Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Barcelona Wine Bar for New Haven Restaurant Week Fall 2013

It's a favorite time of year for many. The fall leaves are beautiful, the weather is crispy cool and clear, and, although it's sad that the days are shorter because of daylight savings time; darkness at 5:00pm for some reason stimulates my appetite.

And it couldn't have happened at a better time - it coincides with New Haven's Fall Restaurant Week, running 11-3-13 through 11-8-13.You can see a list of participating restaurants HERE.

This week is incredibly busy for me, but my niece Nicole was in town this weekend, and we managed to sneak some time for ourselves and make our way to downtown New Haven and visit a new dining experience for both of us, Barcelona Wine Bar on Temple Street!

Mural in Barcelona's Dining Room
I'll admit. I was a little leery when we first got there at around 5:30pm on Sunday evening.  There were some emergency vehicles who had closed off Temple Street,  parking was difficult, and the restaurant itself is not very well marked. I knew it was next to the Omni Hotel, but there didn't seem to be a sign anywhere. And, the door to the restaurant is almost hidden. In spite of ourselves, we found it!

The hidden doorway!
The restaurant was pretty busy and despite having made reservations, we had to sit at a small two-top squeezed between two four-tops. I'm all about sitting and eating in comfort...so I felt a little claustrophobic sandwiched between two larger tables. We contemplated leaving the dining room and moving to the bar but eventually decided to stay where we were.

 It didn't help that I also didn't understand how Barcelona was offering their version of restaurant week, our waiter Ryan mentioned something about pick two here, or four here, or only one here. I was a bit confused, but after I had a few minutes to look over the menu, and he returned with my cocktail, a Lemon Something prepared by one of Barcelona's amazing bartenders, I had a better understanding of the menu, and Ryan was able to better explain how I could order Barcelona's version of the Prix Fixe Meal. And of course, it also helped that the Lemon Something, prepared with my new favorite, Licor 43, was amazing. I'm afraid I don't know what else was in it, but it was delightful, a lemony version of an orange creamcicle. So. Good.
Lemon Something at Barcelona Wine Bar New Haven
Made with Licor 43

Nicole decided not to go with the restaurant week offerings and ordered the Crispy Calamari and for an entree the  Ribeye a la Plancha. I was a thoughtful dining companion and didn't ask Nicole if I could take pictures of her ribeye. See. I'm not such a bad aunt after all!

I ordered three items off the Tapas section as my Prix Fixe Restaurant Week offering, and saved my fourth selection for dessert.

 Crispy Calamari and Pear Salad as "appetizers"
(L) Crispy Calamari with Smoked Pepper Aioli
(R) Pear Salad with Aragula, Chopped Pistachios and Valdeon Cheese
Both were absolutely delicious. The calamari was perfectly cooked, well-portioned, and the smoked Pepper Aioli for dipping was out of this world. The pear salad was delicious. The fresh fruit combined with the nuts and cheese. Heaven!

...Grilled Lamb Chops for my "entree"

Grilled Lamp Chops with Arugula and Romesco
Life. Changing. The lamb chops were cooked perfectly and well rested. The salty grilled outer coating, the medium rare meat on the inside, all combined with the peppery arugula, and the tangy Romesco sauce was an amazing flavor combination. The Romesco was the perfect blend of bitxo peppers, roasted nuts and garlic, fused together with a light oil. Mucho Bueno!

And for "dessert" - Tres Leches, while Nicole sipped on her sherry that accompanied her ribeye. Don't you just love a restaurant that pairs a sherry with a meal!
Tres Leches and Amontillado, Medium, Pedro Romero Sherry
The Tres Leches was amazing. Sweet, eggy sponge cake saturated with even sweeter condensed milk. So rich and creamy sweet that you don't think you can stand it. BUT YOU DO!!! Each bite was so good!

Nicole had never tasted sherry before, and she ended up loving the combination of the nutty richness and the light citrus flavors. Her words - "it's like cracking open a walnut and drinking it!"

Each course that was served got better and better, and in spite of my original crankiness, we ended up loving the casual intimacy of dining of Barcelona Wine Bar and we can't wait to go back again!  Service was great with only a slight wait for our check, which allowed us time to chat after dinner and catch up with one another. Food was terrific and neither of us could stop talking about how delicious everything we ordered was!

Don't hesitate to visit Barcelona Wine Bar - just look for the hidden door on Temple Street!

155 Temple St.
 In the Omni New Haven Hotel
 New Haven, CT 06510
 Tel: 203.848.3000

Follow them on twitter: https://twitter.com/BarcelonaWineBa

Have you been to any of the Barcelona Wine Bars in Washington DC,  Atlanta GA, Brookline MA, New Haven, West Hartford, Fairfield, Greenwich, Stamford or  SouthNorwalk CT locations?

I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
Barcelona New Haven on Urbanspoon


  1. Been to the Sono and Stamford ones -- sometimes crowded, but I guess that's because of the delicious food!

    1. Jessie, I have to admit, I was surprised at how busy they were. New Haven offers free Sunday parking, and along with restaurant week, that probably boosted their evening. Food was sooo good!

  2. OOo that sear on the lamb is beautiful! Looks like a pretty happening place!! :D I know at the Wine+Food fest they had a date stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon over a glass of sherry. It was mind blowing!

    1. Jenny, sooo good! That's why I chose Barcelona - they wowed me at GreenwichF+W and I knew I had to have more!

  3. I sure do love Barcelona. Glad you got to go there for such a cheap rate on restaurant week. Their food and service are excellent!

    1. I agree! I loved everything we had and New Haven restaurant week is always a bargain!

  4. WOW!! This sounds like it was very fun. The food looks absolutely delicious! I would love to go there sometime and enjoy the night. I have never tried Calamari, it looks very yummy. :)

    1. WHAT? No calamari? Erica, you must try it! Barcelona has locations throughout the state! Hopefully you'll get to one soon! Thanks for stopping by to say Hi!


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