Qype logo Join Yelp

Qype has joined Yelp to bring you more reviews, community and businesses. Read More.

Edit
  • Plaça de les Olles, 8
    08003 Barcelona
    Spain
    Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera-Born
  • Get Directions
  • Phone number +34 933 107 961
  • Business website calpep.com
  • 5.0 star rating
    5/1/2014

    Food was fresh and mind blowing. Best tapas bar in Barcelona!  Pretty pricey, but well worth it. Extremely friendly, great atmosphere. They are total professionals and I'll definitely be going back!!!

  • 4.0 star rating
    30/11/2013

    This spot requires planning.  We had multiple reasons why we wanted to make it a stop in Barcelona and once seats were secured (we tried in vain one night and had to check back the next day.)  Asking for cava, a bottle was delivered so be sure to specify (while we did drink it, the mid-day buzz and food coma weren't expected Cal Pep plans!)

    Our server pretty much ordered for us and I do recommend it but I'd suggest starting with 2 plates per person.  I think we had 8 tapas when all was said and done...a bit overboard.  My favorite was the marinated mushroom caps and padrone peppers.  Salt and olive oil, what can be better?

  • 1.0 star rating
    4/11/2013

    Tips:

    1. Don't go, it's now overrated and over priced.
    2. If you do go, wait for a table at the bar don't book a table in the room behind.
    3. Don't let the waiter create the menu & serve you below average "crowd pleaser" tapas. Order fresh seafood a la plancha.

    After my visit this week, it's slid from one of my favourite restaurants in the world (I had been 3 times previously) to never again.  As we were travelling with a child, we booked a table 2 months in advance so we wouldn't have to queue.  What a disappointment.  

    The idea is that the waiter creates a tasting menu for you. We had the most average of tapas: chicken croquetas, pimentos, fried calamari, fried fish bait with soft boiled egg. The pimentos were just average. The calamari wasn't crispy.  Our tomato bread was soggy & cold, some burnt, and I couldn't taste any olive oil. The razor clams had sat on the pass too long so were cold by the time they got to us. The sauce of steamed clams, an old favourite was so salty we didn't want to mop up the sauce with our bread.  The other tables were served with scallops and when we asked about them the waiter said they might have run out, but when we looked unhappy about that they miraculously appeared.  Even another dish that I remembered so foldly - the tuna tartare - was served with slightly burnt toasts. We had to request the monkfish separately else they would ended there. When we asked about the gambas (prawns) that we had seen on other tables they said it was too expensive, 6-8 euros each. I would have paid for that except they had stuffed us with pedestrian tapas by that stage and I was a little too pissed to want to spend more money there. Perhaps I should have kicked up a fuss early on in the meal but I was still living on the memory of my previous meal. The only good dish from the evening was the tortilla with chorizo.
    We paid 50 euros per person for this meal, with two glasses of house wine in total (not per person).

    So, sadly I've now crossed off this restaurant on my lists, there are much much better tapas joints in the city. I'm now wondering if the previous visits I had enjoyed the food so much because I had been drunk on cava as we had to wait 45 mins in line.

    Ah well - never again.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/3/2014
    1 check-in here

    We sat at the bar and let the magic happen. Loved their house Rioja and Cava, bruschetta, fried fry with fried egg, clams with ham, tuna tartare, chicken pot pie and spinach croquettes, ham cheese and potato tortilla (omelet), flan. Worth an hour's wait.

  • 3.0 star rating
    30/7/2013
    1 check-in here

    As many of the reviewers mentioned, this is one of the highly recommended places to visit in Barcelona by many. We follow the instruction to get there 30 minutes before the opening in order to avoid the longer line of waiting, we were glad we did. The waiting turn out to be the most exciting 30 minutes for me, since you could imagine my anticipation for an awesome meal at this time was quite high.  

    After two of us finished 6 course meal and 120 something euro poorer later, I can't help but develop a mixed feeling towards Cal Pep.

    First of all, let's see what we got:
    -- a bottle of house white (can't go wrong with that)
    -- pan con tomate (good, but I haven't had any pan con tomate that were not good in Barcelona)
    -- clams cooked in chicken broth (delicious but nothing to wow for)
    -- tortilla de patatas (decent and huge)
    -- fried calamari (huge portion as well, and I thought this must be a joke)
    -- tuna tartare (huge portion, good but not great)
    -- grilled monk-fish with grilled veggies (the only awesome dish that reminded me why I were there to begin with - the Mediterranean specials)

    The good news was we were absolutely stuffed and all dishes were nothing but good.

    The bad news? Half way through the course, we realized that we went into this place without a strategy for taking advantage of the culinary skills offer by the Cal Pep. Mind you, you will not get a menu when you come in (at least for the bar line front-room dinning), and you will be asked briefly about what you like to eat, and then just leave it all to the staff/chef to decide what to bring to you. So if you were tourists, who were seeking for culinary adventures, but unfortunately answered like we did: "oh, we love everything and are open to the idea to try whatever...". Well, you will be treated as the typical tourists (rightfully so in someway), who will be fed with massive amount of crowd-pleaser but mediocre dishes in a very fast pace, and probably expected to make spaces for more tourists quickly after.  

    It was funny that we waited 30 minutes in line for eating breads, potato pancake, fried calamari and clams, which we could pretty much find those delicious but common dishes everywhere in Spain.

    Will I come back here again in the future? Maybe, but only if I could build up my courage and assertion to tell the chef/staff up front that I DO NOT want any starches, no potato, no bread, no fried dishes, one meat dish would be okay, and please stay with raw and cooked seasonal seafood, which were what the guests sat next to us did exactly. And boy, as the witness, I can tell you that the dishes they received were absolutely mouth-watering...

    3.5 star for being a tricky place.

  • 1.0 star rating
    12/10/2013

    My husband & I saved Cal Pep as our last honeymoon meal in Spain as we had heard so many good things.  Unfortunately, we couldn't have been more disappointed.  We are from Chicago & know what good food is, & had experienced incredible tapas all week long.

    The food here wasn't bad, but is was nothing special.  What was awful about this place was the service.  WARNING, if you are a tourist & do not speak Catalán, don't go here.  They will treat you differently by paying little attention to you & give you mostly fried food despite asking for other things.  Look around you... all the tourist will be served the same thing.  I wish we would have spent our $117 somewhere else as this was completely not worth it or the wait in line.

  • 5.0 star rating
    29/9/2013

    It's a small place. There will be a wait (~40 min for us). And it will be worth it.

    This is THE best tapas you will get in Barcelona. The owner seems like a character out of "Triplets of Belleville" in the best way. Every single thing we ate was the best we had in our 2-week stay in the city. There was one dish we didn't enjoy (personal taste) and they immediately switched it out for another dish at no charge. The head chef then personally came out to ask us if we enjoyed everything.

    All the recommendations speak the truth, this will be the best tapas meal you will get in Barcelona.

  • 5.0 star rating
    8/7/2013

    I've rarely eaten better food than at Cal Pep. It takes a while to be seated, but while waiting you're given an unique look into the kitchen and how all the food is prepared. The staff is friendly and the atmosphere amazing.

    The food, really, as good as it gets. Definitely recommended!

  • 4.0 star rating
    26/6/2013

    My coworker recommended this place is a must  try in Barcelona, so here I was.
    The place is not easy to find, it's located in the small alley and pretty small.
    We were seated at the bar. Please note that you would be seated next to each other  with the rest of patrons so if you need some privacy with your dining companion, this is not the place :-).
    Don't be intimidated by the long line, they go pretty quickly since the service is pretty quick. First batch, second batch, so on.. got  the idea?
    No menu to choose for, but the the waiters are friendly and would give you recommendation. We tried the fried squid, the tuna tartar, tortilla tamprera and for dessert creme brûlée.  At the end of the meal, they asked for email address and gave us postcard. They have been sending us recipe ever since. I have yet to try the recipe though :-)

  • 4.0 star rating
    3/7/2013
    Listed in The YELP 100

    While a bit touristy, it is a must in Barcelona.  The waiters make the experience very entertaining and the tapas is 100% Barcelona.

    The flash fried peppers and the little fried fish with eggs were delicious as were the croquettes.  The only downside is the majority of the menu are fried dishes.  

    It was a fun experience for the entire family and got my boys trying a lot of new foods - including sardines.

  • 5.0 star rating
    13/5/2013

    Best tapas I've ever had! Hands down.

    Brother told me to come here so my two friends and I decided to go here. After reading online that you needed to get here early we heeded their advice. Service opened at 7:30 and got here at 7. Too late. We missed the first round of service and had to wait until the first wave was over. (Stomachs grumbling)

    After another hour we finally sat down at the bar and were asked what we wanted, any allergies, how much we wanted, and what we wanted to drink. There is no menu and there really are no choices. They brought us out six or seven different dishes with each better than the last. Our favorites were the deep fried anchovies, grilled white fish, and fried artichoke hearts.

    The owner is a great guy who walks around the bar talking to the customers and taking pictures with everyone. If you ask nicely they even give you a place mat to take home.

    You obviously get what you pay for and I was glad to fork over what I did. For the three of us, tapas, beers, dessert, it was €50 each. Like I said I would gladly do it again, I'd just show up earlier.

  • 5.0 star rating
    24/7/2013

    The best meal we had on our trip to Barcelona!  Also loved that you didn't have to order anything.  They just asked you how many tapas you wanted and to tell them what you didn't like or had allergies towards.  Everything they served us was amazingly delicious.  We devoured each plate within a couple of minutes with no shame.  

    There's actually a full restaurant in the back, which we didn't see and heard that you had to call 10 days ahead to make a reservation.  Where we ate was a long bar kitchen with just stools surrounding it to fit about 15 people.  The place is decorated with a variety of nice paintings.  The line outside was pretty big for lunch on a Saturday and the place wasn't even opened yet!  We waited about an hour and a half, but it was worth it.

    The dishes we had included: delicious bread with tomato/pepper spread?  clams in wine sauce, some sort of omelet (was insanely good), tuna tartare, fish with potatoes, a cream baked dessert.

    Price was comparable to the quality of food.  About 90 American dollars for two.  Will definitely come back here whenever I go back to Barcelona.

  • 5.0 star rating
    23/3/2013

    We found this place through Yelp when we visited Barcelona in November. We arrived before it opened for dinner, and there was a queue. There were four of us - and I'll be honest, three people in our group wanted to leave. But I'd read the reviews! I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

    15 minutes we were seated at the bar, and my dining companions were giggling in delight at the food we were being served. We weren't really sure what we'd ordered - the chef asked us what we don't like and then just served us a mix of tapas dishes. Expect lots of fresh seafood and vegetables, which you watch getting cooked just a meter or so away from you.

    We staggered out after eating until we burst some 45 minutes later - turnaround of seats is quick as there are people waiting for your seat standing behind you. We were all absolutely over the moon and high on the experience at eating somewhere completely different and exciting.

  • 4.0 star rating
    26/2/2013

    How can I judge Cal Pep. It's my first time in Barcelona and what do I know of Catalan style seafood. I heard of Cal Pep being the food junkie (a term I prefer to foodie, as I've admitted that those of us as obessed with food are total junkies) but I didn't even know it specialized in seafood and I literally was walking down the street, entered a plaza and there it was. I went for lunch at around 1pm. It wasn't busy at all and I got a seat right away. Parties of two had to wait about 10 minutes. Want to avoid the dinner rush, come at lunch.

    The server quickly realized I had no clue and almost no Spanish and there is no menu. I knew I wanted anchovies and I knew I wanted garbanzo beans and he suggested fried seafood. In hindsight I could have skipped the anchoivies but I am so glad I got the garbanzo beans served with spinanch and beautiful crisp bits of blood sausage (i have always had a weakness for blood sausage but never had it cooked like lardons).  The fried seafood was just the way it should be, crisp not greasy, you can taste all the flavours and the prawn were tiny and crisp meant to be eaten heads and all and they were!

    The service was quick but not pushy and it was far cheaper than I thought it would be. My entire meal was 21 euro and would have been less if I was sharing with another person.

  • 5.0 star rating
    25/3/2013
    1 check-in here

    We were walking by and had meant to give Cal Pep a try based on all the good reviews here on yelp and we were able right in and grab a seat with no wait.  

    I didn't have a menu but I used the Yelp photo's to order some things that looked intriguing. I'd recommend the razor clams, mixed fried seafood and gambas "gloriously sweet plump red shrimp."  

    The staff here was wonderfully helpful and hospitable as was Chef Pepe.
    The atmosphere is lively, people are excited and ready to chat as everyone is on vacation and having fun. We ended up sharing most of our food with the people sitting next to us just so we could try more stuff and not overeat or waste such amazing food.
    So if your in Barcelona hit this place. Just remember that you might be waiting a while and if that's not for you find out when they open and go a little early and be cool to the help and they will be quite cool to you!

    Cheers

  • 1.0 star rating
    9/11/2013
    1 check-in here

    Horrible service if you're a tourist. The table next to us got fresh seafood and we got fried food. When we tried to tell them we wanted authentic food they got upset and offered us the check after two appetizers. Beware. It's good but make sure you get Catalan food. Very disappointed

  • 1.0 star rating
    20/10/2013

    Long wait for mediocre food. Many other better places to eat in Barcelona.  Seafood fresh, but sort of bland.  Calamari was tough.  Bad attitude from waiter, and no menus or prices.  That is your sign of a scam anywhere in Europe.

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/12/2013

    Great lunch time tapas butbe prepared to queue - 15 minutes. Tell them what you dont eat and let them suprise you. We had Coca bread brushed with tomato, garlic and olive oil, clams in a buttery herby sauce, crispy fried mini artichokes, a sumptious tortilla trampera, tuna tartare, monkfish with baked slice potatoes and tomato, and langustines, two beers and two fizzy water. 84 euros. But all very good and very friendly service. A fun time at the bar watching all the food being cooked.

    The restaurant area at the back had a very different atmosphere. More subdeued.

  • 2.0 star rating
    3/12/2013

    This was the first place we tried in Barcelona and we picked it based on the reviews. I don't really have anything terrible to say about it specifically, but there are just so many better options. It was by far the least impressive place we went and it was the most expensive! If you're looking for a fantastic tapas experience in Barri Gotic definitely check out Tapeo, Barmuth, or Llamber instead.

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/4/2013

    This place is definitely worth a detour. Definitely a tourist hot spot, but the food is delicious and decor is authentic.

    The servers are warm and inviting but they are kind of pushy by trying to get you to order more food which is NOT cheap. From my observation, the wait is long if you are a party of two. Come early with an empty stomach and some moolah.

    See pictures. See for yourself.

  • 3.0 star rating
    23/10/2012

    Cal Pep was highly recommended to me before going to Barcelona, so my expectations were high. First off, this is a popular place and not only is it popular, it is very small. If you are not on time (before they open) you will most likely be queuing outside. I think we waited about 45 minutes to get a seat at the bar (you sit and eat at what looks like a bar).

    Once you manage to get your orders in, or rather tell the chef what you like, you are served quite fast while watching the waiters and chefs run on and off shouting behind the counter.

    The quality of the food is good, but for me it wasn't mind blowing good. It is a hectic and noisy atmosphere here, which does make it a bit hard for me to enjoy. The queue goes behind your back, you have people half a meter behind you while you eat, noise levels are high and you are quickly disposed of when finished. For me, I really dislike queuing and noisy restaurants, so as you can see that brings the overall down.

    As a side note, they ask for your email after you are done, so now I have been getting recipes in my email. Nice touch!

  • 5.0 star rating
    12/9/2012

    This place reminds me of the soup Nazi in Seinfeld.  The restaurant (more like a hole in the wall) has no more than 20 seats total. The restaurant opens at 5:30, but knowing that this place is VERY popular and will have a queue, we got there at 5.  We were the first in line, but then some other crazies arrived soon after us.  By the time it opened, there were at least 20 in line.  

    I'm not sure if there is a menu, and if there is, then I sure as heck didn't' see it.  The chef asked us what type of food we like, and we told him seafood, so he cooked us an assortment of seafood right in front of us.  The food was very nicely seasoned and tasted fresh.

    We paired the seafood with a few bottles of white wine and socialized with other customers who were visiting from other countries.  The atmosphere is lively and from their faces, it is obvious that everyone thought the food is superb.  Two hours or so later, we were finally done and our stomachs completely satisfied.  By the time we were ready to leave, the queue was long and people were probably giving us the evil eye as we were the first ones in, but not the first ones to leave.  

    I highly recommend that you check this restaurant out if you are in Barcelona.  Just expect not to find out how much everything is until you get your bill.  We didn't care since we were on holiday and enjoying this exceptional meal, but the damage was pretty bad.

  • 5.0 star rating
    15/6/2012
    1 check-in here

    This was one of my favorite meals in Spain. The freshness and flavors of all the dishes blew me away.

    Some tips:
    Pay attention to what day and time it is. When we were there a few days ago, they were only open Monday dinner, Saturday lunch, and Tues-Fri L&D, and closed Sundays. Many restaurants in Barcelona in particular are closed Saturday evenings and all day Sunday, so don't learn the hard way!
    There will be a line regardless of when you show up, so be prepared to wait.  However, once you order, the food comes out fairly quickly.
    While you're waiting in line, look at what the other patrons are ordering and keep those dishes in mind. When you sit down, you won't be given a menu and instead you'll be asked what you like and don't like. Some stuff like the scallops are seasonal. (there's a menu outside to peruse while you're waiting)

    Now onto my favorites (which was everything!)
    The prawns were ridiculously expensive (6€ for 1 shrimp) but divine. They were large, succulent, and sweet. If you're in the mood to splurge, go for it!

    The clams are simply presented in a garlic/white wine broth but again very well done.  Definitely get an order of tomato pan (basically bread schmeared with tomato) to sop up the juices.

    The tuna tartare was the best version I ever had.  Go for it if you're a tartare fan.

    Finally, we made the best mistake ever.  I asked for mussels and instead we got mushrooms.  It was literally a dish of sauteed mushrooms, but holy cow, it was the best mushrooms that I've ever had.  So glad he misheard us!

    We left completely satisfied and happy! Definitely make room in your schedule for Cal Pep, you won't regret it.

  • 5.0 star rating
    14/8/2013

    Being vegetarian, I thought it would be hard to find tapas that I could eat. When my husband suggested going to Spain for vacation, I prepared myself to be hungry for the duration of your trip.

    We went to Cal Pep the first night in Barcelona and let me tell you, this place is AMAZING!!!!! There was a long line but definitely worth the wait! We got lucky and were seated in the back room because someone cancelled their reservations (there are only a few tables and reservations are required back there). Service was fantastic! They recommend dishes for you based on your dietary requirements and likes/dislikes. The food was so good. I have a new found love for tapas! It's been a month since we ate at Cal Pep and I still dream about this place!

    Our waiter suggested the following items for me, all of which I could eat over and over:
    Spinach with garbanzo
    Garlic mushrooms
    Fried artichoke
    Grilled Peppers

    My husband also loved his dishes which included:
    Calamari
    Mussels
    Jamon

  • 5.0 star rating
    6/9/2013

    Excellent food. Well worth the wait. And while you wait you get to see what other people order and it helps you make your decisions.

  • 5.0 star rating
    19/10/2011

    I stayed in Barcelona for 4 days this summer, and Cal Pep was my hands down favorite tapas joint.  They pegged me as tourist right off the bat, choosing the dishes for me.  I was thankful since my Spanish was terrible.  All the dishes were superbly done, and the simplest dishes were better than I've had anywhere else.  Just unbelievable how fresh and tasty the food was!  The place is not cheap, FYI, but ironically a bottle of white wine was only 8 euros.  We loved the place so much, we came back a second time and were able to choose our dishes instead of letting them pick for us.  If I ever get to go back to Barcelona, get me a chair at Cal Pep!

    Calamari - lightly floured and salted, and I swear garlic found it's way in the flour too.  So simple but easily the best fried calamari I've ever had.

    Tuna tartare - chopped and formed in a cylindrical shape, mixed with herbs, olive oil, and sesame seed, and served with toasted bread.  Mmmm, that's where it's at!

    Potato cake - that's the name I give it.  It looks like a pancake with some white sauce drizzled on it.  I guess it's their version of patatas bravas and it rocks.  The inside is gooey and creamy, and something I did not expect when I took my first bite.

    Clams - fresh as can be.  I had regular clams in a white wine sauce, and razor clams in garlic, butter, and herbs.  Both were fantastic, but the razor clams stole the show with their meaty texture.

    Baby squid and chick peas - this was one of the dishes they picked for me, and I would have never picked it myself.  Cooked together until the chick peas are nice and soft, and the sauce comes from the breakdown of the ingredients.  Verdict - unexpectedly delicious!

    If you ask for wine, you get a bottle, not a glass.  They also serve toasted bread with tomatoes and olive oil rubbed on them with your dishes.

  • 4.0 star rating
    10/9/2012

    Warning: Make sure you come here before they open at 7:30PM otherwise the wait will be long. We came here at 7:25PM and there were a bunch of people in front of us already. We had to wait till first round of people to finish up before we could sit down to eat. The energy is definitely there with chefs cooking up the dishes right in front of the bar stools and master chef Pep yelling and ordering.

    There is a dining room with tables in the back but is only reserved for groups and people who make reservations. Walk-ins only get bar stools but most people seem to be doing that anyway.

    We ordered 5 dishes of tapas to try and we enjoyed every single of them.

    1. Fried Green Pepper: I mean it is fried so it has to be good; I think it is pretty hard to screw this one up.

    2. Fried baby shrimp: Fresh shrimp with crispy edible shells. Yum.

    3. Tuna Tartare: This is definitely a must. Fresh and tasty.

    4. Catalanian Bread: Baked baguette spread with tomato and olive oil. It is pretty damn good.

    5. Fried artichoke: Pretty good but greasy

    We also got a bottle of house white wine for only $9. That is a steal.

    We ended our dinner with two desserts: One is the Creme de Catalunya, which is basically creme Brulee and it is very good and two people can share. We were greedy so we got another burnt caramel top rum soaked cake (I don't know what it is called) but it is so damn good.  

    I would definitely come back next time. I saw a lot of people order the sauteed clams and fried triple fish and that looks like a winner.

  • 5.0 star rating
    30/5/2011

    Oh My God!!! Hot Diggity Dog...Yelp has finally made it to Spain! Where were you when I needed you back in April during my vacation???

    Let me tell you this is a must try tapas bar if you make it out to Barcelona. My friend highly recommended this restaurant to me, so I knew I had to try it. I had a local show me where this restaurant was located at. Definitely the walk to this restaurant from La Rambla is a bit tricky! You have to walk through all these cobblestone alleys. The restaurants and shops along the walk was very quaint and lovely.

    You're sitting at the bar and it probably seats up to around 15-20 seats. It's a tight fit, so be prepared for the long wait. People are literally standing outside the door to wait for a spot.

    We ordered some beer to kill the time. It's was a good 40 mins. before we got a seat. There's no menu at this place. You basically tell the waiters what you feel like eating and they will create tapas for you. We ordered 6 dishes (mostly all seafood dishes). The seafood doesn't taste like the seafood you get here in America. It actually taste fresher and it was very flavorful! The menu changes here a lot, so I can't say to order a specific thing. However, if you love seafood just as much as I do go ahead and order a couple of seafood dishes. You won't regret it...the food and experience here was very memorable.

    This place adds up! I paid about 120 Euros here. I can only dream about coming back to Barcelona one day. I love everything about Barcelona!

  • 5.0 star rating
    23/6/2011
    1 check-in here

    This shows up on the top tapas bar lists in every one of our guide books and was highly recommended by a friend, so we booked in advance and got a table in the quieter back room (vs the very crowded bar area where I imagine it'd be hard to feel like you had any privacy at all).

    The fun of this place is warm and friendly servers bringing you plate after plate without you have to order.  It definitely feels like an authentic homestyle restaurant, so the dishes are more basic than those say at Cerverceria Catalana, and not quite as fancy as Paco Meralgo, but boy the food was still fresh and delicious.  

    We had the pan con tomate (good), fried calamari (okay), carpaccio with monkfish and sweet caramelized onions (delicious and refreshing), tuna tartare (okay), chicken croquettes (yummy), spinach croquettes (delicious), the fried poblano peppers (good, not as good as Mordisco), clams with bacon (distinctive, yummy), mussels (excellent and fresh, but a bit salty), potato omelette (good and creamy).  We also had the strawberry cup with lemon mousse, and creme catalon with caramelized ginger.  My friends enjoyed both desserts. We also enjoyed our wine a lot (proto).

    We all loved the experience, family restaurant ambience,
    and the friendly service.   About 230 euros for 5 girls.

  • 3.0 star rating
    7/1/2012

    Overrated and not worth the wait.  If you can get in without much of a wait (good luck) then I think it's  worth a go.  However, if you find yourself standing towards the end of the line up against the wall (or heaven forbid, OUTSIDE the door), there are many other good (and superior) options nearby.

    Cal Pep opens at 7:30 pm and we arrived at 7:15 pm, which put us squarely at the end of the sorry queue perched along the back wall, watching everyone who had come in ahead of us sitting at the counter and enjoying a delightful meal.  Sometimes coming as a larger group does pay off, as they would take in parties of 4 ahead of smaller parties to sit at tables outside in the back.  But singles, pairs, and trios were otherwise fated to wait for a seat at the counter.

    Thankfully, each service took only about 45-50 minutes, but during that time we noticed that this place probably gets a lot of positive foreign press.  We felt surrounded by many English (or non-Spanish speaking) diners, and even one couple brandishing a Delta Airline Inflight magazine article featuring the restaurant and its owner, seeking an autograph from the man himself.

    So what about the food?  Our waiter simply recommended a series of tapas to which we willingly obliged, although they seemed pretty happy to accommodate requests (one diner next to us said, "I don't really like seafood" - seriously?!?!).  My favourite of the bunch was the deep fried collection of squid, sardines, and shrimp - nothing fancy and nothing I haven't had elsewhere, but I simply have a soft spot in my heart for deep fried piles of goodness.

    The omelet and tuna tartare dishes seemed to be both typical standards, but they did serve us a squid and chickpea dish that I could have done without.  We eyed another couple eating a wonderful squid dish, lightly dressed with olive oil that looked absolutely scrumptious, and were I to do this again, I would have asked for something like that.  We did get a plate of razor clams and clams that were both simply cooked and delicious, so I think that anything that they can pull off with less is certainly more.

    If they ask about dessert, skip their Creme Catalan.  It can be found anywhere, and they manage to Disney-ize their dish by having the restaurant's name emblazoned on top of the dessert without adding much more to the dish.  But if asked whether I would come back again, I would not if I had to line up.  But if the evening was drawing to an end and I saw a few empty seats at the counter, there's very little that would keep me from coming back to that plate of deep fried deliciousness calling out my name.

  • 5.0 star rating
    8/6/2012

    Food here was very good.  We didn't see a menu if there was one, they just brought out dishes and we ate them.  Everything was good; most of the dishes were seafood, but we had a steak entree.  The Padron peppers were the highlight, they were better here than anywhere else we had them.  Seafood was all fresh.  Food was generally saltier than I expected but I liked that.

    My group of 4 did not have a very long wait.  We got there at about 7:30PM on a weeknight, and there was a line to the door, but a bunch of groups at the bar left right after we arrived and we were soon at the front of the line.  Then, we asked if there was space in the back.  At first they said no, but then Mr. Pep said there was one table but that it was reserved for 9:20pm.  At this point it was only about 7:45, so we were happy to take the table under the condition that we would leave when they needed it.  It never became a problem as the dishes came out fast, and a much larger group they were obviously waiting out took much longer than us.  So, we got lucky.  I'm not sure how I would feel about the meal if I had waited an hour or more for it, but in my experience the wait was overblown.

    Meal came out to just over 50 euro each, with one bottle of wine.  Well worth it in my book.

  • 5.0 star rating
    2/6/2011

    This was the only nicer restaurant w/ edible food I visited  last month in BCN. Despite raving praises galore, finding good food here is tricky and rare. But this place quickly became a mainstay during my last trip to spain. concierges will point eager foodies to the area near the cathedral/gothic quarter(generally awful tapas there, save for maybe hole-in-wall pubs somewhat far away from the Ramblas or cathedral) or the port near Barcelona Beach(so-so food, but great ambience).

    I'll 2nd that the seafood here is amazing(in general, Barcelona's food-tapas scene is depressingly overrated, I learned), both the bar and menu selections. Try the (upscale) meatballs, octopus and huge prawns(somehow, this is the only place of many I tried during 2 wks in Barcelona that can cook shrimp!).

    Cal Pep is close enough to the beach bars and clubs that make Barcelona so great.. so I highly recommend dropping by Cal's then hitting the beach bars, (underground) clubs, casinos etc. Drink a few cap.'s, then splurge on a taxi, lol.

  • 4.0 star rating
    20/7/2013

    Great food! Hard to get a seat, but well worth a wait. We told the waiter what we didn't like & let him pick for us. Noteworthy items included sausage with beans, gambas and green peppers. All of it was great.

    Best way to get in is to stop by on a weekday when it opens for lunch.

  • 5.0 star rating
    8/8/2012
    1 check-in here

    Patience is key. There is always a line at Cal Pep. I heard of this place from another foodie friend that visited Barcelona, so I decided to check it out. Cal Pep is located in the old gothic area section of the city.  Narrow streets and stone buildings. Love it.

    So Cal Pep is known for the chef choosing what you eat. Yes, you can order off the menu, but trust Chef Pep. I did and I was not disappointed. Lots of seafood! Delicious.  Can't wait to return when I go back to Barcelona.

  • 1.0 star rating
    13/10/2011
    Listed in My Travels

    Overrated, overhyped and oversalted. That's my review of Cal Pep.

    Long wait for a seat at the bar? Si! Not worth it at all? Si! Si!

    Seriously, if I am going to wait 45 minutes to sit on a tiny bar stool and be treated with indifferent service by an unfriendly barman, the least the chef can do is learn to season his food properly. But No! Every bite was too salty. I left hungry and thirsty! We had the tasting menu, which looked like a good variety when we watched others getting served, but by the second course of clams drenched in salt, I didn't want any more.

    This place was also overpriced. Ugh. I am so sad I wasted one of three dinners in Barcelona at Cal Pep, and I am annoyed at my husband's friend for raving about it so much that we felt we had to go. Yuck.

  • 5.0 star rating
    15/5/2013

    LOOOOOOVE this place!!! We missed our lunch tiem attempt  and wow was I glad it didn't work out! We went back for dinner and stood in line for 30mins for it open. It was well worth the wait!! When we walked in they asked how many in our party? We told them 5 and they brought us to the back!!! The front is diner style seating only for 12people...but in the back there is a room where they store their wine...It's only for reservations and a group of 4 or more! Our waiter was AWESOME! Loved him - he was so nice! All of the food was so fresh and tasty!!!!

    *If you know you are going there ahead of time, call and reserve a table in the back for a party of 4 or more! The waiter told us a WEEK in advance is about right*

    It was our best meal of the trip!!!!!!!!

    • Qype User ricard…
    • London
    • 25 friends
    • 110 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    25/5/2009

    Ah, Cal Pep, Cal Pep! The mother of all tapas bars, the true original. Well, not quite. Barcelona, being the Catalan capital and having a distinct and completely different gastronomic tradition to other regions of Spain, is not the origin of tapas or the best place to find or eat them. That would be Seville in Andalusia and San Sebastián in the Basque Country. And possibly Madrid. But Cal Pep is world famous, even, rather incongruously, appearing at no. 31 in the 2005 San Pellegrino World's Best Restaurants awards and winning the award for Outstanding Value, and also at no. 66 in 2007. Its fame is so widespread that people queue outside for however long it takes to get a place at the bar. Celebrities, famous chefs and critics the world over mention Cal Pep in hushed tones.

    The queue moves slowly along the back inside. From door to sit-down, at lunchtime, the wait is about an hour long. Perfectly reasaonable when you're about to have one of the world's finest and freshest seafood tapas experiences.

    Pep Manubens himself is always there, after three decades of hard work. The staff always smile and always help. Given the pressure, and the high number of non-local visitors who are excited and anxious, you'd think staff would be grumpy and surly, but the mood is cheeful. The speed with which dishes are made to order, and the industrial discipline of the kitchen are deeply impressive.

    Cal Pep is a Mecca for foodies for a simple reason: it's honest, fresh and simple. And it's not expensive. It has inspired legions of imitators, not least London's Barrafina. If you have one day to spend in Barcelona, this would be a perfect lunch option. An hour waiting? An hour well spent.

    • Qype User Charli…
    • Berlin, Germany
    • 17 friends
    • 64 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    19/3/2010

    Go. Seriously! There have been so many spin offs around the world from this place - but no one does it like them, this is Spain after all, so all the ingredients are right at their doorstep.
    Bar seating, no reservation, order whatever everyone else is having - especially the seafood.

  • 5.0 star rating
    17/4/2013
    1 check-in here

    In our recent visit to Barcelona we were told we had to eat at this spot. When we finally got there the line was out the door, due to its bar style seating of only maybe 20 seats and its popularity. I wasn't too excited about waiting 45mins in line but it was definitely worth the wait. When we got seated the gentlemen asked us how many tapas we wanted and if we'd like what he recommended, which was fine with us and definitely a perfect choice. The food was amazing, the best clams and squid I had on our trip. Chef Pep was also extremely friendly, shaking hands and taking pictures with people. This was overall a great experience!

  • 4.0 star rating
    5/5/2013
    1 check-in here

    When you go to a restaurant that offers few dishes, most likely they do them all well. The only thing I didn't like were the potatoes. They were fried in a pan very slowly and got soaked in oil.

Page 1 of 2