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Taller de Tapas in Barcelona

What do you all think? That's where I was first introduced to chorizo a la sidra.

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  1. It is ok; comfortable with lots of tables and centrally located in both Barri Gotic and El Born. A little generic and large menu, like tapas 101. My Barcelona friends dub it as a place for people who are afraid of real tapas.

    4 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      "My Barcelona friends dub it as a place for people who are afraid of real tapas."

      I raise hands and feet in agreement.

      1. re: PBSF

        I think that's a little silly. I'm pretty sure most people visiting Spain would always prefer to be in a real, authentic tapas bar. On our first trip to Spain, we ate there on New Year's Day because it was the only open place we could find around lunch time.

        1. re: Jake Barnes

          Taller de Tapas, being opened everyday of the week, lunch and dinner, serves a very important need.

        2. re: PBSF

          It's a chain - enough said. You don't eat at a tapas chain in Barcelona.

          1. " I'm pretty sure most people visiting Spain would prefer to be in a real authentic Tapas bar"
            You have a lot of faith in tourists!

            1 Reply
            1. re: magiesmom

              We laugh our heads off when we hear an American go up to the bar (in a regular bar) and demand tapas. In English. "Can I have tapas?" It's sweet, and you do wonder what they've been told to expect, so for these people (and please, I'm not talking about anyone on this site as you all seem incredibly well informed) Taller de Tapas sounds really OK!

            2. I´ve always eaten very well at the Taller de Tapas branch on Rambla Catalunya. It has a very reliable mix of well executed classic tapas dishes plus some very good daily specials with a more Catalan emphasis. I´ve sent many friends over the years who are visiting Barcelona and they have all raved about it. I think the "chain" criticism is a little harsh as most popular restaurants in Barcelona are mini-chains of sorts. Ciudad Condal is a chain, Paco Meralgo has several other restaurants, Sagardi etc. is a chain, Tragaluz is a chain. The chef who runs Tapa 24 has several other restaurants. It is the nature of business. All sell very good food and are no less "authentic" as a result. Cal Pep has tried to open several other restaurants over the years to no avail and they´ve all closed. Inopia are now mass producing their sauces to sell to other restaurants in industrial jars...

              4 Replies
              1. re: bettybop

                Betty, interesting observation that many places in Barcelona are chains. Our Tapas experience there last summer was mediocre and we found that nearly every place we visited sold similar (if not the same) Tapas unlike San Sebastian where each bar seems to strive for individuality and creativity. I had a vision of a large central kitchen mass producing for all the bars.

                I put my experience down to bad personal selection and minimal research, but that said my choices are usually good in other Spanish towns with equally sparse research. In hindsight, I wonder if it is a result of chain style outlets producing for the very large numbers of tourists.

                1. re: PhilD

                  Your San Sebastian experience was different from ours. We went two years ago and were surprised by the tapas, expecting better overall quality seafood and ingredients. They seemed to rely on mounding everything onto a piece of bread and creating a montadito with mayonnaise topping. Very tasty but not like the seafood in Barcelona! HAving said that, we went on a whim only for a couple of days on a detour and without a guide book so didn´t have a list of places to visit or anything.

                  The mini-chains in Barcelona like Cerveseria Catalana and Taller de Tapas have been producing similar dishes for a long time and before the tourist explosion of the last few years so I think I think it´s a question of classic tapas dishes being fundamentaly appealing to all palates rather than mass-producing kitchens.

                2. re: bettybop

                  The apartment I rent every year is across the narrow street from El Taller de Tapas on Argenteria in Born, yet I never eat there. I did not know it was a chain. It is just that I tried it once on a tapas crawl and found it to be… not really bad, just what I would call chopsuey tapas.
                  Phil, maybe it is not fair to compare any place with San Sé, the capital of good eating! It is true in San Sé, one walks into just about any bar and will find inventive pintxos that defy describing or naming.

                  1. re: bettybop

                    I think it is really unfair to compare tapas eating in Barcelona to that of San Sebastian. The Spanish Basques has a long tradition of tapas eating which they call pintxos. One of the characteristics is that food is placed either on small pieces of bread or on small skewers. The food can be just as delicous as the more complicated offering of tapas. Tapas/pintxos eating in Barcelona is much more recent, mostly in the past twenty years. Before that, there are just handful of these places. They 've adapted both to the more complicated tapas of the Andalucia as well as the Basque pintxos, though the number of pintxos places have really proliferated in the past few years. I have a few older Barcelona friends that deplore this style of eating as they prefer to the more traditional Catalan of eating a sit down meal. It is true that there are "chain" of tapas/pintxos places in Barcelona and many are so large that there is no way to they can produce consistently good food. And they don't have the crowded atmospheric intimacy of eating at small traditional places. These "chain" are not to be confuse with our conception because they are usually only three or four branches, unlike MacDonald or Starbuck. There are many good places in Barcelona that escape this trend abide the concentration is not like those in San Sebastian or Seville. One just have to pick out the good places.

                  2. Ate there for lunch on our first day. Not much personality in the service and the tapas for the most part were bland, and not cheap. When I order a special of the day tapa, and it came to our table and asked why I got fried calamari instead of octopus as per the special....they told me Americans like fried calamari better! And walked away. All in all, not terrible, but expensive for the quality and we're NOT going back!

                    1. You only have to go to Taller de Tapas or Cerveseria Catalana a couple of times over a few days to see that they cater for a wide range of people, and as has been mentioned here, thus serve a very important need. Their simplicity is their strength; good ingredients simply prepared. Something for everyone and also busy restaurants which ensure high turnover and therefore fresh ingredients. I´ve seen families (both Spanish and foriegn), couples, groups and of all ages. I´ve also seen a real mix of nationalities, and alot of Spanish people enjoying themselves. Tapas have been popular in Barcelona for many years and way before it was a popular tourist destination. Barcelona is now a tapas destination and that can only be a good thing. It´s a very satisfying and fun way to eat!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: bettybop

                        I figured Cerveseria Catalana would be a good place for our dinner the first night we are in Barcelona. For a jet-lagged family it seems to be lively enough to keep us awake and user-friendly enough not to befuddle us!

                        1. re: SmokinActuary

                          You might find the menu at Taller de Tapas better suited to a family as they have more choice. Cerveseria Catalan basically serves sandwiches, mayonnaise salads and deep fried tapas. Taller de Tapas´s menu includes more meat and fish dishes, plus quite a few vegetarian options.

                          1. re: bettybop

                            Problem is that we are staying in Eixample near La Padrera so Cerveseria Catalana is more convenient. CC has non-deep fried seafood (Razor Clams a la plancha etc).

                            1. re: SmokinActuary

                              The Taller de Tapas on Rambla de Catalunya is only 5 minutes walk away from Cerveceria Catalana. If you don't feel like waiting forever for a table a Cerveceria Catalana you can always choose Taller de Tapas.

                              FWIW I've tried both Taller de Tapas on Argenteria and Rambla de Catalunya and find the latter much nicer, with better food and service. That being said, the place is what it is: a tapas restaurant for tourists and the affluent and idle. The service is very tourist friendly. They'll make ordering easy for you and you'll have a nice meal. The menu is like Tapas 101. it's a great primer on tapas and Spanish cuisine. Taller de Tapas is the kiddie pool of tapas. Once you're comfortable there, you're ready to move on to bigger and better things.

                            2. re: bettybop

                              Cerveceria Catalana does not only serve sandwiches, mayonaise-filled salads, and deep fried tapas! They have many montaditos, fresh fish options, and plenty of salads without mayo. I'd say the food is significantly better there than Taller de Tapas.

                              1. re: Barcelonian

                                "Cerveceria Catalana … the food is significantly better there than Taller de Tapas"

                                O yeah, no comparison, day and night.

                        2. Taller de tapas is a product made for tourists. I think is not a place to eat real tapas. Near to taller de tapas, in Born area, Sagardi offers fantastic pintxos ( basque country tapas)

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: lozanoaiguafreda

                            I was lucky enough to eat at Sagardi's last Sunday while visiting my daughter in Barcelona. Amazing! It was fantastic! I don't understand why we don't have more places like this in the U.S. I think they would do really really well.

                            1. re: joy314

                              I was wondering about why we don't have these in Montreal and why nobody is opening one of these sorts places. The first thing that came to my mind was that it doesn't fit our food culture and the second was hygiene laws. Leaving food out like that without putting it in a refrigerated display case or under a heat lamp is just unthinkable here. The food safety taliban would have a field day in one of these places.

                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                and people are talking and smoking above, around and inbetween all of the dishes :)

                            2. re: lozanoaiguafreda

                              Azahar of azahar-sevilla.com reports that Taller de Tapas may be moving into Seville !! Now we're really talking "chain"... ;-)

                              1. re: Aleta

                                It turns out that the only connection to the Sevilla Taller de Tapas is the name. Will be checking it out this week.

                            3. Went there a couple of nights ago and found it totally average. Food for the masses. Masses of tourists. I would HIGHLY recommend Cerveseria Catalanya for an amazing Tapas feast for cheap cheap cheap. Also stand out was Fonda Gaig for a more sit down traditional expeerience

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: refilms

                                If you're talking about the bar area, I would agree with you that Ceverceria Catalana is more fun. But If you go for table service, I don't think there's that much difference between the two. Same type of service, similar decor, same level of cooking. I think in that sense they are almost interchangeable.

                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                  I just got back last week and have to say that no matter where you sit the food at CC is far superior in quality to TT

                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                    "Same type of service, similar decor, same level of cooking."

                                    I respectfully disagree on all three counts and agree with refilms that Cerveceria Catalana is much better.

                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      I must have gone on a very bad day, then. Because I found the overall experience at Taller de Tapas on Rambla de Catalunya, better than at post-renovations Cerverceria Catalana. Most of the dishes at the latter were just this side of mediocre. The fried dishes were limp and soggy and the pan con tomate was one of the worst I've had in Barcelona. The rest was okay, with nothing really standing out, much like at Taller de Tapas. As for the service, it was quite chaotic although generally helpful, but I've rarely felt so much like a gringo than during our dinner at Cerveceria Catalana.

                                      Of course that was just one night, last winter and apparently not the norm. Given that everyone on this board seems to love the place, I might give it another shot, but I would ve surprised if I did given the other dining options in the city.

                                      And I don't seem to be the only one who thinks Cerveceria Catalana ain't so great: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6910...