ramblas, happy hour!
now doesn't just looking at that make you happy?
let me just say it outright and be done with it. i generally don't like tapas. they're full o' meat and cheese and eggs and sometimes even intestines. i don't like picaro. i don't like esperpento. when i was travelling in spain, granted the northern part known as galicia where you can see such un-spanish things as actual red-heads, dairy cows and the bread comes with butter, it was difficult to find stuff to eat. my almost non-existent spanish language skills coupled with a vegetarian diet led to many, oh so many comidas of fried eggs and french fries. every time i tried to order something radical like ceci beans or some other non-egg non-french fry dish, it always came floating in a pile of tripe. my health took a sharp nose dive from sucking down too many glasses of cheap red wine, too many french fries, at least three dozen hen-houses of eggs, and packet after packet of the cheapest cigarettes available, smoked to the stinking filthy blackened filter in order to quell the gnawing hunger. next time i head to the southern climes.
but as usual, i digress. the point is that i don't usually like tapas joints. but i like ramblas. this place gets some pretty mixed reviews. you can check them out here or here or here. pretty much everyone gives the paella the thumbs down and the sangria the thumbs up. but if you follow my advice you will not be disappointed. go during happy hour. from 5-7 monday thru thursday you can get draft beers for two bucks a piece and well drinks and sangria for three bucks. order one or two small plates and make good use of the bread and you can walk out before the place becomes a noise and chaos bomb. you can walk out slightly tipsy and onto your next dining or drinking destination. and you can do all of this for around twenty bucks for two.
and be sure to order the mushrooms ($7.50). a giant plate of juicy, succulent, perfectly browned assorted fungal deliciousness such as these pictured below await you. they are utterly, unapologetically tasty. which often makes me suspect meat juices. but i've never asked.
other items i've sampled are the patatas bravas. cubes of fried potatoes perfectly fried - golden crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. they are accompanied by a little bowl of red sauce (the bravas part, perhaps?), but it is lame (watery and flavorless) and i usually shunt it aside, in much the same manner i was shunted aside during junior high school dances. and high school dances. and college parties. and...oh nevermind. also sampled were the grilled asparagus spears. fat, succulent, juicy they are excellent. so juicy, in fact, i squirted my dining companion in the eye when i bit into one. they come with bacon but i had that put on the side for the omnivore.
i can't vouch for the meat-y dishes but if you hit ramblas during the happy hour when it's: (1) not crowded (2) there are some delicious beers on draft for two bucks...three for sangria, and (3) and you order any of the three aforementioned small plates, you will not be disappointed.
557 valencia street