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This place has been here since September 1989 and is much a tapas bar as it is a restaurant.

In fact, is been said, "the best tapas bar in the world" and certainly one of the first of its type.

The London restaurants Barrafina are based on the concept of Cal Pep.

There are only twenty of the coveted seats at the bar, so to grab one, you need to queue on most days around twenty minutes before each service, which start at 1 pm or 7.30 pm.

There is also a very attractive small restaurant behind the tapas bar, this is by reservation only.

It is set in an attractive little square and on arriving, on a Wednesday Lunchtime in April at 12.40 pm we found six people already in the queue. By the time the shutter was opened at 1 pm, enough customers and more, were in the queue to take up all the bar stalls.

It’s hard to cut costs at Cal Pep as there are no real cheap options and no fixed menu.

Our waiter offered to pick a choice of four tapas/raciones for us so, we agreed to go with the flow.

In hindsight, we should have chosen ourselves, not that anything was wrong with what we received, far from it, But the first two choices of calamare and almejas are something we have on a regular basis, so perhaps it would have been better to have tried something different.

Don’t be afraid to ask for prices if they start suggesting langoustinos or similar, as your bill will soon mount up.

We chose a bottle of Martin Códax Albariño 2016 (€17 here, which would cost £13.50 at Majestic Wine in the UK, so excellent value) to drink and let the service commence.

First up, was the

Calamar fregit (deep fried squid)

Cloïses amb pernill (clams with Jamón)

Tartar de tonyina (tuna tartar)

Lluç a l'Espatlla (hake on the shoulder with vegetables)

Lluç a l'Espatlla (hake on the shoulder with vegetables)

That was the last of our four raciones, when then decided to have one more dish and were told it would be fish!

Llenguado planxa (grilled sole with potatoes)

Llenguado planxa (grilled sole with potatoes)

The two fish dishes were two of the most perfectly cooked fish dishes I have ever eaten.

Reposteria (cinnamon doughnuts with hot chocolate)

The famous Cal Pep crema catalana

The service was very good and friendly, the only problem being, is, people are waiting over your shoulder for a seat, so you feel the need to rush and finish earlier than you would have liked. Certainly not the place for a long lingering lunch!

We left at 2.20 pm and the Bill for five raciones, two desserts, bread, coffee and water came to €128.90 for two people.

All in all, you can see why Cal Pep has stood the test of time, it is a great concept, watching your food being prepared and cooked in front of you, which is now the norm in many restaurants around the world.

The nearest metro is La Barceloneta (around five minutes walk away).

Cal Pep

Plaça de les Olles 8, 08003 Barcelona +34 93 310 79 61

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