Thursday 28 February 2013

Orio BCN Gòtic, Carrer Ferran, Barcelona

A mix of tourists and Catalans visit this welcoming pintxos bar on one of the main drags through Barcelona's Gothic quarter.  Touting "Basque gastronomy", Orio claims to serve more than 80 varieties of pintxos - garnished morsels of meat, fish, cheese and the like pinned to fairly hard bread with a toothpick. You can share one of the large wooden tables with your fellow diners in the lively restaurant with its high ceiling or eat al fresco at one of the outside tables on a covered terrace running alongside the restaurant. Either way, you can go to the bar buffet and select your pintxos (1.95 euros apiece) from large plates - you are charged according to how many toothpicks end up on your plate.  The spread is likely to include smoked salmon, topped with onion, mackerel, cured meats, tortilla, stuffed peppers and croquettes, all on bread. Some of the pintxos are hard to identify, but they often provide an interesting mix of sweet and savoury flavours. The friendly black-shirted staff also come round with platters of warm pintxos, such as sausages, encouraging you to try them. These snacks are generally good, but they are meant to be appetisers and it might cost you 20 euros or so to fill up. Orio also has a more conventional menu, an extensive wine list or can get a pint of beer on draught for about 5 euros. 7/10