La Pepita is a family run restaurant launched in 2010. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. (It’s mostly family run, small businesses – “this is our second living room” places “and we also serve some food here, my brother will fix you up a drink and don’t wake up my nan who is sleeping in the corner” – kind of city.)
Nan isn’t in the corner at La Pepita (named after “the “female” version of the Pepito, a baguette filled with veal steak that is a classic.” ) What you find instead is a French bistro style restaurant, complete with Paris metro style tiles adorned with an abundance of graffiti. There are clear signs that this is Barcelona; the ubiquitous Jamón, long necklaces of garlic suspended from the ceiling and Vichy Catalan as the only choice of sparkling water.
The menu is made up of sandwiches (pepito) and small plates to share. I wouldn’t call them tapas because to my mind – tapas tend to fit in an ashtray, whereas at La Pepita they come on larger plates and are plated with lots of layers to create volume (a lot of love for squeezy bottles and Japanese mandolins in this kitchen). There is a tendency for a shaggy presentation: lots of leaves and herbs, whole and chopped, strewn about the plate helping to convey a feeling of abundance. Then there is the sauce – quite a lot of it, although not all the same – different types.
The food is eclectic – it goes off in all kinds of directions, like the firecrackers during Festa Major. A plate of lightly cured salmon with fennel and tart apple sauce which is lovely and light and sprinkled with two herbs you never encounter in this city – dill and chives. Deep fried squid rings smothered in a kimchi mayonnaise (€6.95). White and green asparagus with ginger vinaigrette (€9.15).
I like the overall vibe more than anything. To my mind, the food pairings tend to walk on the mad scientist side a bit. And I feel like I am missing some sort of flavour theme to unify it all – although visually it is very cohesive in the general application of shagginess and zig zags of sauce. Meanwhile, Tripadvisors swoon over this place.
See this and find more addresses on my Foodie in Barcelona Map