There is one restaurant in all of Barcelona that I can always count on. Not only count on for the food, but mainly for its dependability. When nothing else in the city is open (which usually includes the hours between 3ish and 6ish for lunch, or all day Sunday), El Tropezón is there for me. My most recent visit was on a Saturday afternoon around 5 pm, when most restaurants are closed, resting up or preparing for a big Saturday night, after going to about 3 different places that were closing up, there was El Tropezón, like a bright shining light at the end of our hunger-inducing tunnel. One of my first times there was around 1 am on the weekend, which is good to know you don’t always have to go straight for a kebab if you need a midnight snack and want to be seated at a restaurant. In between, there have been various visits on Sundays and “inconvenient hours,” when the rest of the streets are lined with large metal doors that tell you the owners are strolling the city like everyone else.
Now comes the good part: the food. First of all, I’ve made a few mistakes there in my selection, El Tropezón does have faults, such as the croquetas and bombas (potato and meat rolled into a ball and deep fried), but what they do right, they do it really right. I’ve gone back a few times for the xistorra (greasy red sausage) and pincho moruño (pork on a stick…for Americans shish kebab), which are both excellent meats and saves you having to order pan con tomate (the typical Catalan plate of tomato smeared over bread). They each come served on top of slices of pan con tomate, dripping their greasy goodness onto the bread. And did I mention I’m not much of a meat person? Of course, living here in Spain, as most people will tell you, it’s hard to avoid and it’s definitely growing on me, I’m happy to say (I just can’t get enough of that xistorra). This last Saturday afternoon I was totally blown away by a new dish that seems so simple, yet it was so delicious, I don’t know how I never ordered it before: mushrooms. Perfectly cooked in a garlicky butter sauce, a big silver platter of ‘em. What’s not to like? I’m still thinking about them now, and salivating…I’m told that the pimientos del padrón (the small green peppers, one in every few are spicy) are good, although I’ve never been a fan of peppers myself. The one overall complaint is the ice-cold wine, but after a few glasses from the pitcher, and a few bites of sausage and bread, it washes down quiet nicely. Before I finish dreaming about El Tropezón, I have to note the atmosphere: this was the first thing that drew me in. It’s all dark wood. Dark wood tables. Dark wood benches. Dark wood counter. Dark wood stairs, you get the idea. But it feels very rustic, very Spanish, like you should go in and plant yourself by the tiny bar/kitchen, get some ham, and listen to the wait staff shouting orders to each other.
(I’m sorry to say there are no pictures of the food we ate because I couldn’t mooch a camera off anyone at the time)