Sunday, April 26, 2009

BAR MUT barcelona restaurant review

This restaurant, which turned out to be one of Barcelona’s hidden treasures, is a mere 3 blocks from our apartment. We didn’t know it existed until we came across it while walking through our neighborhood just a couple of weeks ago. Curious, we walked inside for a peek at the locale and the menu. It was a casual but sheek establishment resembling a wine cellar equipped with a sophisticated Spanish menu of tapa-sized dishes. We weren’t hungry at the time but we left, certain we’d be back soon. Shortly thereafter, my husband surprised me with a lunch reservation for our anniversary.

As soon as we sat down the host elaborated on the menu which changes slightly depending on the availability of ingredients. While we struggled over which of the appetizing dishes we were going to order, little bites of Spanish omelet were brought to our table. We finally ordered and anxiously awaited our food. To start, we had the famed “Cantabrico” or Bay of Biscay anchovies and crusty bread. Simple. Delicious. The next dish was the “empedrado:” a salad comprised of salted cod, tomatoes, tender white beans, onions and peppers. It was spectacular and presented beautifully with a black olive infused oil drizzled over top. After only these two perfect dishes we were confident that the rest of the food would be magnificent and, as we waited, our anticipation grew. Next up were the steamed cockles sprinkled with fresh herb oil. Not too much though. Masking the freshness and abundant natural flavor of what were the best cockles we had ever had, would be a sin. They were yet another testament to the phenomenal taste of Mediterranean seafood. Following the cockles was the savory, fork-tender chicken thigh wrapped in crisp skin with sweet baked pears. I rarely, if ever, order chicken at a restaurant but when the host explained the cooking process, one I had learned in culinary school, I decided it would be worth it. Our last savory dish incorporated flavors of the earth and sea, my favorite characteristic of Catalan cuisine. A portion of slow-cooked pork neck topped with sea cucumbers and sautéed artichokes (This cut of pork is possibly the most flavorful and tender of all. I hadn’t even heard of it until BCN since it is primarily used for grinding in the U.S.A). We had already ordered dessert when we were surprised with a complimentary chocolate molten cake with hazelnut ice cream. As you may have guessed, it was wonderful. The moist cake, spewing with chocolate, mixed with the hazelnut ice cream to create an explosion of flavors and textures. This dessert was followed by a crème patissiere-filled millefeuille or puff pastry. This is a simple, but scrumptious dessert that my husband loves. My particular weakness, torrijas (similar to French toast) was last. Unfortunately, it was the only thing I did not like. However, I was not disappointed because it had nothing do with improper preparation, but with the fact that I was unaware that it was infused with orange zest, an ingredient that I am not particularly fond of.

Needless to say I highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the area. Although pricey, it instantly became one of our top 3 restaurants. I only wish we had discovered it sooner since we are moving back to Miami in a matter of days. However, it’s better late than never!

BAR MUT (I suggest making a reservation)
Pau Claris 192
08037 Barcelona, Spain


  1. Nikki, what a great review!
    All of this food that you ordered sound so good. Never had “Cantabrico” before, the anchovies won me over. I also like the “empedrado:” sounds fantastic.

    I've been to barcelona once, loving the city very much, My husband and I spend the whole week there, and of course the food was the highlight of out trip. We plan to visit again... and I'll keep this restaurant in mind.

  2. I completely agree on the review! Great food and great atmosphere!

  3. These people are thieves. Under the pretense of help, they selected a few tapas and proceeded to charge us 165 euros for lunch for 2 people. Really no respect for others. Avoid.

    1. Speaking of thieves in Barcelona, there was a restaurant on a large square not far from the Picasso Museum. Wish I could recall the name, but there was a big sign in the window that announced that it was recommended by the "S & M Travel Agency." "S & M" surely stands for "Sacher & Masoch." Toilets beyond description, terrible food, a manager who was the decrepit double of TV's beloved "Dr Ruth", and no menu choice: no matter what you ordered, they were "out of it" -- except for what you could see. Nauseating food. Tourists, especially students, were lined up outside, all staring at the S&M sign. We tried to convince them to go elsewhere, but the poor souls thought we were acting on a grudge. Have mercy.

  4. Not "sheek": "chic".