Fancy a trip to the gorgeous Barcelona? Struggling on a student budget? Me too… Pay a visit to Tapas Barcelona in Southampton’s cultural quarter instead.
A few Thursdays ago, a friend and I decided to inject some life into our mundane student meal plans of spaghetti bolognese and beans of toast by paying a visit to Tapas Barcelona. The restaurant is located directly opposite the Guildhall building and is easily accessible using the U1C bus or on foot. We decided to meet at 6pm to take advantage of the ‘after work club menu’ and, avoiding the two hour flight and need for sun cream, were quickly transported from the dreary late-February streets to a restaurant so vibrant and with a menu so tempting that we really could have been in Barcelona.
Being fairly quiet at 6pm, we decided to explore the restaurant in search for the best table. The restaurant is split across two levels; the lower floor offers a more formal dining and bar experience and the upper level provides a more relaxed, sociable setting for drinks. Despite being taken aback by the colours, comfy seating and authenticity of the design upstairs we decided to play safe and sit downstairs, choosing a table right at the heart of the restaurant (which also happened to be strategically placed near the cocktail bar). The restaurant is just as stimulating for your eyes as it is for your taste buds and the high ceilings, hanging lights and colourful wall art held our attention, at least until the food arrived…
The ‘After work club menu’ is available from 3pm-7.30pm Monday to Friday and you can choose between the 4 Tapas for £12 and 7 Tapas for £20 deals. Naturally we opted for the latter. As part of a search for the best calamari in Southampton the ‘deep fried squid’ immediately caught our eye and we decided we couldn’t resist ordering a dish each! The squid was accompanied by a sweet chilli dip and the whole dish did not disappoint – this coming from a self-proclaimed calamari expert! We also both opted for the ‘sticky chicken wings’ and then shared the ‘sherry fried chorizo’, ‘pork meatballs’ and ‘tomato & garlic break with Serrano ham’. We were very happy with all the dishes, especially the way they were presented on a ‘tapas tree’ and despite being very full towards the end, we finished the lot!
With the menu offering 2 4 1 cocktails (from 3-7.30pm) we couldn’t turn say no, so both treated ourselves to the ‘Pash and Dash’ (Finlandia vodka, passoã, strawberries, limes and passion fruit) and were again very satisfied with our choice.
The food was served quickly and the staff were attentive and friendly but not too imposing which meant we could have a good catch-up without constantly being interrupted, as is the case in some restaurants.
With delicious food and a great atmosphere, and at good value for money, Tapas Barcelona should be on everyone’s Southampton bucket list. So if you’re looking to escape those looming essay deadlines, revision, or Southampton altogether pay a visit. I’m already planning my return to try the Paella!
Tapas Barcelona is open 11am-11pm Sunday-Monday and 11am-Midnight on Friday & Saturday. For more information and to view the menus, please see their website.