Txapela (2) – Barcelona

I had wanted to take N to Ciudad Condal because it’s my favourite and I had been raving about it to her, but unfortunately there was a huge line up and I didn’t see my favourite salmon montadito. We were hungry since I got off school really late, so it was already almost 9pm. Typical Spanish time for dinner, but not so much for us! We wandered around Passeig de Gracia, and we walked in Txapela. I had previously blogged about Txapela here: Txapela, and while this one was also on Passeig de Gracia, we later found that they had two locations! This one was much smaller and more like a bar. When we went in, it was basically empty to my surprise..

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Pintxo Gernika – Crab Salad

We sat at the bar and they had some pintxos already pre-made sitting in behind the glass counter. They looked pretty and appealed to us, so we got some. We chose the Pintxo Gernika, which was an imitation crab salad topped with mini massago. This was refreshing. I do find that the bread at Txapela to be much thicker than the ones at Ciudad Condal. It makes you much more full. Something about the fact that they were pre-made and with the lack of customers made me question how fresh the food was. I mean, the food at Ciudad Condal sits at the top of the counters too, but there’s a constant flow of people, so the food turnovers quite quickly.

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Catalan Sausage Pintxo – Catalan sausage tartar with tomato and virgin olive oil and Pintxo Bidasoa – salmon roll stuffed with crab and mayonnaise

Another few also caught our eyes in the counter. N chose the Catalan Sausage Pintxo. She said it tasted like beef tartar but the seasoning was good. Not exactly sure what was on top of it though. We both got the Pintxo Bidasoa. I thought it looked a little like a carrot! No carrots in this pintxo, but smoked salmon! I’ve found a new love for smoked salmon since my time in Barcelona, so it was a must order. I find that the smoked salmon in Barcelona is not salty at all like the ones we have in Vancouver. Imitation crab salad was wrapped with the piece of smoked salmon. It was placed on top of a piece of lettuce and drizzled with mayonnaise and topped with some caviar. Again, I thought this was great, but I found it a little cold. It would’ve tasted much better if it was at least slightly warm.

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Croquette Pintxo – Iberian Ham Croquette and Pintxo San Fermin – Crispy Chicken with “Chistorra” Sausage and Pepper

We decided to order some off the menu, which is on our placemat. I suggested N to try the Croquette Pintxo, since croquettes are very popular and typical in Spain, and most of my friends had enjoyed them. This was one filled with Iberian Ham. Came on top of a piece of lettuce as well. Again, it felt like it wasn’t really fresh. The croquette was just warm, and not hot. It felt like the other Txapela location had more people, so the food was much more fresh. N also ordered the Pintxo San Fermin, which had some mayo at the bottom, a crispy chicken on top, then a padron pepper, and lastly topped with a “Chistorra” sausage. She enjoyed it and said the sausage reminded her of those Chinese sausages you find at barbeque pork houses.

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Kebab Pintxo – Marinated Pork Loin Brochette

For myself, I got the Kebab Pintxo. Wasn’t sure what sort of meat it was when I looked at the picture, but it turns out to be pork loin. It was marinated in a feisty and slightly spicy sauce. We both thought it was really delicious.

Overall, I found this Txapela location to be a little disappointing. Service was great since we were bascially the only diners. They even helped N change her Fanta at no extra cost when we found a fly had flew into the drink. The only issue for me personally, is how fresh their food is.

Txapela – Barcelona

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There are now 3 Txapelas in Barcelona, and the one we went to was one of the larger joints on Passeig de Gracia. When we went in a mid-afternoon, the place was filled with people. It took a while for us to be noticed, and then seated.

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Txapela was recommended to us by a local, but is definitely filled with tons of tourists as it is centered in the city centre and easy to find.

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The menu is basically your table mat, and it shows colourful pictures of pintxos, which have become one of my favourite things about Spain! They are essentially little snacks where the bottom is usually a piece of thinly cut baguette, and on top can be anything from cheese to meat to fish. It really depends on how creative the restaurant gets! Other than that, they also offer some typical Spanish tapas, a few selection of desserts, and drinks. The menu is not in English, but since the pictures are so pretty, I just chose based on the appearance. Not a lot of frustration with ordering since you can just point or say the number.

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These were some of the pintxos that my table ordered. I just love how they always look so pretty, so even if it doesn’t taste good, you can get sold just by the appearance.

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And these were the ones I got. I got the Pincho Urruti, which is a classic cannelloni with wild mushroom sauce. It’s pretty small, but the mushroom sauce was so good. Everything just melts in your mouth. On the right on the plate is the Pincho Mallorca, which is warm brie with spicy pork sausage. This was okay, but I found the pork sausage to have a very strong pork flavour which I wasn’t very used to. Lastly, I got the Pincho Arantxa, which is pictured on the left of the plate. This included prawns, bacon and grilled mushroom, which was my favourite pincho. I just enjoy grilled seafood and grilled mushrooms, and everything was lightly salted, so you could taste the freshness.

The pintxos range from 1.45 to 2.45 euros, so some can be quite affordable. However, you need at least 3-4 of them to be sort of full. As a snack, that is perfect, but for a meal, you may need 5. Don’t order too many at first, as they can really fill you up. You need to remember that each pintxo has a piece of bread under, which for some reason will fill you up! All in all, not a bad pintxo joint, but it is definitely not my favourite. It’s a good place to start if you want to try a variety of pintxos at a decent price though.