May 2010

Bar Pinotxo – Barcelona

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

Bar Pinotxo came highly recommended to The Astronomer and me by an army of trusty folks. From our college teammate Duncan to our food blogging friend Charles to our handy dandy guidebooks, everyone had the nicest things to say about this place.

Located in the wonderland that is the Mercat de la Boqueria, Bar Pinotxo is a fourteen seat tapas bar specializing in hearty Catalan cuisine. It’s the most famous of all the eateries inside the marketplace and is constantly buzzing, from six in the morning until it closes sometime around three in the afternoon.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

On both of our visits to Bar Pinotxo, The Astronomer and I had to wait fifteen minutes for two of the coveted metal stools to open up. Although I would have preferred to have my name jotted down on a sheet of paper and then called out when my seats were ready, the hover-behind-diners-that-are-sipping-espressos strategy worked out quite well.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

The food here is truly fabulous, but it’s Bar Pinotxo’s amiable owner that  keeps diners coming back time and again. Always decked out in a pressed vest and dapper bow tie, Juanito Bayen made sure that we were well fed and well taken care of every time we pulled up a stool. Because the bar has no written menu, it was up to Mr. Bayen to suggest to us what to eat. He sells the daily specials in the same simplified manor as international flight attendants—“pescado or carne?”

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

On our first visit to the bar, we arrived toward the tail end of lunch service. The only choices left this late in the day were carne or tripas. We ordered one of each. The tripas were stewed in a  fragrant tomato broth full of spices. The honeycombed pieces were incredibly tender and soaked up the flavors like a sponge.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

The carne stew was brimming with green peas and potatoes. The meat rivaled the tripe in tenderness. Both dishes were served with crusty bread that was perfect for sopping up the thick sauces.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

For a sweet finish, we sipped a local chocolate milk-like beverage called Cacaolat that Mr. Bayen steamed up nicely.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

We returned to Bar Pinotxo bright and early the following day to taste all the wonderful dishes that we had missed out on the day before. We were greeted with a warm plate of baby squid and light beans called chipirónescon mongetes, the bar’s specialty. Bathed in a warm sauce of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the beans and squid were unforgettable.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

While I was entranced with the chipirónescon mongetes, The Astronomer was served a calamari dish that was very similar in composition to the beef stew that we had eaten the day before.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

Next, a plate of chickpeas sauteed with botifarra (Catalan white sausage) arrived. Spiced with a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, the botifarra‘s unique flavor profile married deliciously with the garbanzos. Following the baby squid and beans, this was my second favorite dish at Bar Pinotxo.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

The Astronomer really liked the clove-infused atún, but I wasn’t too keen on it because I prefer tuna raw or lightly seared. This version was fully cooked through. Pass.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

Instead, I ordered an esqueixada de bacallà (salted cod salad). Comprised of torn pieces of rehydrated salted cod mixed with tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers and dressed with olive oil, the esqueixada satisfied my desire for a light and fresh fish preparation.

Bar Pinotxo - Barcelona

For dessert, we indulged in a rich slice of flan cheesecake and flaky pastries filled with calabaza. The thick shards of caramelized sugar atop the cheesecake nearly did me in.

Bar Pinotxo is as much about the people as it is about the food. I usually don’t like being told what to eat, but when Mr. Bayen does it, it’s all good.

Bar Pinotxo
La Rambla, 91
08002 Barcelona, Espana
Phone: 933 171 731

Previous Post
Next Post

22 thoughts on “Bar Pinotxo – Barcelona

  1. This is the first time I’ve thought to myself, “Hmm… I kind of want to eat that tripe.”

    What a lovely spot! I love restaurants where the chef or owner gets all up in your biz. Wouldn’t have it any other way if I opened my own spot. I’d force everyone to eat quinoa. The menu would be me asking, “Do you want quinoa with edamame or quiona with tofu or quinoa with vegetables?”

    My favorite customers would say, “All of the above.”

  2. Oh the memories! I love your description of trying to get a seat – we went through exactly the same thing but everyone was so polite about it. We didn’t wait long at all. Like you guys we had the squid and beans dish and the chickpeas – and otherwise we just looked, watched and picked out our next dish. It all was just so wonderful. I wish we had gone twice. Thanks for the mention & for the memories. So glad you guys enjoyed it.

  3. I still dream about the garbanzos!! You guys definitely had the right idea by going back! i wish I had an extra day to have done that!!

    I went pretty early in the morning and seats were plentiful. It was great watching the action!!

  4. You guys are gangsta going to places with graffiti on the signs and hoovering behind bar patrons. Can you bring back that squid and bean dish, por favor!

  5. The carne stew and botifarra look wonderful. The meat in the stew really does look tender.

    And flan cheesecake? I didn’t even know that existed, but I’m in!

  6. Hey, the owner gives you more choices than most kids get from their parents at dinner time! The carne stew looks so warm and hearty, and although it is summer that is exactly what I am craving, at least until someone turns off this damned A/C.

  7. The last shot of the Flan Cheesecake looks so rich and delicious. All of the Tapas sounds so good. Can’t wait to read more of your Spain reviews.

  8. Hi Gastronomer,

    Very nice! 🙂 Thanks for another beautiful snapshot of Spain (can’t wait to go :). How does this rank with the places you’ve tried so far?

  9. EK – It’s hard to rank all of the places I’ve tried because they’re all so different! I highly recommend that every tourist swing by this place and have Mr. Bayen tell ’em what to eat 😉 Definitely a quintessential Barcelona dining experience.

  10. Soory then , but the Pinotxos that i know maybe is in other planet.

    the service is horrible, half and hour to serve a caffe cup is to much to me.

    There are no price list, Juanito write down the “bill” in a
    paper strip, the please double chake that you are going to pay that you have consumed.

    Pinotxo is not a gut bar in Boqueeria marquet.

    be advised

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *