Review of 'El Nacional - "La Taperia"'

So one evening on the way back to our hotel we stumble upon El Nacional visible down a side alley off of Passeig de Gràcia. What had caught our eyes was that there were a large number of people going down the alley so we followed them to find this absolute gem. It is a new “dining concept” where the large retro-style interior has a number of different places you can eat and drink: An area for beer, another for Wine, another for Cocktails, another for Tapas (“La Taperia”), “La Braseria”, a place for seafood (“La Llotja”) and a place for meat (“La Paradeta”). All of the areas tend to meld into each other and the somewhat crowded environment gives it quite a vibe and buzz - It certainly looks very trendy. So, worth a visit then…

We visited “La Taperia” quite early in the evening but were told they had no tables so we sat at the bar instead which was absolutely fine except for the occasional person brushing past us. This restaurant has an interesting concept in that there are a la carte sections of the menu that you can order hot and cold tapas from but there are also “Tapas al Cante” - Where a waiter will emerge from the kitchen carrying something just cooked that you can choose to have him deposit on the table. A lot like what you see in some Chinese Dim Sum restaurants. It turned out to be a lot of fun and we ended up trying some really interesting things.

Jambon to start...

We started with their “Paltilla iberica de belotta” (€10) - “Acorn-fed Iberian shoulder ham” served simply on a wooden plate. Absolutely incredible with the ham pretty much melting in the mouth. This was served with a side of their wonderful toasted bread. We then had “Croquetas de jamon iberico” (€5.50) - “Iberian ham croquettes” that were fresh and very tasty. “Albondigas con sepia” (€6) “Meatballs with cuttlefish” that me and my companion disagreed about - I thought they were quite tasty with a great sauce but my companion thought they were too fishy. In any case the meatballs were moist and wonderful with the cuttlefish perfectly cooked. We had some more of their wonderful bread/toast in the form of “Pan de doble fermentascion con tomate, aceite y sal” (€3.50) “Double fermented bread with tomato, oil and salt” that was, if anything, better than the bread we had earlier this time with tomato rubbed across the top and a dash of salt. Surprisingly, still crunchy and not soggy from the tomato. The “Escalivada” (€5.50) “grilled vegetables” (served cold) were OK but lacked any real amount of flavour. After finding out the “Huevos rellenos” (€5.50) “stuffed eggs” appeared to have tuna in it (it was a bit tricky to figure out but the flavour did seem to strongly suggest it) I gave this a miss - Way too fishy for me but my companion ate all four half-eggs in a flash.

We did take advantage of the “Tapas Al Cante” and picked off from the waiter going by “Calamares a la andaluza” (€7.50) “Squids Andalusian style” - A large, very tasty portion of deep fried calamari, then a “Heuvos estrellados con jamon iberico” (€5.50) “fried eggs with Iberian ham” which was a bit odd with the fried eggs but very good.

We were quite full at the end of this but the restaurant was just getting going with temptation after temptation passing by our seats out of the kitchen but we resisted and called it an evening but I can see that you could spend a LONG time here and an awful lot of money too. As it was, we were quite efficient and ate very quickly so survived with a €55 bill…

An amazing atmosphere and really good food with an easy to understand menu. The staff were very pleasant and helpful to us as well (speaking a reasonable amount of English). Coming back we will want to try one of the other “El Nacional” restaurants instead…but could be convinced to return to “La Taperia” to continue our exploration of their menu…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2016-03-28

Cuisine: Spanish

Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 24 bis 08007, Barcelona, Spain

Public Transport: METRO Passeig de Gràcia

Location: Barcelona (Spain) - Eixample



Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +34 93 518 50 53