Must-try: Great tapas at Ziryab in Barcelona

ziryab bar counter
The bar – the drinks are really not bad!

To get hold of the best things in life, a little hard work is required. Just like searching for the tapas at Ziryab in Barcelona, which was tucked away at a back alley some streets away from the Gothic Quarter. In fact, its location: Calle de Grunyi was so hard to get to, that none of the people we asked, even local shop owners knew about the place.

carrer de gunyi
Carrer de Gunyi – a street that nobody knows.

But we preserved. Only after tapping on the Wifi connection of a neighbouring restaurant did we manage to use Google Maps to get to the place. Phew! It took us about 45 minutes to find our way.

ziryab outside
Outside Ziryab, waiting to be seated.

It is important to make a reservation before going. When we arrived, it was 20 minutes past our reservation and the staff had given our seat away. The waitress asked if we could wait for a few minutes. And we got a table soon after. Do note – due to its awesome Tripadvisor reviews, it can get pretty packed especially during weekends.

sangria beer ziryab
The sangria and beer tasted q alright. : )

The sangria and beer were okay – you know the usual. The walls were decorated with Arabian words – the place had a nice feel to it. The staff was real nice. They spoke fluent English, had a nice sense of humour and made us feel welcomed.

We ordered two rounds of drinks and three types of tapas.

arabian ziryab
Arabian decor with specials. It’s meant to be a fusion between Spanish and Middle East

Spiced lamb with orange blossom water – €7

spiced lamb orange blossom water ziryab
It was on the specials menu

The lamb was succulent – and there was a nice light, orange flavour to it. More than enough to be shared between two people.

* * * 

Jamon and olives

Hamon and olives ziryab
Jamon and olives

I am a big fan of parma ham and was interested to try its Spanish brother. The ham was of the right texture. Not too salty, like the ones we had tried before. It went well with the spicy paste and the olives!

olives ziryab jamon
Olives.. I’m a big fan.

* * * 

Bruschetta with goat cheese

Bruschetta with goats cheese ziryab
Bruschetta with goat cheese

* * * 

Amaretto Sour

amaretto sour ziryab
A glass of amaretto sour – with a Spanish touch

The waitress recommended this, after I said I had a liking for amaretto.

* * *

Gin and tonic

ziryab gin and tonic
This is the first time I have seen Gin and Tonic being served this way.

When asked for a recommendation for something strong, the waitress recommended the gin and tonic. It was the most classy gin and tonic I ever had. The waitress brought the gin in a big glass. And later topped it up with tonic using a spoon. Very classy.

* * *

The Travelling Squid’s Take

    Ziryab is a little different from other tapas bars because of its Arab influence. The menu is quite special – with items like lamb and goats cheese. If you’re looking for Spanish tourist staples like croquettes and tortillas, it’s not exactly the place to be.
      I would really recommend coming here for drinks. The cocktail mix is nice and I absolutely enjoyed the big glass of gin and tonic. As for pricing, we had two rounds of drinks and 3 types of tapas – it costs us €35.50, quite comparable with that of other restaurants.
    Ziryab is a five minute walk from the Jaume 1 metro station. To get there, it will be good to cache a part of Google maps, or have a data connection/GPS as Ziryab is tucked away in a labyrinth of pathways which is not always detailed on physical maps.
    Hope you had a good time there and do let me know your thoughts about this place!

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