WANT: Tasty tapas at affordable prices
Occasion: Great for quick bites or short dinners with groups
Location: Carrer de Mallorca, 236, 08008 Barcelona
Phone: +34 932 160 368
Reservations: Not accepted
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8 am – 1:30 am, Sat – Sun: 9 am – 1:30 am
Prices: Reasonable (around 20€ for dinner and sangria)
I heard about Cervecería Catalana from my sister’s friend who said it was her favorite restaurant in Barcelona after living here for a year. Now I can tell you from my own experience that her advice was not misleading. The restaurant is located on a street right off Passeig de Gràcia, not far from Casa Batllo. It’s hard to miss because there’s usually a long line outside it. The dark, trendy restaurant stretches across two large rooms, yet it’s always packed – which definitely says something about the quality of its food. On the downside, this means that there’s always a wait. They don’t accept reservations so when I went with my parents, we put our name down at 7:45 pm and it was already full with a 30 minute wait. By 8 pm, customers had to wait at least an hour! I suggest going at unpopular times such as after 4:30 pm for lunch or before 7:30 pm for dinner. If you go at a busy time, however, you can grab a pitcher of sangria and some appetizers at the bar or out front while you wait for a table.
Another downside of the restaurant’s popularity is that once you finally get a table, it’s not the most relaxing experience. When I brought my parents here for dinner it lasted only a little over an hour. Although the waiters are extremely friendly and helpful, they made us feel rushed; like they were trying to get us out as soon as possible so they could serve the next customers in line. This is a very different vibe from most tapas restaurants, which often bring each dish out at a leisurely pace and make you feel like you never have to leave. Despite its sleek and fun atmosphere, large group tables, amazing food and service, and affordable prices, I fear a celebratory dinner would be too short-lived at the restaurant. In this way, Cerveceria Catalana is the perfect place if you want to eat a quick delicious tapas meal with friends, but don’t expect to stay a long time without feeling pressure to let the next person enjoy it. Nevertheless, I stand by my sister’s friend in saying that the wait – or an extremely late lunch or early dinner – is worth it.
In terms of the food, the dishes are mostly pinchos or pintxos (small snacks) but each bite packs in tons of flavor. One blog aptly explains in Tapas Hopping in Barcelona – 4 places not to miss! that Cerveceria Catalana’s “menu is so extensive, it’s almost like a tapas dictionary.” My parents and I started with a tasty sangria. The sweet wine concoction came with orange and lemon slices, but I would have liked it if it had a bit more fruit in it. Shortly after getting the sangria, we got a plate of Iberian ham. The succulent, lean Iberian ham tasted great with the greek salad, which included tomatoes, red peppers, fresh cheese (my favorite part of the dish), and two slices of pan con tomate. The fried artichoke was the next dish to arrive. Though crunchy and flavorful, Cerveceria Catalana’s fried artichoke came in small pieces, as opposed to my favorite fried artichoke dish which includes full artichoke hearts at Cal Pep. Nonetheless, I cannot find one bad thing to say about Cerveceria Catalana’s codfish skewer. It was a small dish composed of a fresh, buttery piece of cod perfectly accompanied by a sweet tomato and eggplant chutney. It was so delicious and had such great value (less than 4€ for its high taste and quality) that we had to order a second. After tasting the codfish skewer, the grilled shrimp seemed disappointing by comparison. Once we peeled the shrimp, there was barely any of it left to eat. While I wouldn’t suggest ordering the grilled shrimp, I think the “Cabreaos” eggs style is a must. The big, filling dish includes shoestring fries with a spicy sauce and two poached eggs on top – which the server mixes in front of you at your table. We also enjoyed the grilled cuttlefish (another large dish which is similar to grilled calamari) and the mini burger (a high quality beef burger topped with caramelized onions, cheese, and ketchup on the side).
Despite its top quality and taste, the food at Cerveceria Catalana is reasonably priced. Each individual tapas dish costs around 4€. Together, dinner and drinks will end up costing around 20€ per person – an amazing deal for what you’re getting! When I went with my parents, we were so stuffed by the end of our 20€ meal that we couldn’t even order dessert.
My parents loved the restaurant so much when I brought them there for dinner that they went back to it the next day for lunch. I highly suggest visiting Cerveceria Catalana the next time you want to enjoy a quick, amazing meal – and don’t forget to try the codfish skewer or “Cabeaos” eggs style. I, along with the 3,690 other people who said the restaurant was “excellent” or “very good” out of the 4,224 reviews on Trip Advisor, don’t think you’ll be disappointed.