May 2010

Tapas 24 – Barcelona


While the Spanish practice of supping quite late might shock some out-of-towners, The Astronomer and I were well prepared for the local lifestyle. Back home in Los Angeles, work is followed by running, then preparing dinner, and finally sitting down to eat around half past nine. For us, it was a pleasure not having to change our natural way of doing things while on holiday.

After landing in Barcelona and getting in a quick workout, we heeded my brother’s advice and Metro’d it to Tapas 24 for dinner. He visited the city less than a year ago and had a terrific meal here after reading about it in the New York Times. “Get the bikini sandwich,” he advised. “It’s ham and cheese on white bread with black truffles. It is really, really good.” Done and done.


Tapas 24, also spelled TapaÇ24, is the least formal of Chef Carles Abellan‘s four restaurants in town. Here, the decade-long El Bulli alum prepares simple tapas with a unique twist. The small and brightly lit room was packed and smoky when we arrived. After a five minute wait, The Astronomer and I snagged two seats at the bar with a full view of the open kitchen.


Since it was our honeymoon and we love living on the edge, The Astronomer and I indulged in two glasses of fruit juice to start. I assure you that I requested a shot of something hard and potent to be added to mine but was refused by the bartender—these juices were meant to be enjoyed on their own. The mango (5€) one was thick, not unlike a lassi, and smooth going down. The berries with mint (5€) was refreshing.


The first dish to arrive was a bowl of bravas (3.50€), crisp french fries doused in a spicy tomato sauce and a thick garlic aioli. We were a little concerned about the liberal use of mayonnaise at first, but needn’t have worried because the ratio of sauce to potatoes was perfect. It wasn’t the prettiest tapa on the block, but it sure was crazy-delicious!


My brother’s beloved Bikini Comerç 24 (8€) came next. Cut into little triangles, the crust-less sandwiches contained jamón ibérico, an unidentified mild white cheese, and flecks of black truffle. It was a delicate little thing with a sensational flavor profile.


One of The Astronomer’s favorite tapas of the evenings was the Iberian ham croquette (1.75€). The breading was perfectly light, while the Béchamel-based innards tasted like the velvetiest mashed potatoes on the face of the earth. The bits of ham scattered about made it extra special.


The fried artichokes (6.60€) from the daily specials menu turned out to be too one-dimensional for our tastes. A little acid in the form of a lemon wedge would have been appreciated.


The spicy tripe stew (7€) was brimming with chorizo and chickpeas, and I manhandled it like a champ. The offally bits were so toothsome that even The Astronomer took a liking to them.


The McFoie Burger (8€) was a taste bud rocker. The beefy patty was fully cooked and interspersed with foie gras, while the bun was unexpectedly thin and crunchy. The pièce de résistance was the foie gras dipping sauce served on the side. A decadent interpretation of an American classic.


Our final savory tapa was an order of pa amb tomàquet (3€), which is available at every restaurant in Barcelona. Literally “bread with tomato” in Catalan, the dish consists of toasted bread rubbed with tomatoes and seasoned with olive oil and salt. The olive oil and tomatoes were fruity and divine. This simple dish will be recreated again and again when I return home.


For dessert, cireres chinchon (5.90€)—fresh cherries served with a shot of anise liquor. Eaten separately, we found the cherries too tart and the alcohol too blunt. Consumed together, the flavors were harmonious.


And last, but certainly far from least, xocolata (5€)—three rich scoops of chocolate mousse garnished with toasted bread, olive oil, and sea salt. The drizzle of olive oil added a delightful and unexpected element to the savory and sweet creation. A glorious ending to a standout parade of tapas. Thanks for the Tapas 24 tip, Bro.

Tapas 24
Diputació 269
Barcelona, Espana
Phone: 93-488-09-77

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33 thoughts on “Tapas 24 – Barcelona

  1. Those Tapas looks so rich and delicious. What a great way to start a Honeymoon. My wife and I went to Barcelona for our honeymoon too, 5 years ago. I wish we knew about this place back then.

    I can’t wait to read about all your other stops in Spain.

  2. I can’t wait to try these! We’re headed to Spain at the end of the month so I can’t wait to read the rest of your entries! Our hotel is two blocks from this place. Thanks!

  3. 😀 The croqueta is creamy smooth because it isn’t mashed potato but a thick bechamel! This place looks fabulous and I’m making a note of it for next time!

  4. Looks good, have passed this place a good few times but never managed to fit it in on our short trips.

    We are big fans of Carles Abellan work, Comerc 24 is one of our all time favorite restaurants – do try and visit if you have time (if you haven’t already tried it).

    We have reservations for next week at Comerc 24 and at his new place Bravo 24 in the W Hotel. Looking forward to it – Ash cloud permitting!

    Inopia is also good fun for Tapas.

  5. There’s a croquette in my post today too!

    But I have a feeling yours was probably better. 😉

    So glad to see you are eating well and having such a good time! You must be if you asked for a little booze in your juice! 😉

  6. Thanks for the head’s up about the booze. I will bring my flask when I come here 🙂 Enjoy the honeymoon and thanks for sharing your crazy delicious tapas with us.

  7. Bao – Too cool that you and the missus honeymooned in Spain! Great minds think alike? Heck yes!

    Mai – The slickness of the oil blends in with the ice cream. All I tasted was wonderful olive-y fruitiness. Mmm!

    Su-Lin – Thanks! I just added a clarifier

  8. sigh… such a feast! those sandwiches with the squished down bread look like something from a childhood dream…

  9. Oh! The sandwich looks so delicate, but hearty! This whole spread looks terrific, must be my spanish blood.

  10. these tapas simply look amazing. I live in Barcelona for 3 years now and I’m constantly on the hunt for good and out of the ordinary tapas and food.

    For high class tapas I can also recommend the Inopia, which is owned by the brother of Ferran Adriá. It is always packed so if you want to pay it a visit, go early of have a bit of patient.

  11. Hi Gastronomer,

    Tapas 24 looks simply lovely. 🙂 Thanks for the review of this place and that Tomato Bread sounds so simple but so good. 🙂

  12. Looks great! Tapas 24 was already on my list of places I wanted to eat at, but now I for sure won’t miss the McFoie burger!

  13. Ah, the memories. Was there this time last year and pretty much had nearly the same things you guys did although we also got the chipirones a la plancha (they were OMFG to die for) and the arros negre de sipia. Great place for pretty decent price!

    Inopia was also good (run by Albert Adria – Ferran’s brother) for modern tapas.

  14. Hi! I am traveling to Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian in the fall. I stumbled upon your blog and am LOVING your reviews. Excellent food photography might I add. Can I ask, are you using the flash in these restaurants, or do you just have a really high quality camera?!

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