No Hay Listas

Going from the frigid Paris streets to the Mediterranean coast makes for quite a transition. Both the weather and the attitude of Barcelona are much more temperate. After arriving late yesterday evening, we asked our hotel concierge if he knew of a good restaurant close by. He said, "Yes, go outside, make a left, then go into the first place that looks good." I almost laughed out loud. He wasn't being a jerk, but he wasn't kidding either. The idea of listing the best restaurants in the neighborhood isn't something the locals are interested in doing. Yelp? Please. Don't embarrass yourself in Spain.

We walked through the narrow and brooding alleyways of the Gothic Quarter until we happened upon a wonderful tapas spot and squeezed our way into the bar. "Hay una lista de las bebidas?" asked my wife, hoping to glance at a drink menu. "No," said the waitress. "What kind of beer do you have?" I asked, speaking Spanish with a French accent and tripping over all my words. My brain had yet to make the switch. "The kind that comes out of the tap," she answered. Again, no trace of sarcasm, but really making it clear she had no interest in the details either. My wife ordered a glass of cava. What kind? The kind they had in the fridge. I ended up with a glass of vermouth. Which vermouth? The dry one. "We have a sweet one, too," our bartender said, giving me the choice. "Esta bien," I said.

This is my kind of place. Barcelona is drinking to drink. Pretense with your food and alcohol is absolutely not allowed and will be dealt with quickly and curtly.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll