Review of 'Paco Meralgo'

Paco Meralgo is a trendy tapas restaurant serving high-end, delicious tapas in a small restaurant just south of Diagonal near to the University in Barcelona. We were pointed to the restaurant by a friend and warned to phone for a reservation which turned out to be a good idea as the soonest we could get a booking was five days later on a Tuesday when the restaurant first opened at 8 pm (we were told a tip is that if you don't have a reservation to show up right at opening, before the locals, and ask to be seated at the bar near where the tapas is prepared). We found the place right on a residential junction…very quiet as it had not yet opened. We lingered around until they opened the doors then were shown to our small table against the wall immediately beside the bar and with high stools to sit on. The waiter having taken our coats we sat down to puruse the menu to decide on what we wanted…Thoughtfully we had been provided with an English language menu so ordering was simple. Most of the menu was of “half portions” being half the size of normal tapas portions but perfectly fine for us.

  • 2 x “Toasted bread with tomato” (£2.05) - Very nice toasted bread rubbed lightly with tomato. Tasty and quite subtle.
  • “Iberian sausage assortment” (€8.75) - I found this plate of sausage slices very tasty but incredibly rich, too rich for my companion who largely gave this a miss.
  • 3 x “Cuttle fish “Obama” croquettes” (€1.85) - These tiny deep-fried croquettes were black on the inside (with cuttle fish ink) and delightful little morsels of cuttle fish served perched on a tiny drop of sauce on the plate. I loved them but my companion did not.
  • 2 x “Courgette flowers with Mozzarella cheese” (€4.10) - Delicate and very, very mild. It was surprisingly juicy as the mozzarella was incredibly fresh (with a lot of liquid) but in a nice crunchy shell of the deep fried courgette flowers.
  • “Grilled green asparagus” (€5.70) - Sautéed briefly in some olive oil, these were perfectly cooked.
  • “Local octopus with candied onion” (€7.30) - I really liked this but my companion found it too fishy. The octopus was nicely grilled with the onion adding a bit of flavour and a different texture.
  • “Ox-tail stew with potatoes” (€7.40) - I really like ox tail with it's gelatinous texture but beefy flavour. This was done very well and tasted very meaty.

The food came as it was prepared but at no point was our table overwhelmed with dishes so we were able to eat at our leisure. The dishes were always fresh, piping hot (when it should be so) and arranged nicely when it arrived - Even when the place got very busy.

For dessert we were going to give it a miss but we were talked into having a look at the separate dessert menu and chose an assortment of freshly prepared patisserie. We let the waiter choose four servings from the three different items on offer (at €1.80 each). One was an alcohol-soaked sponge which we did not like but the other two, one chocolate and the other an orange jelly, we really enjoyed. Nicely small and delicious.

As we ate, the restaurant slowly filled up with a number of obvious regulars enjoying their food and laughing with the employees. It was quite loud and extremely crowded in the small interior by the time we left at about 9 pm. It was a buzzing and happy place though with quite an up-market clientèle.

At €68 it was probably the most expensive meal we had in Barcelona but we were quite satisfied. I found the food enjoyable and well prepared but I am not sure it was worth the reservation hassle and the rather long walk from the metro station…but certainly quite good.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2016-03-29


Cuisine: Spanish

Address: Carrer de Muntaner, 171, 08036 Barcelona, Spain

Public Transport: METRO Diagonal METRO Hospital Clinic

Location: Barcelona (Spain) - Eixample

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Telephone: +34 934 30 90 27

URL: http://www.restaurantpacomeralgo.com/