Vinoteca Barbechera

So the other day it was sunny, and warm,
and basically another perfect day to sit outside in the sun and do nothing at
all, except drink wine that is! With plans to meet up with friends at a later
time, my wife and I decided to head over to Plaza Santa Ana (map), for a
glass of wine and a pincho or two. Located on the eastern end of the plaza sits
Vinoteca Barbechera, a franchised bar that serves tapas, raciones, wine and
much more. It is known as a wine bar first and foremost, I suggest you keep
this in mind when you visit.

Wanting a quick snack, we ordered a couple glasses
of white wine and a few tapas. Looking at the menu you are not left without
plenty of choices, basically the same tapas you’d find at every other bar you
might visit in
Madrid. Yet what makes it worth going to, is the quality. Incredible! For
those of you who like to go out and blow a 100 Euros on dinner and have small
tastes presented in front of you of various delicacies, this is a great place
for you. For an average of 3 euros each,
you can taste your way through a plethora of small culinary treats.

Today we tried three treats:

Solomillo con Cebolla Caramelizado (Beef tenderloin
with Caramelized Onions)

Crisp toast
drizzled with good olive oil works to hold this concoction as you raise it to
your lips. As you bite into it your mouth is rewarded with tender fillet,
lightly seasoned and garnished with a candy-like caramelized onion. The best part of this dish is that any one
part would be overwhelmingly rich by itself, but as a whole, they work together
to balance each other out. As you finish you know you’ve just has a small bite
of heaven. 

Trucha ahumada con Puré de tomate y tapenada
(Smoked trout with puree of tomatoes and an olive tapenade)

Though not my
favorite today, this dish will appeal to anyone out there who is a lover of
smoked fish.

Rich decadent smoked trout mixed with a light puree of tomatoes. In
my opinion, it could have used a bit more tomato to calm the rich flesh of the
fish. As in most of
Spain, the “smoked” part is not the same as you might expect from a piece
of salmon cured in the
Pacific Northwest. The smoke is always lighter and plays more as a backdrop to the fish’s
richness, rather than a primary flavor. Once again, the crisp toasted round it
was served on helped to balance the rich oily texture of the fish above it.

Croquettes de Jamon (Ham Croquettes)

I know, you say
you’ve had these Spanish staples before, while I respond: “I beg to differ”. A
staple on almost every menu in town, and with few exceptions, they tend to be a
bland fried food, well suited for soaking up the alcohol after a long night of
drinking. Basically, the recipe calls for deep fried rounds of béchamel (a
sauce of butter, flour and cream) tossed in breadcrumbs and with some token ham
mixed in for good measure. In
Spain no
one would think of high cuisine when eating them. That is until now, when I was served Vinoteca
Barbechera’s larger than “normal” examples of the Spanish croquette. Biting
into them, I was greeted by a light steam and a delicate texture that somewhat
resembled marshmallow. Richly flavored béchamel and with large chunks of ham
mingled into every bite; while the crisp outside crumbled and provided the
needed texture for contrast. For only a
couple of euros, this is a find I intend to exploit in the future!

Oh, and one more thing! The food is great,
the wine list is long, but the sangria is Divine! Before I came to
sangria resided in my mind only as a drink to help youngster catch a buzz
quicker. Now, it holds a special place along with sherry and rosés. When done
right, it is the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and the fruity coolness
seems appropriate for any Spanish survival kit. As the heat begins to rise, no terrace seems complete without a “Jarra”
(large picture) of sangria to help keep the inhabitants cool.

Vinoteca Barbechera is no exception. My
wife and I finished our glasses of sangria with a grin as we watched the world
stumble by. If your lucky, grab a seat on the patio where you can watch people
stroll down the plaza as you sip sweet sunshine and nibble on crisp croquettes,
mmm. I gotta run my stomach’s starting to rumble.

Till soon, Ryan


420 04 78
Plaza Santa Ana
C/ Príncipe, 27 (Centro-Cortes)
Metro Stops: Sol, Seville, La Latina

Ryan Opaz currently lives in Madrid with his wife.
He is available for hire as a food and wine consultant, and maintains/writes

One thought on “Vinoteca Barbechera”

  1. New Food Article

    Make sure to head over to Mad About Madrid to check out my lastest resturant review. Vinoteca Barbechera is a great place in downtown Madrid to try some of Spains finest wines. Make sure to let me know what you think.
    Till soon, Ryan

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