At Bar Cortijo everything is possible. It seems to escape every common sense of how things should be prepared, served and run, taking off on a tangent of its own instead. The result is one of the most unique gastronomic experiences Tarragona has to offer.
Run with a touch of genius by brothers duo Santos and Luis Massegosa , Bar Cortijo is not for the faint-hearted or fussy eaters: its food is as gutsy, uncompromising and as real as it gets. Located in one story building set in a forgotten alley which stops at the main rail track, bar Cortijo has kept it’s somehow seedy look, stemming from its earlier days when it was one of the many brothels in the area servicing seamen and warehouse workers.
Walk in to what is one of the last surviving taverns of the area, and you are greeted by a fruit machine blinging away in its dark surroundings. Look further down and you get the first glimpse of the food, each large dish like a sitting duck ready for takeoff.
Following old habits everything is cooked and ready to be served by 9am, ready for workers breaking from their shift. Beer on the tap is poured into small glasses slammed on the bar counter for extra froth effect. It all has a strange effect on the brain, bringing out an primordial sense of happiness and anticipation.
This is not your average grub, not by a mile; all the ingredients are outsourced locally and mostly organic, the fish is as fresh as it gets only landed a few hours earlier. The flavors are powerful, strong, rich and complex, brought to the tables, dished out, ready to share. There is nothing pretty about it, it does not need to be: seafood, fish, squid, wheal, pig trotters and tripe, stews, beans, tomatoes, what you eat is what you get, uncompromisingly good. The wine, mostly organic, is outsourced from small and proud wine makers from France, Italy and Spain and is a journey by it self.
Bar Cortjio has acquired a cult status over the years , yet most people here do not even known it exists. The ones who do know secretly hope it will stay this way for a little while longer…