With a life long love of Spanish food and Tapas I was excited to read some very favourable reviews regarding the Barcelona chain, and visited recently to celebrate my 2nd Anniversary with my girlfriend.
We were very pleased on arrival, a nice atmosphere and genuine Spaniards throughout the restaurant. The menu is large but what one would expect from a Tapas bar by its very nature. The wine list is more than adequate and with a brief description of what we were after the waiter advised a very nice bottle of red wine exactly as we had in mind.
We ordered our food from the Tapas menu, a few from each section: Meats, Fish, Vegetables etc and were surprised if not a little disturbed that the first plates started arriving within 2 minutes – something which has to place a question mark over the freshness or authenticity of the food. It was however very nice. Having had Tapas in many Spanish cities there is no question that the majority of the food was out of a bag freshly imported from Spain, and heated under the grill. This however I am pleased to say did not take away too much from the quality of the food, with zingy flavours and relatively tender cooking. The Octopus was a little hard and the prawns a little overcooked, if not previoulsy frozen, however the sauces did a fabulous job of making it almost possible to ignore this fact. The croquettas were as ever magical.
Unfortunately this is where the experience rapidly deteriorated. They forgot to bring a few of the dishes we ordered yet still added them to the bill, and we were sitting there for at least half an hour without any attention after the last dish was served, the last they would end up bringing anyway. This in a restaurant where there were enough staff to serve one per table seeing as it was only one quarter full, and where the Manager was talking to one table for at least 20 minutes whilst ignoring all other customers around him. After a painful wait I eventually managed to ask for the bill and when it arrived they had charged us double for 2 items, including things that had never arrived. I then waited another 20 minutes for someone to come and collect the cash at which point I took the bill to the bar. On a positive note the Manager did apologise and changed the bill so that it was correct. It was however disappointing overall as what could easily have been a very nice dining experience was spoiled by some of the parts of the business that are relatively easy to get right. A real shame – half way through I was going to come back the following week. I will however not be returning as there are without question much better Tapas restaurants around. La Tasca is a fairly basic chain Tapas bar, but the food is as good and the service is infinitely better, so there must be other much better autentic Tapas bars out there. My search for a taste of Spain continues.