Barcelona Wine Bar is a chain, with a couple dozen locations throughout a dozen or so states. However, from a visit to the Wynwood location (the only one in Florida), you’d never know it.
It fits into the vibe of the neighborhood perfectly. That’s because, although it is a chain, each location has its own feel. Even the menu varies based on the region and the chef’s background. Yes, there are classic tapas on the menu, but the other dishes vary utilizing the finest seasonal picks from local markets combined with specialties from Spain, the Mediterranean, and whatever region is home to each spot’s chef.
Gather with friends as you sit and sip imported wines, beers, and cocktails from the extensive drink menu, and munch on the vast tapas offerings. Dietary restrictions are no problem because there are plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The charcuterie board offers a vast selection of cured or smoked meats and imported cheeses. We especially enjoyed the Castilla-La Mancha aged manchego and the Caña de Cabra Murcia, both from Spain. The Murcia was especially tasty spread on the freshly baked foaccia bread that we could smell every time they pulled another rack of loaves from the oven.
Of course, what goes better with bread and cheese than a nice glass of wine? Barcelona has a selection of more than 400 Mediterranean, Spanish, and Latin American wines both by the bottle and by the glass, all with an emphasis on organic, lesser-known regions, and family-run producers. Truthfully, I would have been satisfied if all we had that night was the cheese and my Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, but we were there to sample the entire menu so on we plowed.
The tapas (the majority of which as priced well under $10) are meant to be shared, with a suggestion of two tapas plates per person. Executive Chef Javier Narvaez offers favorites such as the jamón and Manchego croquetas, shrimp scampi, albondigas (meatballs), and of course, bacon-wrapped dates. We opted for two classics; the excellent Spanish tortilla (alternating slices of thin potato and cheese baked like a pie, with a sour cream dipping sauce, and grilled octopus).
I always order the octopus, not only because I enjoy it, but to test the kitchen. It is difficult to cook correctly, and Barcelona’s version was perfectly prepared, creamy in the center, with crispy bits on the tentacles. We finished the tapas course by splitting a small mixed salad. There was more than enough for the two of us and at $9 it could have served as an entrée.
We’d already ordered a small vegetable paella and when it arrived, we were shocked at the size. There was easily enough for two for dinner alone, quite generous for $18. The crispy rice and tender vegetables were delicious. We took a few bites and had the rest packed up for lunch the next day. We relaxed over tea and coffee and, although I was full, I ate my entire flourless chocolate cake, on a pool of coffee crème anglaise, sprinkled with almond crumble. My hubby was more restrained, sampling just a nibble of his Basque cheesecake and taking the rest home for breakfast.
Service was attentive and during our meal, the owner and both managers came to check on us, as I noticed they did with all tables. We found metered parking right across the street, but it was early on a Wednesday evening. The Wynwood area is a trendy destination in Miami and Barcelona perfectly fits in with the hip urban, small-community vibe. The restaurant has only been open a few weeks and you can bet its street-side patio will become the place for drinking, dining, and people watching, late into the evening. Best to go now, before it gets too popular.
Barcelona Wine Bar
310 NW 25th St., Miami