Barceloneta, Leicester

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Barceloneta is my absolute, hands-down favourite restaurant in Leicester. There, I said it, and I'm not taking it back. It helps that it'a Spanish themed, but above all I love the cosy, independent little restaurant for it's charm and warmth. And it's bread. Delicious bread.

It's like stepping off a cobbled side street in Seville and ducking into a local tapas restaurant, except it's just round the corner in Clarendon Park, opposite a Sainsbury's of all places. Lots of beautiful wooden shutters, shiny blue and white tiles and tables groaning with dozens of dishes greet you as you walk through the door into the restaurant from Bar Dos Hermanos next door. There's even a wrought iron spiral staircase.

Mary had a tapas craving, and I can always be relied upon to be an enabler on that front.

As it was a Thursday, and therefore pretty much the weekend, cocktails were in order. Barceloneta has a long cocktail menu (including sangria if you want to go the whole hog) as they're brought up from the bar next door. I went for a Mai-Tai...

...and Mary went for the mango daiquiri. I regretted my choice almost immediately, naturally. The daiquiri looked incredible!

It took us quite a while to open our menus, due to tucking into the free bread they bring you when you sit down. We need to talk about this bread actually. They bring you over a basket full of different breads including olive, soft fluffy brown and crusty white and a little pot of olive oil and balsamic for dipping. You might be thinking well hey that's not that special - but please believe me, it is. This is some of the best bread I have ever tasted! How can bread be this good?

So, because of this bread worshiping, it took us a while to check out the specials board and crack on with the ordering. I'm not sure why I even bothered opening the menu as I have practically memorised their offerings. 

And it's all delicious.

Patatas al ajillio (chips in garlic butter). Divine.

Chorizo frito al vino (Fried chorizo in red wine). My favourite dish and inspiration for my tapas night.

Ensalada de Mozzarella (Mozzarrella/Caprese salad). If you're pretending to be healthy.

We also ordered tomates rellenos de ternera (beef stuffed tomatoes topped with cheddar cheese) which were probably my least favourite thing we ordered, just because I've never been too much of a fan. We added extra bread (I told you it was good) and were well and truly stuffed before we'd got through even half of each of the dishes. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our bellies, and three dishes between two would probably be enough. It's just so hard to choose!

Other highlights include the albondigas de queso de cabra (goats cheese balls served with red onion marmalade), white bait and the vinegary boquerones (anchovies).  It's also not a bank breaker, with dishes typically being between £4 and £8 each.

Find it on Queens Road, Clarendon Park, Leicester

(and don't forget to check out Bar Dos Hermanos and the wonderfully titled Salvador Deli next door while you're at it).

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