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Sangria in the Rain: Barcelona

For my spouse and I, this is around the time of year where we indulge a bit more due to various personal landmark days. Last year we allowed ourselves to experience the excellent tasting menu of Veritas Tavern in Delaware, Ohio. This year, we made a visit to one of those places that for some unknown reason we hadn't made it back to ever since my relocation to the Buckeye State - Barcelona, the longtime tapas-oriented standout in German Village.

Barcelona was an eatery we experienced firsthand during a Columbus Food Adventures tour of the area. At the time, we got to taste the creations of Chef Paul Yow and, unlike our previous stops, felt closer to a meal than a sampling. We enjoyed everything from a panko-crusted crab-stuffed salmon with a cherry gastrique to their house made hummus with an assortment of veggies to their baby spinach salad replete with Marconi almonds and feta cheese. While the chef had changed since that initial visit (Yow moved on to establish the Korean-leaning Hae Paul in downtown, with sous chef Jacob Hough receiving promotion to Executive Chef), the Spanish-oriented menu had not. It was as good a time as any for us to get ourselves reacquainted.

A quick glance at the Barcelona's website reveals a fascinating history for their space, including stints as a Hoster Brewing-owned saloon, a bowling alley, a speakeasy, and a long run of ownership by the Deibel family. Barcelona has enhanced the space decor-wise since it took ownership in 2002, but much of the structural essence developed over the years has remained the same - the 1907 fancy oak bar remains a focal gathering point inside, and walking inside on the uneven floors reminds you that many folks have stepped through this space in its existence.

For this visit, we took a seat out on their greenery-laden outdoor patio, which does a good job of making you forget about the cityscape (albeit a picturesque one, mind you) of the surrounding German Village neighborhood. After doing some serious consideration of the mains (the paella will have to wait for another visit, we determined) we decided sharable dishes would be the way to go.

We started with appetizers from Barcelona's "Chorizos Embutidos y Quesos" selection, which features various meats, sausages and cheeses paired up with other food items to bring out a combination of flavors. Our five selections were all quite tasty - standouts for us included the two cheese combinations (the Olive Manchego soft sheep’s milk cheese with cuquillo olives matched with Basque peppers, and a sharp-flavored Valdeon, fashioned with a combo of cow and goat’s milk cheese, which you married with a dab of date walnut cake) and the Salchichon de Vic, a peppery sausage made of pork, beef and garlic which didn't need but matched up well with the whole grain mustard provided.

We followed with a few of Barcelona's tapas dishes. My spouse this day was full-on intent on trying the baby octopus (Pulpo con Chorizo), and as someone who isn't a big seafood fan, I was fully intent to let my spouse enjoy the entirety of this dish sans a small taste from me.  However, the tenderly grilled baby octopus combined with spicy sausage, Manchego cheese in chimichurri turned out to be my favorite flavor combo of the tapas dishes as well.

Not that the other two tapas dishes were slouches - the Panceta promised crispy and fatty and didn't disappoint, matching up well with a green tomato gazpacho and tomato jam. Meanwhile, the Tomates Asados provided a more subtle and refreshing taste experience, with Roma tomatoes topped with caƱa de cabra cheese accompanied by fried basil, Marcona almonds, and a honey balsamic reduction.

Barcelona has a bit of a phone book's worth of wines available with your dinner, which could be a bit of an issue if you aren't a wine aficionado (we enjoy wine, but it isn't our alcoholic beverage of preference.)  One could easily ask for your server's suggestion or go with one the far less numerous craft beer selections, but here we went with a third option by smapling this eatery's sangrias, with the ginger- and peach-laced sangrias our favorites. We ended our night food wise with a special celebratory dessert (it seems it's impossible to screw up a Tres Leches cake, and Barcelona does a very sweet without being cloyingly so version) and Spanish Coffee,

Service was spot on throughout the night, as were spotty thunderstorms that blew over the restaurant throughout the evening and doused the patio at various moments. Barcelona's staff members were more than willing to relocate us inside, but thankfully for us, the patio umbrella at our table was large and the winds not too blustery, allowing us to sing a happy refrain as we enjoyed sangria in the rain.

Barcelona Restaurant
263 East Whittier St. (German Village - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43206
(614) 443-3699
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Barcelona Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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