We visit the upper part of the Part Alta in Tarragona, home of some of the best restaurants in town. There is only a few left before this weekend sees the end of another glorious edition of this great tapas festival and there are still much great offerings to sample.
We start at the Taula Rotonda with he perfectly executed pincho / montadito: a slice of fresh bread piled with a generous slice of weal drizzled with a tangy home made waldorf sauce, touch of parmesan, and a pickled gherkin and tomato.
Next is the Tecla 60 Restaurant with its “Tripleta Màgica”, a magic triplet indeed beautifully presented and made of three different type of deep fried servings contrasting beautiful with one another: we have romesco filling, sweet tangy pear and spicy shell to finish off.
The Galliner de l’Antiquari is a quirky place, you enter and are greeted by a an gnarled wooden statue of the virgin Mary (sin hands) and other kind of paraphernalia but let’s concentrate on the packed with flavour tapas entry: a “hamburger” made of duck and foie topped by a mini toffee apple and a sliver of crunchy cured ham.
El Llagut in Plaça del Rei, is one of the best restaurants in town and an absolute favorite that uses sustainable ingredient and a slow food approach, and there is little surprise to discover that their tapa is one of the most clean, original and unpredictable yet: very Nordic in it’s take. it consists of a fillet of local peix blau, marinated and smoked, served with light salad of apple and cucumber with a touch of dill and a light saffron and mustard mayonnaise all served on a little slate. Very tempted to vote this the best so far…
But let’s not linger for too long as there is plenty more to savour: La Cucafera, nested on the foot of the Cathedral has this little parcel or “farcelet” on offer, made of a cheese, nuts and rosemary melt and wrapped in a cured ham parcel served on a cracker. Chewy bliss.
Ares Restaurant, situated at the far end of Plaςa del Forum, has CarillARES on the plate, a hamburger made of pork cheeks and iberico ham, served with a nice tangy sauce and roasted plantain chips, a crunchy sweet and salty combo.
Lluna nova is a nice little cafe, hidden just off Plaςa del Forum. Their entry is a perfectly balanced little parcel containing a stuffing of Majorca’s slightly spicy Sobrassada, goat cheese which you dip in a fine Membrillo jam. The whole is finished with two spring of lambs lettuce and and drizzle of reduced Ximenez sherry vinegar. A gem of a tapa.
Across the narrow street, hiding at the far end of a little alley is the institutions of Les Coques, the local equivalent of Les Quatre Gats in Barcelona and an old traditional hangout for local artists and poets. There is a piano against the wall, raised narrow tables, paintings and mirrors and old chairs and, high above, a mural with a dedication to the Old Poet Society of 1978. Beneath the entrance floor is a cellar filled with cobwebs and ancient bottles, you get the picture.
Their contribution to dTapes is a mouth watering “Canelons d’ alberginia amb anec” aubergine cannelloni filled with duck and topped wit a crispy cheese garnish.
Lastly, right next to the Institute of Architecture, is Restaurant Barhaus with their inner court filled with fragrant white wisteria. Their “… Amb llagostì Cric- Crak” consists of a tender, moist, gentle fried dumpling melt made of cod, bacalao and monkfish flakes , topped with the perfect langoustine wrapped in a crunchy nest and served in a fish gravy so full of flavour to die for.
We may be staring at the contender for the Golden Fork , the ‘Forquilla d’Or’ and highest dTapes accolade but there is still one more stop on our tapas journey and this is the Serrallo.