Thursday, August 13, 2009


A well designed outdoor space can make all the difference when it comes to deciding on a place to eat. Here in Ohio, especially if you live in Cleveland, beautiful weather for eating outside a very few. When I do get those kinds of nights I, and everyone else, look to take advantage of restaurants with nice patios.

Before we even knew if there was going to be a beautiful night or not we made a reservation at Barcelona in German Village. We had driven past it numerous times in the past, but kept driving because we were broke college students at the time. Word on the street was that Barcelona has the best patio in the state capitol.

As it would turn out, the wonderful patio experience had to wait. It was raining pretty hard when we arrived and continued throughout the whole meal. If we had wanted to wait a half an hour we could have actually eaten outside under the roofed area. I didn’t feel like eating in the cold wet air.

The patio design was extremely well thought out. One of my biggest pet peeves is brick pavers or rough uneven pavement under my chair. Here the have a smooth finish with a slight roughness to it (like a tennis court), that you can actually slide your chair in and out on. The pavement also doesn’t give you a wobbly chair or table. There is no absence of privacy. A tall fence runs the perimeter of the area with plants everywhere to help soften the starkness of the fence. Finally, there is a whole row of tables that are under a roof so that it provides protection from the hot sun or the rain.

The interior of the building is no slouch, either. Housed in the typical German Village brick commercial building, Barcelona has seating the length of the restaurant down the right wall. A bar is on your right as you walk in, and then seating extends all the way to the back of the dining room. One of the neat touches I noticed was curtains that had been slung over the central duct work along the ceiling. It appeared that they could be brought down to separate different tables for privacy.

When I think of Spanish food we immediately think of Amada, in Philadelphia (if you’re ever there you’ve got to go). While Amada is more of a pure tapas restaurant, Barcelona offers a mixture of tapas (served as simply appetizers), soups and salads, and entrees – two different approaches, both Spanish, both delicious.

Regina ordered the Tapas Tasting Menu, which was comprised of eight separate items. Most weren't more than a few bites. I thought it was an excellent way to sample the range of the menu, and not have to order just one thing. For her, the corn salad, pan seared scallop, smoked trout salad, and deviled eggs were the most memorable. The tapas tasting runs $30.

On the servers recommendation I opted for the ever popular Paella Barcelona - basmati rice, chicken, spicy chorizo, shrimp, squid, clams, mussels, sofrito, roasted peppers, and peas. What can I say other than it was a gorgeous dish. The flavors were really popping in this thing, not to mention the monster portion. If you come here somebody has got to order this dish, it's absolutely fantastic (and it reheated very well).

Needless to say, there was no room left for dessert. For us, Barcelona is certainly a Top 10 for Columbus. While this is Spanish food, I would think there really isn’t much here that is way out in left field. I have to believe that most everyone would be able to find something to eat of this menu. If you’ve never been, you have to try it.

Wouldn’t you know it, as we left it stopped raining. Oh well, maybe next time we can sit on the patio.

263 E Whittier St
Columbus, OH 43206
(614) 443-3699

Barcelona on Urbanspoon

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