Tuesday 3 March 2009

Princesa 23, Carrer de la Princesa, Barcelona

Late on weekend evenings a queue builds up outside Princesa 23 and this tapas-bar-cum-pub gets packed with bright young things from about 11pm onwards. The atmosphere is generally good and the waitresses are pleasant, but things can get edgy - on one evening a customer managed to smash one of the glass doors and a fight ensued in the street. Moreover, the San Miguel (5.50 euros for a pint) is insipid and the tapas (about 6 euros a dish) is haphazard.

Forlorn manchetta cheese
There is a lot of sauce, but little meat, in the meatballs, while the potato wedges are salty, but moreish. The king prawns are a bit bland, but the fine ham and melon is delicious. The thin and slightly forlorn manchetta cheese comes with a handful of seeded grapes and a celery stick, while the Spanish omelet is unmemorable. Aside from the tapas, you can order more substantial dishes, such as a pile of mediocre and very salty fish paella (12 euros), crowned with two king prawns, or a messy mixture (6 euros) of over-cooked scrambled egg and salty smoked salmon, topped with a cross made from an asparagus stick sliced length ways. Princesa 23, which can also get a little smokey, is not a great place to eat, but it certainly has a buzz. 6/10