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[Photo: ]

[Photo: Barcelona]

Barcelona on 14th Street has gotten lots of buzz for its massive, gorgeous space, extensive wine selection including many by the glass, and a stylish yet cozy outdoor fire pit complete with cocktail cart and blankets. Especially with this winter’s weather, what’s not to love about snuggling under the covers and downing potent beverages while still technically socializing?

The food, unfortunately. Not that there aren’t plenty of options for vegetarians. It’s just that pretty much everything on Barcelona’s menu is done better somewhere else.

Let’s start with the one dish that we actually did like: humble spinach-chickpea cazuela. This stew was cuminy, comforting, and about as filling as tapas gets.

Spinach-chickpea cazuela

Spinach-chickpea cazuela

A plate of mushrooms and herbed goat cheese with balsamic reduction wasn’t bad, but why would you ever choose these over Bar Pilar’s beautiful buttery mixed mushroom plate?

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Spicy eggplant caponata was cloyingly sweet with no trace of spice. It remained largely untouched despite the fact that we were hungry.

Caponata

Caponata

Whipped sheep‘s cheese with pistachios and smoked paprika sounds a lot more exciting than the bland spread with overly charred bread presented to us. Skip and collect the flavorful whipped feta at Kapnos when you pass Florida Ave.

Et tu, patatas bravas? This is the one dish that any self-respecting tapas bar should nail. I mean, it’s fried potatoes. Any semblance of crispiness in the potatoes and flavor in the salsa brava was buried under piles of mayo. Once again, get thee to Bar Pilar for their (actually) crispy roasted potatoes with malt aioli.

Patatas bravas

Patatas bravas

The lure of Barcelona’s decor and bar will bring us back, but only after we’ve filled our bellies at Pilar, Estadio, Kapnos, Etto, et cetera.

1622 14th St NW
(202) 588-5500

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