Students may typically stop by Barcelona Wine Bar for drinks and a fun atmosphere, but the consistently tasty tapas-style bites and extensive charcuterie and cheese selection keep them coming back.
Barcelona operates locations in Cathedral Heights and at 1622 14th St. NW just north of Logan Circle. With late weekend hours, a longer alcohol menu than food menu and friendly staff, Barcelona makes for the ideal lively dinner spot to relax with friends.
Situated between Sette Osteria and Pearl Dive Oyster Palace on one of the busiest strips of 14th Street, Barcelona is equipped with a large heated outside patio dining area, a bar area with seating and a main dining room which is well-suited for larger groups. The high ceilings, low light, dark wooden walls and stone floors make the space feel more upscale than it actually is. A glass encased wine room near the kitchen and a giant rectangular multi-media art piece in the dining room ties the bougie atmosphere together.
Drinks essentially function as appetizers at Barcelona – I recommend starting with a pitcher of the red sangria ($30) for the table. If you’re ordering solo, try out a wine flight of aperitivos ($13.50), which are traditionally pre-meal drinks, with half pours each of BarCava sparkling wine, La Cigarrera dry sherry and El Bandarra red vermouth.
To start, decide on some cheese and charcuterie to share with your table. For three people, I ordered the Idiazábal smoked raw sheep’s cheese, Drunken Goat, a red-wine soaked semi-soft goat cheese, and jamón serrano thin sliced dry-cured Spanish ham. All three were presented on a dark stone board with a dollop of an apricot fruit jam and a basket of warm rustic white bread. The Drunken Goat was my favorite with a balance of richness and acidity from the subtle flavor of the wine.
After nibbling on the charcuterie board and sipping on your sangria, you’ll probably be ready to select a few tapas from the more than 30 options on the menu. The servers are helpful with any any clarifying questions you have and can recommend popular options if you get stuck.
My two friends and I ordered six tapas plates total in two waves and were sufficiently full by the end of our meal. We first ordered the whipped ricotta with herbs ($9), patatas bravas ($7) and hanger steak slices with truffle vinaigrette ($11.50). The patatas bravas, crispy fried potato chunks, were served with a thick, smoky tomato sauce base layer and a light garlic aioli on top and are absolutely addictive.
But the tapas dish that really blew my taste buds away was the chorizo with sweet & sour figs ($9) which we ordered along with the gambas al ajillo, garlic shrimp, ($9.50) and truffled bikini jamón serrano sandwich ($8.50) to complete our meal.
The chorizo was encased and sliced into oval medallions which were charred and served mixed together with balsamic braised figs. The dish is uniformly brown, sticky and not completely attractive in presentation, but the flavors are bright, strong and balanced.
You may be used to eating Chorizo crumbled or spread but the hearty slices of sausage with a moist interior and snappy ring of casing on the outside was the right choice to balance the soft, jammy texture of the figs. The figs added a distinct earthy sweetness to the dish but were caramelized with a balsamic vinegar sauce which created a bright, sour flavor that was quite strong but appealing.
For desert options you can choose from four options including flan catalán ($7), olive oil cake ($9), crepas with seasonal fruit and citrus cream ($8) or chocolate cake with coffee cream and almond crumble ($9).
Whether you’re a Barcelona regular who’s hoping to relive the pre-pandemic experience of limoncello shots being poured directly into people’s mouths or you’re just a tapas fan, make a reservation at this wine bar next time you’re planning dinner with friends.