Saturday, November 07, 2009

El Rincon del Artista - tapas in heavy traffic

June 14th. Returning from Barcelona Botanic Garden to pick up our suitcases, and then head for the beach. We needed a quick snack before we should catch our train. What about tapas on a busy street corner. No? Well we thought it was a great idea. Welcome to El Rincon del Artista!

Location: BBBB-

We literaly sat down on a street corner under two large sycamore trees. Cars, lorries, and motor cycles roared as they passed us. Other guests did not mind the noise, as the bar was packed with people, a very good sign for those in need of good tucker.

El Rincon del Artista is located C/ Nou de la Rambla 105, a short walk from the Paral-lel metro station, and a short walk away from La Rambla itself, really!

Service: BBBB+

Very busy staff, with no need of small talk. They seemed rather uninterested, really, but served our drinks very swiftly. El Rincon del Artista had a short menu, and halleluja - in both Spanish and English.

Interior & Atmosphere: BBB

We sat outside, and the seating was not very comfortable. Hard garden chairs placed on cobble stones placed close to each other. When looking in we could see a traditional Spanish bar interior. No nicely decorated tables, rather the completely opposite. No glass, china or cutlery.


We started to smile when the tapas were served. This was the real thing. We ordered Grilled mushrooms (€ 3,20), Croquetas Caseras (€2,50), Calamaris Romana (€4,80), and Patatas Bravas (€2,50). Lunch for two at €14 - a price difficult to match. Here is a short presentation of the dishes:

Grilled mushrooms

Champigñones de la Plancha. Doesn't it sound great? The most delicious little dish is plainly button mushrooms lightly fried until soft in olive oil with salt and pepper and garnished with parley.

An extremely simple dish to make. Deliciously soft and tender, but still with a little bite to them. And with that special mushroom taste.

A bargain at IEl Rincon del Artista for a little over three Euros.

Croquetas Caseras

If you make a simple search on Enjoy Food & Travel - you will find that that I love croquetas, and the croquetas at El Rincon del Artista were no exception.

Made from a smooth, thick white sauce / mash flavoured, in this case, with ham, then rolled in bread crumbs and fried in oil. A delicious combination of soft smooth filling underneath a crisp shell. Very good taste from the cured ham.

Try, them, you will not be disappointed and priced at 2 Euros only, you do not talk any chance at all!

Patatas Bravas

This is another traditional tapa, I have enjoyed many times during my stays in Spain. The trick with these is to get them as crisp on the outside (while not being too greasy), while keeping the potatoes tender inside. Perfectly prepared at El Rincon del Artista.

Patatas Bravas are usually served with a pink, mayonnaise based sauce, flavoured with a little garlic and, I guess, paprika powder, so familiar to Spanish cuisine.

Calamaris Romana

Another specialty separating the professional from the amateur. Two snags are: 1) Dry the calamaris on kitchen paper so they are not soaking in oil. 2) Do not over cook. The squid shall be tender, not tough as rubber.

Another perfectly prepared tapa. Different sized bits, not only rings, soaked in batter and fried. These were certainly made by professionals - dry, crisp, and mouth-wateringly tender.

Beverage: BBBBB

What is better than a pint of Estrella Damm, Barcelona's local beer. Perfect to fit the different dishes, as well as the ultimate drink for a thirsty tourist after a long walk in a summer warm Spanish city.

Rating Rincon Del Artista experience: BBBB (4,176 points)

Lunch served on the pavement, with city traffic roaring only yards away. Decent service, but definitely the place for excellent Spanish tapas, offered at ridiculously low prices.

El Rincon del Artista
c/ Nou de la Rambla 105
ES-08004 Barcelona
Phone: 93 442 12 40

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