Lolita Taperia, Barcelona

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taperia lolita

Lolita Taperia: One of my favourite tapas bars in Barcelona

Barcelona, 9.30pm. The sun just set, abandoning its heat to the baked metal and stone which make up the city; the breeze gentle, welcome as it wraps itself around limbs kissed from a day spent in the sun; the light soft and slowly fading, inviting diners to head inside for food and drinks, to browse menus and discuss their days.

olives lolita taperia

Possibly the best olives I’ve ever eaten . . .

A stroll through the quiet, residential streets of Poble Sec might not immediately appear the most promising of starts to a gourmet evening out, but find yourself on the unassuming Carrer de Tamarit and I promise you’re in for a treat. Not only is it home to Ferran and Albert Adrià’s incomporable temple to tapas, Tickets, go back one block and you’ll discover Lolita. If Tickets is an established act – polished, professional and bonkers in the brilliant way that only a restaurant owned by the El Bulli chef could be – Lolita is its cheeky younger sister: bright, loud, inexpensive and lots and lots of fun.

broad beans, truffle and quail's egg

Baby broad beans with black truffle vinaigrette, avocado & quail’s eggs

It’s been a while since I wrote a review for this blog – most London restaurants are reviewed so quickly and in such quantity that any additional input feels somewhat redundant – but having just got back from Barcelona to grey skies and gloomy days, this post felt fitting; both as an injection of sunshine into everyday life, and as a way of reliving my incredible trip, if only for a few paragraphs.

If you’re in need of a serotonin boost, Lolita Taperia will provide it in spades. If you love Spain at its loud, bright, bustling, no nonsense best, this bar is for you.  And if you’re simply searching for some amazing food and delicious drink without busting the budget, I can’t recommend Lolita any more highly.

burrata lolita taperia

Creamy burrata with rocket, black olive tapenade & semi dried tomato

Entering from the street under a neon sign decorated with Lolita’s trademark lipstick kiss, you’ll be confronted by immediate sensory overload. The colours are bright, the music loud and the crowds dense. Running down the left hand side is a strip of open kitchen, populated with busy chefs going about their business, to the right the dining room, made up of one large table for communal eating or large parties plus stools dotted at the bar, down the walls and in front of the kitchen. Waiters flit around the tiny space proferring menus, setting down dishes, opening bottles of local wine.

The menu is fantastic; I could have eaten pretty much anything on it. A page long section dedicated to anchovies and olives in another restaurant it could feel intimidating, but with prices starting at just over a euro, Lolita encourages diners to dive right in and try new things. Wine is equally affordably priced – Carnivorous Boyfriend enjoyed a good glass of Fino for just over two euros and a very drinkable Mas Amor rosé came in at fourteen.

tuna loin

Melt in the mouth tuna loin with soya sauce & tomato pulp

Moving onto the food, it’s hard to pick out highlights amongst so much deliciousness, but some did stick in my memory more than others. Incredible grassy green olives, some infused or possibly even smoked (we couldn’t decide) with garlic; lace thin pan con tomate bejeweled with sweet tomato; a salad of tiny broad beans, avocado and quails’ eggs dressed with black truffle vinaigrette. Creamy burrata may not be a typical tapas dish but served with salty black olive tapenade and a sweet semi-dried tomato paste, it was the perfect contrast to so much fish and fried food, while delicate slices of tuna loin with a sweet soy dressing and tomato pulp had me literally squealing with delight.

Of the heartier dishes, grilled rabbit shoulder was meltingly tender while La Bomba de l’Eixample – a giant round potato croqueta filled with herby mince and topped with spicy salsa and a slick of mayonnaise – was the perfect example of simple Spanish tapas done well. Our only regret on ordering the Mini Burger in a black sesame seed bun was that we hadn’t asked for more – the meat came juicy and rare, tasting of steak and salt and blood in a way that burgers made from standard ground mince never could.

mini burger

Mini burger served beautifully rare in a black sesame seed bun

Normally after this kind of meal I’m more than happy to venture into the streets to find an ice cream cone to lick as we wander home, but we’d seen some of the sweets emerging from the kitchen and fallen under their spell. Cheesecake came cloaked in a white chocolate shell, the base light and salty sweet, the cake itself tasting strongly of cheese but in a carefully balanced way that made it so much more delicious for a slightly savoury slant. Chocolate truffles arrived rich with the flavours of cocoa and honey and interspersed with sweet, fresh strawberries, and to round it all off we each ate a pair of chocolate lips, a Lolita trademark and the perfect end to an unforgettable meal.

taperia lolita

A glass of crisp Mas Amor rose wine works wonderfully with the different dishes

If you’re planning to go to Barcelona anytime soon, please pay a visit to Lolita Taperia. It’s not fine dining – no molecular gastronomy or crisp white tablecloths here – but it’s fun, busy and bustling in an unmistakably Spanish way. The ingredients are incredible, sourced by someone who clearly cares about them and cooked in a way to showcase their every delicate nuance, the wine  reasonably priced and the atmosphere next to none.

Lolita Taperia
C/ Tamarit 104
08015 Barcelona

chocolate truffle lips lolita taperia

Chocolate truffles inspired by Lolita’s signature lips logo

17 RESPONSES TO Lolita Taperia, Barcelona

  1. Brilliant post with those wonderful photos and your description of Lolita Taperia making me want to jump on a plane to Barcelona NOW!

  2. Vanesther -

    I was already so jealous of your trip to Barcelona. Now I’m unbelievably green! This place sounds fantastic. I have to get to Barcelona soon!

  3. Oh my lord, those olives look INCREDIBLE. I really must go here when I go to Barcelona. Not sure I’ll make it there this summer though – we’ll be strictly confined to the wedding village and the surrounding area – Avila, etc… Anyway, great looking tapas bar!

  4. I miss European cities and haven’t tasted really good Spanish tapas in over a decade. Sigh

  5. Lisa -

    Barcelona is on my bucket list..has been for ages, and now I’ve got one place to go that I know for sure is good! The tuna loin is killing me – want it bad!

  6. Oohh what a great review! Those olives look amazing and honestly it all looks just delicious. I’ve never been to Barcelona. Now I know where to eat if I get to visit;)
    xo
    E

  7. I really need to get myself to Barcelona don’t I?

  8. great post! I know where I want to go if I should be in Barcelona!

    • The Single Gourmet & Traveller – I’ll come with you, I want to be back there too!

      Vanesther – you definitely do, it’s a fantastic city :-)

      Frugal Feeding – the olives were absolutely divine.

      Sally – get on a plane now!

      Lisa – oh the tuna was so incredible. I could eat it every single day and not get bored :-)

      Erin – you definitely need to visit at least once in your life :-)

      Kathryn – you do!

      Cake Brain – thanks!

  9. Pingback: Orange & Pistachio Magdalenas | thelittleloaf

  10. I don’t know when I will be going to Barcelona next, but I am definitely bookmarking this place and recommending it to whoever goes there!

  11. this place sounds incredible! you’ve well and truly sold spain to me!

  12. Pingback: Apricot & Pistachio Tartlets | thelittleloaf

  13. nuria canal -

    If you wish more recommendations in your trip to Barcelona do not hesitate to contact me. Soon I will have my own blog. Thank you Kate for your recipes! and sorry for my English!

    • Ooh yes, would love some Barcelona recommendations! We’re planning to eat at La Taverna del Clinic, Etapes, Alkimia and Cerveceria Catalana this year as many favourites (Commerc24, Tickets, Lolita) are closed over Christmas. Any other recommendations?

      • Nuria canal -

        Hi! my best choice when I want to taste all at the same time without spend hours touring the city is the LA ESQUINICA. It is out of the Centre, popular neighborhood and not beautiful, but safe. Go by metro, 15 or 20 minutes from the Centre. Almost everything is good! The desserts are not homemade. I hope you enjoy it! If it is a sunny morning stay on the terrace!
        La esquinica. Paseo Fabra i Puig, 296. Barcelona

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