Espardenyes as served at Paco Meralgo


One of the best tapas bars in Barcelona.

You’ll find Paco Meralgo in Eixample Esquerra on the corner of Carrer Muntaner and Carrer Còrsega.

It’s a popular spot for well-heeled locals and discerning visitors disenamoured with the often crowded  spots such as Cal Pep and Cerverseria Catalana.

It’s not an everyday drop in on the way home from work for a bite, a beer and a chinwag, unless you’re reasonably well off.

It’s certainly an experience—the food here is very good, if a little more pricey than other tapas places. But I think it’s worth paying the extra as an occasional treat.

It’s one of the only places in the city I know of where you can order espardenyes—Catalan sea slugs—so called because they look a little like the eponymous rope soled sandals (espadrilles in castellano and English).

These bottom feeders exist only on the Catalan coastline. They have a unique flavour—somewhere between lobster and scallops, and in terms of texture, somewhere between mussels and prawns. If you enjoy seafood then they are definitely worth a try.

Other excellent dishes I’ve tried here include fricandó — braised veal and mushrooms in a smooth, rich gravy-like sauce; and courgette flowers with mozzarella.

A good test of any tapas spot is the patatas braves — a simple and ubiquitous dish but seemingly difficult to get right. Here the patatas braves are served with a lightly spiced oil and real allioli—not some cheap gluey mix of mayonnaise and spicy ketchup. They are probably the best bravas I’ve tasted in Barcelona.

If you’re looking to experience quality tapas while in Barcelona then Paco Meralgo is worth a place on your itinerary. You may have to wait a while for a table — though, unusually for  a tapas place, you can book a table.

If you’re on a budget then be careful when ordering wine by the bottle—it’s not cheap.

Friendly and efficient service and all-round relaxed ambience.

And, as a bonus, they serve tasty and reasonably priced paellas to take away at the weekend.

Bon profit!

For more information, including opening hours, a map and telephone number, check out the Spotted by Locals Barcelona write-up HERE.


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