On one of the many recent snow days, MJD and I were sick of being in the house and decided we needed to go try a new to the South End spot, Barcelona Wine Bar. Barcelona, located on Tremont Street- in the former Sibling Rivalry location- has another location in Brookline and also nationally, in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. Barcelona is a tapas bar that also prides themselves on their expansive wine selection.
Barcelona’s South End location greets you with a large wood bar, with rustic-inspired seating with wood-pallet walls. The decor made it a very cozy place to spend a snowy night.Our servers, Justin and Dan, were both very knowledgeable and friendly. They helped us with picking out wines and also customized a wine flight for MJD based on his tastes.
We started our night each ordering a wine flight and sharing a meat & cheese plate. The flight was a great way to try different wines. I also liked that Barcelona offers wine by the glass or by a taste (similar pour to what you would get in a flight). This lets you try different wines throughout the night or to have a smaller glass if you just want a few more sips. For our meat and cheeses, we chose the speck, manchego and cana de cabra. All three were great and a yummy start to our meal.
As is traditional with tapas restaurants, we shared all the plates. We ordered the roasted beets, truffled “bikini”, the grilled quail and the spiced veal cheek. The roasted beets were served with pistachio pesto and blood oranges. I loved the pairing with blood orange, incorporating the very seasonally appropriate citrus into our beets. The truffled bikini is like a ham and cheese sandwich, but with truffle. I’m an absolute truffle lover- so this was my second favorite dish. Both MJD and I liked the veal cheek best. The veal cheek was placed on a pureed celery with apple and jalapeno (picture below). It was a delicious and unique dish.
While the food was great at Barcelona Wine Bar, I was a bit disappointed in the portion sizes. We are frequent visitors of Toro (if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s another tapas restaurant in the South End) and our initial impression was that the portions at Barcelona were smaller than at Toro and for a very similar price.
We ended our night with the warm chocolate hazelnut cake to help us stay warm before walking back out into the Boston tundra. This was a great sweet ending to the night and I really liked the coconut ice cream it was paired with.
Final verdict? I’m excited Barcelona opened up in the South End to add a new, good restaurant into our neighborhood and I still want to go back to try their paella, but I have to say Toro remains my favorite tapas spot in Boston.
Have you been to both Barcelona and Toro? I’d love to hear what you think and if you have a favorite.