Tapas Barcelona, a cozy restaurant frequented by many foreigners brings one of Spain’s greatest culinary inventions to Gdynia. With temps in the 30s this week, It may be time to adopt some customs from the Iberian peninsula. Siesta, and of course, tapas come to mind. When I went, the small space was bustling with locals and foreigners alike. One wall mural recalls Picasso, while the other has a large shelf with over 30 types of wine.

Wine wall. Photo” Gino Occhionero

Tapas Passion

Maciej, the owner of Tapas Barcelona greeted me and shared his passion for Spanish cuisine. It was a pleasure for me to learn about the origins, history, or production methods of all the Spanish products. It’s still a rarity in the Tricity to find such an enthusiast. For example, Maciej takes great care to source top-quality seafood especially considering the difficult to find them in Poland. Additionally, he holds wine tastings to acquaint guests, especially with the new wine offerings.

Manchego Cheese tray. Photos: Gino Occhionero

The menu is various and complete but we were surrounded by vibrant flavors and Mediterranean smells from the colorful tapas. Maciej recommended a mix of Manchego cheese, Jamon Serrano, and Piquillo peppers. This Manchego was a hard sheep cheese coated with rosemary from the central Castilla-La Mancha region. Jamon Serrano is the typical matured dry Spanish ham. Piquillo peppers are little sweet marinated peppers stuffed with soft cream cheese and tuna. All three tapas came on chopping boards with a side of smooth green salad and dried tomatoes.

Serrano ham. Photo: Gion Occhionero

I paired these delicacies with a Garnacha called Honor de Vera. Easy to drink, the spicy wine complemented all dishes with a slight acidity to cut the fat of cheese and ham. So what to say on the starters, if you love the genuine and “slow food” traditional products, you will love them served all natural, only with a hint of Spanish olive oil and the cheese with membrillo, a quince paste.

Mussels. Photo: Gino Occhionero

Spanish Sun

As the main course, we ordered the Mussels la Chinata and the Shrimp with Chorizo because we saw from the other table that seafood here is very popular. The mussels contained a hint of cream and a special ingredient: Pimenton de La Vera, a powder of smoked paprika from Extremadura. Though the plate was intensely flavorful and tantalizing, the taste of the pepper was a bit invasive on the mussels in my opinon. So personally next time I will take the other mussels in the menu — those more traditional with white wine and garlic.

Shrimp and Chorizo. Photo: Gino Occhionero

The shrimp accompanied sauteed chorizo, a type of Spanish dried sausage, garlic, and white wine and served with a side of small salad and a sliced baguette. In this case, I appreciated the contrast of ingredients, really common in Spain where are using often to link fish and meat to obtain intriguing tastes.

Since I had finished the red wine before eating the seafood I ordered a white wine from Galicia where you could sense all the salinity and freshness of the Atlantic Ocean, near where it grows.

Secret Ingredients

To complete the exceptional experience, for the dessert, you should ask to the service, so as in my case could be an extra surprise because they gave me a sorbet without telling me the mysterious flavor. It was delicious and I quickly recognized the freshness of grapefruit taste with shaved coconut on top, but then Maciej revealed it was a splash of Cava a Spanish sparkling wine similar to Italian Prosecco.

Tapas Barcelona. Photo: Gino Occhionero

Of course, if you want a quick and not expensive snack, there is a full list of Bocadillos the gourmet sandwiches to eat with a cold cervesa. In conclusion, I can only recommend this tasty and warm piece of Spain in Gdynia even for the good excellent value for money, with the only suggestion to book a table before because it fills up fast!

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