Tourists and locals/residents can be, at times, a heady cocktail in Barcelona. Many foreigners living here now complain about them but were once tourists themselves and these camera-wielding, path-blocking visitors undeniably contribute vast sums of money to the local economy, as well as of course having every right to come and experience and devour this beautiful city. This is somewhat offset, however, by some of the problems they also bring such as drunkenness, noise, crowded streets and the thieving that follows them, particularly in the barri Gotic. The city council continues, with varying degrees of success, to try and find ways to disperse visitors to other areas of the city.
There are some places though where the cocktail is perfectly shaken or stirred and everyone rubs along just fine and dandy. One of these places is Bar Celta Pulpería.This is a rustic, Galician tapas bar which is always packed out with those who live here and those who are visiting and it’s one place that has improved immeasurably since the smoking ban. A long L-shaped bar area is lined with tapas to be selected and ordered from the waiters, who after sweat and hard work deserve every cent of their salary as they are constantly rushed off their feet. Inside, walls are lined with panelling, bowls are attached to the wall to hang your jacket and the place is littered with nic-nacs and bottles.
If, like me, you sometimes find sitting on a bar stool with your feet dangling a little uncomfortable then there is a small, cramped dining area at the rear of the bar.Name a classic tapas dish and they probably serve it here. The glass cabinets that line the bar make decisions difficult, rows of dishes of patatas bravas, razor clams, mussels, pa amb tomaquet, pimientos de padrón, whitebait, pinchos, sardines and of course this being a pulpería, octopus.With the exception of commenting that they were a little heavy-handed with the salt shaker before serving, especially with the pimientos de padrón, there are no complaints about this food. It is simple and honest fayre and at a reasonable price. Follow our lead and order a few things and then fill up more if needed, much more pleasurable than placing one bulk order and having too many plates in front of you. Here’s a few things we ate that survived for a photo opportunity:
Other dishes that didn’t make the photo call due to our absent mindedness and hunger were pieces of warm, paprika-oozing chorizo and buñuelos de bacalao deep-fried salt cod dough balls.
On an evening in the city take a stroll along the seafront, do some fantasy yacht shopping at the harbour and then skip to C/de la Merce just behind Passeig de Colom and sample some of this for yourself. Soak up the buzz of the bar and admire the harmonious relationship between the insiders and outsiders.
Bar Celta Pulpería, C/de la Merce 16, Gotic