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Barcelona Restaurant sits on Western Avenue, near SUNY Albany. It looks like a house from the outside, and parking is in the rear. The decor is a darkened tone of maroon and wood, and the seating is broken up into bar seating to the right, with the main dining area straight ahead and down a step.
Originally, Brian and I visited Barcelona during Restaurant Week. With a menu that differed from the one they posted online, and shrunken portion sizes, we were less than impressed and never returned. When friends invited me out for a small birthday gathering, I was hesitant, but decided to give the reataurant another try. I was pretty glad I did.
The restaurant was hesitant to allow ordering from the tapas menu to occur outside of the bar area. I disagree with that practice, and, as a table of five people, we were able to covince them to allow us to bypass that rule.
To me, the tapas menu is what makes the restaurant. We ordered the Chorizo Con Cebolla ($8), the Fried Calamari ($8), the Mejillones (Mussels) Salteados ($8), and Eggplant Rollitini ($8). The chorizo had a delightful heat that made the dish superb. When it came to the mussels, yes they were cooked perfectly, but it was the brandy cream sauce that put it over the top. Perfection. The calamari, and eggplant were done well also but the mussels and chorizo were the definite winners.
For entrees we ordered Seafood the Paella, and the Snapper Veracruz. The paella was very well done. The chorizo added a depth of flavor and the clams had a sweetness that kept me going back for more. The snapper dish was done well, and cooked perfectly, but it was the paella that won out.
All in all, the meal was delightful. I found the tapas to be tastier than the entrees. Though, there's one aspect to the restaurant that would have me hesitant to return in the future, and that's their seeming unwillingness to accomodate the customer. We were told "no" to tapas before we were told "yes." Of the restaurant experiences I've had, that serve tapas, they've not been separated by seating, and I don't think I understand what the logic is behind that. I give the restaurant 4 forks for the flavorful tapas dishes. With a few small changes, I could see Barcelona being on the road to a higher review from this foodie.