Bacaro is a small Italian restaurant on one of the side streets leading into the Boqueria. A narrow double-breasted door with a moss green awning overhead. The graffiti on either side more attention-grabbing. Inside it’s all rickety. Worn wooden stairs leading up to the balcony seating upstairs. A tiled ground floor. A few more steps down to the bar and eventual kitchen. Which is tiny. So tiny that there is a kitchen porter peeling vegetables in the unheated garage space off to the side. The one with the graffitied door that so grabbed my attention.
It’s an illusion of sorts. The John Dory and eel that has been scrawled onto the white MDF cupboard doors by a talented vandal. Bacaro has the same owners as Xemei. Possibly the best Italian (Venetian) restaurant in Barcelona and one of the most expensive in relation to location and decoration. Bacaro is not as steep. Neither is it as bound by tradition.
Abundantly clear when my gnocchi, fashioned to look like stubby earplugs, is served with a generous layer of shaved katsuobushi. Dancing as it always does at the miniature draft only katsuobushi can detect.
A squid starter precedes it. The squid is hidden amongst shards of bittersweet snow peas and turning up at unexpected instances. A happy prize for whoever has managed to spear it. There is microplained parmesan, black sesame seeds and a brown powder that I don’t have a chance to identify as I am locked in a battle of portion appropriation with my hungry lunch date.
I order better than he does. My gnocchi with it’s dancing partner far surpasses his tagliatelle with ragu. Which is fine, it’s comforting as it should be but my dish is having more fun. The calamari was to share and we order stewed beef cheeks as a main. Served shaped like a small brick, slightly singed on the bottom and only with a few ying and yangs of pumpkin puree as company. Following the Italian habit of separating the carbohydrate from the meat by course.
Time short, we miss dessert but by that point, it’s busy and ordering it would have eaten into our afternoon.
Bacaro is delightful on many levels. Not least it’s smallness and it’s closeness to the ever-bustling Boqueria. Direct your attention to the starters and pasta dishes, I think you will enjoy them the most.
See my favourite places on my Top 5 page!