After lunch in Lascar 74, we had carajillos in a café on the Rambla de Raval and then went to meet Hilary (from The French House) at Walter’s Bar in Plaça de Vicenç Martorell. I’m sure I had another 3 rosados before heading up to Oli’s flat at about 7.30. I had time for cup of tea and then it was off out for supper (just as well, since the ceviche didn’t keep me feeling full for long)!
I went out to meet Jonas and Silvia at La Bodega d’en Rafel – this was one of several meals on the evenings leading up to their wedding (where friends of theirs were arrived from afar). Tonight we dined with 3 chicas from Colombia and a chico from Paris. La Bodega d’en Rafel is yet another fabulous old school bar in Sant Antoni which has a local clientele and serves excellent, inexpensive, tapes. Sharing food makes for a such good way of getting to know new friends.
We were seated at a long table at the back, along with other customers. Jonas and Silvia are obviously regulars here – the owner and staff were very very friendly. We were given a single menu sheet (above – click to enlarge) in Catalan and what one does is highlight the required tapas with a marker pen. It’s worth noting that this is not a tourist bar and they are unlikely to speak English. However, they do have a menu in English for those that need it.
Silvia made short work of marking the llistat de tapes and plates of food soon started arriving on the table. The first being uncooked items, such as pa amb tomàquet (Catalan tomato bread),
formatges variats (a selection of cheeses)
and jamón serrano.
Large, fluffy croquetas came next
along with seitons (boquerones – anchovies cured in vinegar and served in olive oil)
and some excellent calamars a la romana (calamares a la romana – crispy fried squid rings).
Somehow I managed to photograph the braves (patatas bravas) before the salsa brava (a hot chilli and tomato sauce, often mixed with mayonnaise these days) was poured on top – when everyone is sharing, one has to take the pictures quickly before the food is literally grabbed from the plate!
These bunyols de bacallà (buñuelos – salt cod dough balls) were excellent!
The above are large prawns, deep fried in breadcrumbs, not unlike something that one might have in a Chinese Dim Sum restaurant. I’m not entirely sure what they are called in Catalan, but the purple ink on the menu suggests that they are torpedos.
Aside from the pebrots (peppers) and pop (octopus) that failed to make it to the camera, the final two dishes were the above, amazingly delicate lacón (cured white pig shoulder) sprinkled with pimentón
and the very best hot, spicy caragols (caracoles – snails) I have ever tasted.
I drank vino tinto (red) here – this is the type of old fashioned establishment that only believes there are two types of wine. Rosado is not considered to be correct.
While I was enjoying the last two dishes, Nookie and Lena Diaz (famous New York butcher) arrived. This was a complete coincidence – Lena had insisted on taking Nookie to La Bodega to try their tripe and other offal dishes. This meant that I got to taste the tripe and catch up with Lena, who was leaving tomorrow.
When we got the bill, the total came to €69.50 between 7 of us – the owner only charged us for food, providing all the alcohol (quite a few red wines, beers and cava from a porron) as a wedding present! As is traditional, we were treated to shots of heirbas (a strong liquor from the Balearic Islands), as a thank you for our custom.
Jonas had just been telling me about someone who drank a whole bottle of heirbas here, thinking it was a non alcoholic drink – above, he lets the genie out of the bottle…
La Bodega d’en Rafel is at: C/ de Manso 52, 08015, Barcelona
Afterwards, Silvia took the Colombian girls out dancing and apparently they didn’t come home until 9am! I went to Bar Babia for a drink and catch up with Lena and Nookie, somehow ending up with them in a bar on C/ Ample until the madrugada. The manager is a friend and she locked the doors, turned out the lights and we were drinking cava until 5am!
Oh Mad – what on earth is your secret 🙂 ? In spite of an unfortunately big appetite for well-cooked food and a more than reasonably hollow leg as far as the one glass or ten is concerned, I would have piked out hours before!! May your body be in agreement with your mindset for a long, long time!!! The anchovies, pig shoulder and snails: please hand over across the screen: hmmm, you know anything fried and crumbed I do not see . . . 🙂 !!! Huge fun as far as friends were concerned . . .
Ha ha – my secret is in pacing myself and keeping the food topped up. The good company helped to keep me awake 😉 I have to confess that I was having a great time around 4pm and it took a considerable amount of will power (and 30 minutes of talking, myself into it) to stand up and leave, but I knew I had to get up the next day and carry on!
learning from a master . . . 🙂 !
That is my kind of night! Sounds like good food, lots of drink, great company and Colombian dancing. I had a similar night in Mexico city. After a full day of work we found a mezcal bar and dinner then a house party that brought us to sunrise…. And back to work by 8a. Completely unacceptable but necessary. There were boquerones involved 😉 and carajillos of course. Be well! Xo
Tú tienes mucha marcha también! It sounds like you’ve been having fun too! I’m sure the carajillos help, they give you a little boost when you are flagging 🙂
my goodness, MD – your capacity!!!! lol – reading your adventures in Barcelona takes me back to a time gone past – having this kind of fun ALL NIGHT and then straight back to work in the morning 🙂 🙂 JS started to ‘drool’ over the anchovies, snails and cava for me (oh what a mixture) – look forward reading about the wedding. Take care and stay safe 🙂 🙂
Carina – what on earth would happen if we all met in Barcelona and Mad showed us the way . . .ooh, that would be dangerous . . . 🙂 !
Ha ha – it takes me back too. For a moment I was feeling 30 again. Perhaps it was the spirit of El Duende 🙂
I have to agree, MD, I would have found this hard going as a young…and I’d have needed chemical help……serious stuff. Wonderful food and wonderful friends….excellent post:)
Thanks Roger – some of my youth still exists in Barcelona. It must be something in the air – perhaps the smell of cooking with olive oil when I get off the airport bus 😉
I love that one meal rolls into the next! Agree with what you say about pacing yourself and eating with the alcohol. In Spain it’s almost unheard of for a Spaniard to drink without eating a little tapita of something. Glasses of wine or beer are also smaller (as they say, why would you want to drink warm beer or white wine?!) and I have to say, apart from the young folk at a botellón or the occasional person at a fiesta, I’ve rarely seen a drunken loutish Spaniard! It’s all about eating, sharing (and well done on getting those photos before everyone else dived in 😀) and enjoying the moment. Hope we get to hear about the wedding…
How right you are. One seldom sees drunk people in these places. It is about eating, sharing and having fun with drinks not getting drunk.
That’s it, in a nutshell! You see a lot of drunken British tourists, who don’t get the way of life. The last time I went to a big Barcelona street festival (in Gracia), it went on all night, but there were hardly any drunks or even police. I don’t drink beer much these days, but you’ve made me realise why people drink quintos.
There’s a lot more to come… 😉
¡Que bien te lo pasa MD!
That sounds like a fantastic night with friends. 😊💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾
Thanks Giovanna – it was almost like a normal night in Madrid, where the city never sleeps 😉
Wow! Sounds like a perfect night out and no breaking the bank. I need to visit soon.
Thanks Nadia – it really was wonderful and even if the alcohol ha been on the bill it would have been cheap 🙂
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