Matís Bar from Michelin-starred Artur Martínez

UPDATE: Matís Bar is sadly no longer open.

Matís Bar Barcelona

Bombón de queso y tomate – The art of sphericalisation

As I’ve said before, I’m not normally invited to restaurants, Suzy and Steve are the English-language foodie experts in Barcelona so I leave it to them. But I’m not one to turn down a restaurant invite when it happens. So that’s how I found myself at Matís Bar. A restaurant in the basement of the Architects College in the cathedral square.

The Collegi D’Arquitects de Barcelona is the building in one corner of the square that has friezes on the exterior walls based on drawings by Picasso. It’s not a place where you’d expect to find a restaurant of any note. Even walking past you have to look for the sign directing you to the restaurant downstairs.

Mejillones a la vinagreta de cilantro

Mejillones a la vinagreta de cilantro at Matís Bar

And that’s the problem, the only problem let me say. As a fellow London-born diner commented, it’s like eating in the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall. It’s very open, very bright. And you have to get a key from the security guard upstairs to go to the toilet.

But my complaints end there. This is top quality, modern tapas at reasonable prices from none other than Michelin-starred chef, Artur Martínez, famous for his Capritx restaurant in Terrassa. This is one seriously talented guy.

Tártar de escalivada

Tártar de escalivada at Matís Bar

So, what did we have…

  • Bombón de queso y tomate (€1.85 each). A cheese and tomato sensation that was out of this world. Sphericalisation at its finest.
  • Mejillones a la vinagreta de cilantro (€4.95). Open chilled mussels served with a vinaigrette including coriander, tomato and other lovely diced delights.
  • Tártar de escalivada (€6.20). A beautifully seasoned dish of roughly chopped escalivada or roasted vegetables.
  • Carpaccio de bacalao (€7.50). Beautiful slivers of cod with spring onion and black olives.
  • Rosbif de vaca con piñones y limón (€5.50). Roast beef that I would definitely go back for even though there was no horseradish in sight.
  • Albondigas al la jardinera (€7.45). Delicious meatballs in a great meat sauce with diced vegetables and wilting garden herbs.
  • Capipota con menta y piparras (€5.45). An interesting take on the traditional Catalan stew made with parts of the head and legs of a cow.
  • Plus a couple of dessert offerings that were very nice but largely unforgettable.
Carpaccio de bacalao

Carpaccio de bacalao at Matís Bar

The wine list is pretty much entirely Catalan as far as I could see, which is fine by me. Catalan wine is extremely diverse and deserves to have a platform all of its own.

So put your shades on and dive in! You won’t be disappointed. This is interesting tapas at reasonable prices, despite the location.

Where: Matís Bar, Plaça Nova, 5, 08002 Barcelona

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