Bar del Pla is the fantasy we all have of tapas in Barcelona. To navigate the streets of El Born, past the slow-moving crowd outside the Picasso museum and out into a sunny square. Two stools tucked under a sliver of marble counter that continues through the window and into the tunnel like, vaulted space that is the animated heart of Bar del Pla.Bar del Pla, they’ve underlined it. No false modesty there. They’ve taken tapas and done two things: invested in the primary product and given it a little twist, a pinch in another direction to render the all to familiar into something worth seeking out.
They haven’t (little moment of thanks here) taken the concept of bravas and turned them into unnatural cylinders, or worse rectangles, with pea sized blobs of sauce. They’ve left that greasy spicy concoction alone, it doesn’t need tweaking, it’s perfect just the way it is: wedges, mayonnaise, red sauce (4€). Coca is served with smoked sardines on a bed of mango and tomato with tendrils of rocket for peppery punctuation (8.4€). When our crispy ox tail with foie gras (6.2€), our waiter moves the mosaic of our plates around so our hot dishes are the closest to us. “Eat the hot ones first, that is when they are at their best.” the man who serves us tells us. Telltale sign of pride, of respect for what is going on in the kitchen. They are “just” tapas after all but this particular one is best eaten hot. As are the croquetas (1.8€) the length of a pencil. The kookiest dish we have is one of shaved raw mushrooms, strawberry, mint and a mild wasabi dressing (6.5€). That’s the food. The other reason to come here, not that you need it, are the wines – 100 different bottles available for every wallet size and taste. Biodynamic, organic or straight from the barrel.
Bar del Pla
C/ Montcada 2
08003 El Born