony flavoured mousse. 

Verdict: I'd read lots of mixed reviews about Cap Pep, so was pleasantly surprised by my experience.  Contrary to other eatries you typically find on the tourist trail, the food is tasty and fresh. and not ridiculously expensive.  We ate here quite comfortably for around 25 per head including drinks and tips.  Okay, so none of the people dining in the restaurant were locals, but who cares when the food is this good.  My tip is if you don't manage to bag a stool at one of the many tapas bars at La Boqueria it's well worth trying here.
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