El Rincon Del Cava may not be among the best tapas places in Barcelona, but I have to think it's among the cheapest.
We spent the morning walking up to Olympic Park, site of the 1992 Olympics. It's a good little hike to get up there. There's not a whole lot going on once you do get up there, but it was somewhat interesting and offers a great view of the city. More importantly, all of that walking contributed to a good appetite. Down the hill we went in search of El Rincon Del Cava.
El Rincon Del Cava appears to be a real locals place. The walls are filled not only with knickknacks, but also hundreds of pictures of revelers and eaters. There wasn't much reveling when we arrived early afternoon for lunch, but there were some tables of diners, a couple of people standing at the tapas bar talking to the staff, and menus with pictures. I like menus with pictures.
There's an exercise machine in the middle of the dining room for some reason. And a couple of TVs with soaps. And fans. Several fans. The tables appear to be designed for tiny people, of which I am not one. Even the knives and forks and napkins were small. However, I will not deduct a star because of this.
El Rincon Del Cava offers exactly three types of wine: red, white, and Cava. While I had previously thought that my command of the Spanish language, with respect to wine at least, was quite formidable, the server ended up bringing the wrong wine. Twice. It took three tries to get the wine that I wanted, from a list of three wines. I need to brush up on my Spanish.
The wine in this case was a silly-cheap white from Valdepeñas. Simple, young, perfect.
Aside from the pictures, what we also liked about the menu were the prices. This place is super-inexpensive, and the tapas portions are small. One euro tapas all over the menu. This is preferable, as you can try more dishes. Not knowing a whole lot about tapas when we arrived in Barcelona, we were a little surprised at the size of the portions at most places. These little dishes were a welcomed surprise.
While the tapas is cheap, it might not be the most exceptional tapas you've ever eaten. The black pig seemed like it was pre-sliced and a little on the dry side. But I'll take slightly dry black pig over moist not-black pig any day.
We had some very good croquettes, along with some fried squid (or was that some other type of seafood--it's been a while).
The surprising star of the show was the dish of meatballs. At first glance, they looked bland and boring, but they were anything but. These things were tender and soothing. We were tempted to order a second bowl, but found that we were quite satisfied by the end of the meal.
To say I was shocked when I received the bill would be an understatement. I think it was about 12 euro.
This meal turned out to be our last "real" meal in Barcelona on this leg of the trip. That night we stayed in the hotel and had dinner on the roof. A largely unexceptional meal, but it was nice to relax. When we returned to Barcelona a few days later, we had a very good meal, and then the worst meal I can recall in quite some time. More on that later.
El Rincon del Cava : Carrer de Blasco de Garay, 53 : 08004 : Barcelona, Spain