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Sep 30, 2007 05:20 AM

Another great restaurant bites the dust....

My husband and I went to Cafe Barcelona in Chestnut Hill last night only to find out that it closed. I am so upset over this, this was my go to place for good homemade tapas in a casual inexpensive setting. Now the only place to get tapas it to make the trek into the city for Amada, Bar Ferdinand, or any of the other new high end and higher price places. This reallly was the perfect little neighborhood spot.

I have no idea why they closed, but I imagine it was for financial reasons. The place never really was full, and often was on the empty side. I really cannot understand why they did not get more business, the food was great, prices reasonable, service friendly, they got good buzz on this board and overall had a really good reputation. And it breaks my heart to see a good restaurant close (I think there is an article in this month's Philly Mag on this topic). My experience is that you always get the best most soulful food in the small locally owned places. I do not understand how chain restaurants are filled to the brims where some wonderful smaller restaurants are empty some weekends. This phenomoenon is expecially prevalant in the burbs. Everyone says there is no good food in the burbs... you know why.... we do have some great restaurants but they all seem to go out of business because people are too busy going to Outback to stuff their faces with a bloomin' onion!

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  1. It is sooo true. I think foodies/chowhounds are outnumbered by those who choose to go to the "safe" restaurants where they know exactly what they are going to get. It is the fear of the unknown for them. Sadly, it means the demise of some very good restaurants. :(

    1. Hi,
      It is too bad that when you decide upon going out for dinner in the Phila area that you have to go to Out Back. There are so many great restaurants in Chestnut Hill and also in the surrounding areas. Most people in general in our area do not read the restaurant reviews in the magazines and newspapers and they only decide to go to the restaurants that are advertised on TV. It is like being provinceal and never leaving the city to vacation in another area of the country. People do not know what they are missing.

      1. ah, i feel your pain. two summers ago, all i could rave about was a lil place in manayunk called fish tank (the name may have done it in, as well). i looooooooved going there for sunday brunch on my bike rides down the schulykill river trail - i especially loved that it was totally uncrowded because the masses flocked to the WAY inferior le bus brunch. (which i tried twice and immediately felt remorseful) well, loved the uncrowdedness of fish tank until it finally closed its doors, anyway. shame.

        1. I am a Mt Airy resident who is obviously also a food lover and I admit that I never got over to cafe barcelona despite having read about it in city paper(?) over a year ago. I also have been to amada and ferdinand and tria and tinto many many times times so it's not like I don't enjoy the style of cuisine. I do think that they didn't promote enough (I recall tripping over the place's location going back to my car with my son after getting ice cream from Bredenbeck's). Also lets face chestnut hill/ mt. airy/ germantown people aren't that adventurous about food anyway (the every bustling "Trolley Stop" restaurant and horrible Chinese place on Germantown Ave and Mermaid lane attest to that).
          I enjoy Bacio (a lot) and From the Boot and Hamlet Bistro and Geechie Girl and I will do my best to visit one of them per week from now on. It's the least I can do to help preserve some decent dining options in the area.


          5 Replies
          1. re: Chinon00

            I agree with you about Chestnut Hill needing more imagination but the Trolley Stop hasn't been bustling in over a decade. It has been closed for many years. Also, I really tried to like Bacio (I had dinner there three times) but their marinara sauce is just too spicey for me. I wish there were more options in the area. Now I read that Citrus is looking for a seller. That was my favorite. Maybe Cake will open for dinner. As for Cafe Barcelona, nice atmosphere - especially outside on a warm night. Dined their twice and wasn't thrilled with the food. Maybe that's what did them in.

            1. re: Chinon00

              Oops, have to apologize Chinon00. I was thinking of The Depot.

              1. re: Chinon00

                My wife and I had dinner at Bacio tonight, together with two friends who live in Mt. Airy and who dine at Bacio frequently. My appetizer (grilled conch) was superb. Two at the table had the eggplant parmagane, which looked and tasted great---the maranara sauce was just right, definitely not too spicey. I had the flounder special, and one of my friends had the tilapia special, both wonderful. Terrific Italian food at bargain prices, and BYO. We definitely will return.

                1. re: lasomers

                  I live in CH and have to say I was sorry that Cafe Barcelona closed. To my way of thinking, the owner just didn't advertise very much....and as anyone who has eaten at this sweet garden spot knows, it IS rather hidden. Had lunch there once, was not enamoured of the meal. Take heart, those of you that hate chains (I am one of those people as well). There will soon be a Cuban Restaurant up near the top of the they are planning a grand opening. I already wrote to the restaurant on the website, craving ropa vieja and platano verde! And got a response! There are also several other restaurants in the works. Take heart....all is not quite dead in CH.

                  1. re: gardens4me

                    Regarding Cafe Barcelona, I also think a larger sign, or some different lighting would have served them well. I live in Mt Airy and spend a decent amout of time in Chestnut Hill. We must have walked by Cafe Barcelona at least a dozen times before we realized there was a restaurant there. It was kind of tucked away, and with all of the foot traffic in the area, just having a chalk board on the sidewalk was not enough. When we finally realized it was a restaurant my wife and I went and had a fantastic meal.

              2. The original comment has been removed