Cal Pep - an Institution for Authentic Tapas


Can you believe I've lived in Barcelona for so many years now and I hadn't been to Cal Pep? It's an institution in the city! Sure there's always a queue, and sure it's frequented by tourists, but forget about that and just go if you haven't been.

There's a bar where you can sit and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and the waiters, but the back room is something else. We were lucky and got a table fairly quickly, usually there is a bit of a wait. The small room in the back is packed with tables and you'll probably share your table with someone, but we certainly didn't mind. After a bottle of wine you find yourself engaging in a conversation with the people next to you, and that isn't a bad thing.

The staff is amazing. Really. I can't believe these guys being so friendly and full of jokes even though they are pretty stressed. Our waiter who has been working there for 25 years already managed to make us laugh out loud over and over again. He made sure we were enjoying ourselves and the food and filled up our glasses when we were running out of wine. 

Tortilla de patata at Cal Pep, Barcelona

Tortilla de patata at Cal Pep, Barcelona

So what about the food? One word: fantastic. There's no written menu but you can trust the staff to bring you one deliciousness after the other. Leave it in their hands. It's all tapas we're talking about here. This is what we had:

  • An amouche bouche consisting of a small sardine and a red pepper on toast

  • A tasty tuna tartar with a hint of onion. We're not big fans of tuna tartars but this one we loved

  • One of the best potato tortillas I've had (a note to my mother-in-law: yours still is the best, I promise)

  • Fried calamari. It doesn't look like much but the taste... Tender with a light, salty batter

  • Clams: the sauce was so tasty

  • Mussels and razor clams: good but nothing special

  • Fried artichoke: I love artichoke season, and these little fellows were just what I hoped for. Crispy and not too greasy

Usually a bottle of white wine is sufficient between the two of us when we have a big lunch or a dinner, but lo and behold: we generously exceeded it. The atmosphere invited us to drink it all quite quickly, and in addition to this the gentleman at the table next to us insisted that we'd try a glass each of his wine. AND the adorable waiter decided to get an already opened bottle and fill our glasses to the brim (no charge). My husband took a digestive Orujo shot and the waiter brought me a shot glass with chocolate mousse too so I wouldn't feel left out... He managed to charm our pants off.

Sardines and red pepper at Cal Pep, Barcelona

Sardines and red pepper at Cal Pep, Barcelona

So go! You can't miss this place if you haven't been yet. It's perfect for one of these long Saturday lunches when you just want to stuff your face with good seafood, drink wine and then roll back home for a siesta. 

Address: Plaça de les Olles 8, Born, Barcelona.