Give it a try if… You are looking for well-prepared, classic tapas in a nice environment.
Steer clear if… You hate to be kept waiting a bit.
It must be pretty clear by now that, quite frankly, I am not a tapas enthusiast (CHOIR: OOOH!). I guess I am to blame for coming from a society where each person orders his or her plate (CHOIR: OOOOOH!) and is allowed to happily consume it – and just as happily share a part of it, if the mood strikes – without embarking on an awkward obstacle race with added problems such as, Who is going to take the first bite? And who the last? Who will prove to be too selfish? And who will need to shamefully wolf down a greasy kebab on the way home? Still, the occasional visit to a tapas restaurant can provide valuable lessons in social interaction – and if the place is as reliable as Bodega Sepúlveda, it might even end up being a gratifying experience.
Who Is Honouring Who?
In a time of austerity and ever-emptier dining tables, this classic restaurant – conveniently located a few minutes’ walk from the busy English-language movie theatre Renoir Floridablanca – is often quite packed. If you have not reserved a table, you will have to wait a while before they even acknowledge your presence to let you know you’d better forget it, thanks. If you do have a reservation, do not get overexcited: you will still be a victim of the typical barcelonian ASP (Acutely Selective Perception, as in “I only see or hear what I deem worthy of interrupting my very, very important contingent task”), but at least in the end you will get the privilege of giving them a significant amount of your money in exchange for their very, very precious services (another building block of the sometimes bewildering local attitude towards service).
Quality Saves the Day
Bodega Sepúlveda is not too cheap – you can easily spend 30-35 euros each, above average for this sort of place – but I consider its prices rather fair for the quality of the ingredients and the careful preparation. It does offer more than tapas if you wish, but so far I have ironically stuck to them on my visits. The results can be vaguely mixed: the buñuelos de bacalao and the tostada de atún are wonderful, some of the different types of croquetas and even the pan con tomate are unusually good, while the esqueixada tastes less divine than it looks and the patatas Sepúlveda are not too special. Yet on the whole you leave the place – which is also quite pleasant for its old-fashioned decor and quiet ambience, perfect to chit-chat the night away – feeling adequately rewarded. That is why I have been there a few times during the years, and I will keep returning (and bringing friends) every once in a while.
UPS Score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 7+/10