BARCELONA WINE BAR
1709 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-515-7900; barcelonawinebar.com
Spanish tapas have landed in a big way on this pointy East Passyunk corner, a former clothing store that has been converted into a deceptively large, wedge-shaped space done-up with industrial chic bare wood, a U-shaped marble bar and fold-up windows beside a hedge-trimmed sidewalk patio. You'd never know it was a national chain, except for when some of the big Spanish menu's traditional dishes lack touch. It won't be mistaken for Amada South. But there are enough good plates, good wines, and a lively social vibe for this magnetic newcomer to offer added value to the Avenue.
MENU HIGHLIGHTS Charcuterie and cheese: jamón Serrano and Mangalica; chorizo picante; Valdéon; Idiazábal; marinated Mahón. Tapas: potato tortilla; swordfish; jamón-Manchego croquetas; albondigas; lamb and pepper stew; lamb chops; garlic shrimp; empanadas; chorizo and sour figs; kabocha squash with pimentón maple syrup. Parillada mixed grill; seafood paella; whole roast trout; crema Catalan.
DRINKS Barcelona serves cocktails (try the citrusy house Gintonic) and a handful of craft beers. But wines are the primary feature, with 40 available by the glass and 400 labels in all, 60-percent of them from Spain. Try a Xarel-lo white, a sparkling dry rosé from Naveran, or one of several rich reds to pair with grilled meats. The R-Oh garnacha-carineña blend is a good example from the relatively new Montsant region in Catalonia. I wish the sherry and cider options were stronger.
WEEKEND NOISE Despite some sound-proofing panels on the ceiling, the noise can hit a boisterious 92 decibels. Conversation is still possible, but it's strained. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
IF YOU GO Dinner Tues-Sat, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sun and Mon, until midnight.
Tapas, $4.50-$11.50 (about 3 per person). Entrees, $19-$28..
All major cards.
Reservations suggested but not required.
Street parking only. (Barcelona does not participate in East Passyunk's cooperative valet service.)