The meaning of “tapa” is a lid or a cover. Legend has it that a long time ago in Spain, they would serve a slice of cheese or ham when you ordered a drink to cover it…Was it to keep out the flies, hide the smell of bad wine, or insist on one to eat before drinking wine??? No one really knows…
But one thing is sure: tapas come in various shapes and tastes. They are the element of cuisine that defines Spanish culture. They are not a meal, nor are they a starter; they are simply a dish in a smaller portion.
And just when I thought I’d had enough tapas over the last 3 weeks, I discover this place: La Cuines Santa Caterina in Barcelona.
We start off with a glass of vino blanco: Torres Vina Esmeralda, a mix of Moscatel and Gewürztraminer. Light and fresh! And dive into the menu: grilled calamari, fried little fish (thinking they were smelt), iberic ham, bread with tomato seeds, a spanish tortilla, grilled artichoke and braised cipollini, marinated sardines on toast, patatas bravas, croquettes and some olives… Our feast leads us to order not two but three more glasses of wine, and before I know it not only are my taste buds completely and utterly satisfied, but I am now fluent in catalan!!!
So if ever you are in the area of the Santa Caterina Market, I highly suggest you take a seat at the bar, order something to drink and chow down some tasty tapas. And these aren’t the ones you’d use to cover your drink!
Where: Mercado Santa Caterina, Avenida Francesc Cambo, 16, Ciutat Vella, Barcelona
Prices: At the bar, very affordable! Each serving of tapas ranges 2-4 Euros. For 2, definitely under 30 Euros, with 2 glasses of wine and 5 tapas to share.
Ambiance: Laid-back and very trendy! Located in the Santa Caterina market, the Cuines Santa Caterina benefits from really high ceilings with wooden and metallic beams. A huge library with wine bottles covers one wall, on the other, they grow their fresh herbs. Everything is wooden, metallic, or alive: they even have trees inside. Gorgeous!