Carmelitas Tapas - Barcelona
***This establishment is now closed***
Housed in a former convent of Barcelona in the edgy street art neighbourhood of El Raval, is Carmelitas Tapas. A timeless bistro where you can enjoy snacks and dishes that go beyond the typical tastes of Catalan cuisine. A variety of cold tapas and a good selection of wine from close proximity can be uniquely enjoyed as many stem from ecological and biodynamic roots. Renowned chef Xavier Pellicer (worked in Àbac and Can Fabes) and the Tribu Woki group's entrepreneur Guodo Weinberg are the brains and brawn behind Carmelitas Tapas.
El Raval neighbourhood borders La Rambla, which is really central. You'll find this gastronomic gem a couple of streets away from the tremendous Macba (the Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona) and La Boqueria market. We love the location and the fact that upon arriving a bit earlier than expected, we had the privilege to try their acclaimed vermouth at Carmelitas Vermuteria, which is under the same roof next door.
The bistro has had a revamp, as the Tribu Woki group took over as of late 2014 and have fused the typical demand of Catalan food with a selection of international choices such as Moorish kafta organic chicken or Paad Thai style vegetarian dishes among many others. A perfect blend for this colourful neighbourhood, and an ideal option for a delicious lunch or dinner.
We started our lunch with the typical Catalan recipe pa amb tomaquet (tomato rubbed over bread and seasoned with olive oil and salt), patatas bravas (fried, wild potatoes) with a creamy chipotle sauce (made with adobo chipotles, plain yogurt, garlic and lime juice) and cod fritters. We had an insane dish of fried calamaris, which was the icing on the cake. In awe with our picks, we decided to order one more salt dish; the sea scallop salad with shiitake, arugula and mango chutney. The scallops were seared on very high heat so the outside browned and the inside remained juicy. Saving an extra spot for dessert, we had the selection of 4 flans (crème caramel normally made with egg/vanilla). Both sweet and savoury, we enjoyed coffee, orange, coconut and egg flans.
The bistro delivered as promised, in it's laid-back atmosphere with nothing too sophisticated and fair prices for the city centre. In addition, it also offers strong breakfast 'knife and fork' options for those who like to start the day with energy.