Lolea Sangria was set up in 2013 by four friends – an attempt to cast off the down-market association with the drink. Besides using natural ingredients, they came up with a simple but striking design reminiscent of the polka dots of a flamenco frock. Inside, a quaffable cocktail and an ideal gift to bring along to a summer anything.
Next up on the friends list was a place to eat. Food to accompany their carefully calibrated drink. They opened up Casa Lolea Tapas. At the mouth of Pasaje Sert and in the neighborhood of St Pere Mes Alt or the Born / Ribera area.The same care that has been taken with packaging and branding has gone into this place. The focus of the room is a lengthy white-topped bar, the side of which has been designed to look like a haphazard stack of crates for the Lolea bottle. There, the bottles stand or lay horizontally. Legs of jamón, strings of hanging tomatoes for pan con tomate and necklaces of dried peppers. Canned sea food, the Espinaler brand, are wedged up against the glass case above dishes of Gordal olives.
There are plats del dia to choose from, all around the 9 euro mark. Old fashioned dishes like snails. Or a truffled rice. If eschew these, there is a menu of tapas and motaditos to choose from. A large fist sized ensaladilla russa (5.5), an original mackerel in vermouth escabeche (4.5). The Lolea folk are careful to get the best of things from the right places. Sardines from Cantábrico, a selection of D.O.P. cheeses (like the smoky Idazábal 7.9), all sorts of jamon cold cuts from Juan Pedro Domecq.
I think they’ve taken a wrong turn with the bravas (4.8), a dish which unfortunately restaurants around here try to reinvent and reinterpret. Instead of fried chunks of potatoes with mayonnaise and an astringent spicy red sauce – at Casa Lolea Tapas they serve boiled new potatoes under a blanket of mayonnaise and a slightly watery tomato sauce. Not the point of bravas at all.
The room is a happy mix of tourists who are attracted by the clear menu, good-looking design and friendly multilingual waitresses in red checked aprons and discerning locals chatting in Catalan who are here because they know they are being served top quality food.
With tapas hovering around the 5 Euro mark and cheeses and cold cuts around 8 – you ought to find friends to share these plates with. Along with a goldfish sized glass of Sangria if the mood should take you.
Casa Lolea Tapas
Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 49