Bodega La Puntual should be applauded for capturing the timeless feeling of a classic, ‘de toda la vida’ tapas bar, in less than two years of operation. The spot shares ownership with Xampanyet, the iconic bar next door that dates back to the Twenties, so the opening of a new restaurant that upholds this same dedication to quality and tradition was an exciting achievement for the city’s culinary community.
The entryway is dubbed ‘la bodega’; a narrow area brimming with upturned wine barrel tables, where visitors are immediately tempted by the sight of a small bar laden with plump, briny oysters on ice, an assortment of pungent Spanish cheeses and a variety of dangling cured meats, ready for slicing. Row upon row of conservas (preserves) line the walls, begging to be paired with a cold vermouth, of which there is plenty to hand.
The kitchen runs from noon until midnight, serving up an excellent array of authentic tapas, as well as seasonal Catalan preparations. Naturally, the patatas bravas, spicy and crisp, are a must, as are the made-to-order tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) and arroz de pluma Ibérica, a Catalan rice dish served in a heavy cast-iron pan and studded with roasted bits of tender pork from the forward loin of the Iberian pig.
A mix of seasonal specials are always available (the chef’s creations with autumnal wild mushrooms are my favourites), and the wine list is exemplary, with labels from every corner of Spain to fit any budget.
Other highlights include the trinxat, a hearty Catalan stalwart dish of cabbage, potato and pork belly, topped with a fried egg for extra decadence, as well as the masterfully-carved jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn-fed ham) that begins to melt in your fingers before even reaching your mouth. Treat yourself to a succulent chuletón (T-bone) steak of Galician Blond beef, grilled rare and topped with glazed shallots, with a bottle of bold red wine and some good crusty bread. It can’t get much better than that.
Bodega La Puntual. Montcada 22. Tel. 93 310 3545. Opening times: Everyday 12pm-12am.