Grill Room

Patatas bravas Barcelona: where to find the best ones?

The most famous tapa all over the world


They are one of the most requested tapas by Spaniards and foreigners. Perfect to eat with a beer, a glass of wine or soda, is mandatory to soften the typical spicy that characterizes this dish. There are even hunters who travel the country in search of the best chef in the area. There are instagram accounts, facebook, and blogs dedicated entirely to them. What are we talking about? Of Patatas Bravas, of course.

It is hard to believe that someone may not know them, but if that is your case, I will explain. It is a typical Spanish tapa made of potatoes cut into small cubes or pieces (today there are many versions) and cooked in oil, water or baked. They are served bathed in a spicy sauce: the famous Brava Sauce. Different tourist destinations in the country dispute the throne of the best white potatoes in Spain: Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, like the big cities; but Cadiz, Albacete, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Murcia also enter on this dispute. Anyway, you can find this cover in restaurants around the world, honoring this Spanish tradition. Among us, it is indisputable that you are going to find the potatoes of your dreams in the city of Gaudí, look no further.


A historic delight recognized by the UN


The worldwide recognition of Patatas Bravas is such that even the UN included them in a list of “official recipes” in 2008. But … what is its history? Numerous births, mother houses and home cities are defined, but the story that is confirmed the most is the one I am going to tell you now. Let’s start with the testimonies in the literature, such as the work Living in Madrid by Luis Carandell (1967) where white potatoes take full presence for the first time:

“… the brave potatoes, which in some places are called potatoes to the poor, are fried potatoes with hot sauce, as one imagines that the poor would eat the potatoes, that is, smearing bread in the sauce”

Our star dish reappears in literature, with the same connotation, in the work of Ángel Muro, El Practicón (1894). There, practical recipes were compiled, as the name implies, where readers are taught how to recycle food leftovers and favor the economy of the family. In the letter, Angel already stated that:

 “… any sauce, any seasoning, known or to be known, suits potatoes, […] even with tallow and saffron, which is how the poor in Madrid eat them”. 

Indeed, one of the ingredients of Brava Sauce (in many of the existing versions) is saffron, and here, reference is made for the second time in history to Patatas Bravas, presenting the dish as a solution for the cuisine of the more humble citizens of Madrid.

To tell the origin and history of this famous Spanish tapa, we must go back to the 60s, specifically to the year 1960, date known for the birth of the Patatas Bravas. We must clarify, however, that history is still confusing, as is the case with many other famous gastronomy dishes. More than the year, what is discussed here is the property of the original recipe. Many award it to the restaurant La Casona, many others to Casa Perico, both restaurants missing today. What is known, is that it was the star of the Mediterranean tapas of that time and in the bars where they were served you could see long queues of diners waiting to taste the famous delicacy (which was also the most economical options).


Which are the ingredients of “brava sauce”?


Then we know, they are one of the most classic tapas in Spain, their origin is dispersed but they were always a success and must be accompanied with something to drink for their brave, spicy sauce. But … what does this famous sauce contain? Here we come to another discussion among the “braveros”, because there are versions with tomato, red sauces with paprika or with ali oli. If you talk to any fan of Patatas Bravas, you are going to laugh listening to the anecdotes of all those times that he ordered potatoes in a restaurant or bar and they arrived with pot sauce, little spicy, soft potatoes, only ali oli … Thousands! (I make an advance, in Grill Room Bar Thonet not only that is not going to happen to you, but our bravas have a special touch that takes hours to cook, a real delight).

Tomato, paprika, what else? As I said, discussions about the origin of this typical Spanish tapa are transferred to its ingredients. There are two “currents” in the Brava Sauce traditional recipe. On one side, the main ingredient can be a tomato stir-fry with paprika. There are also those who make it with flour and / or onion and hot pepper. In summary, there are two keys to Brave Potatoes worthy of applause: that the potato is of quality and well cooked; and that the sauce is just sauce, no oils.

But…where can I eat the best patatas bravas in Barcelona?


At this point of the article you will ask … “Everything is perfect, but… where do I find those amazing Potatoes?” Well, the answer is simple: Grill Room Bar Thonet. Why? Our patatas bravas always get ready and are made at the moment, nothing pre-cooked, not too hard or too soft. Secondly, and here is the key to success, the sauce is cooked for four or five hours and the Ali Oli is made with roasted garlic. Exactly, all those hours preparing this delight. We wait for you!

This article was written by Sol Kindt, copywriter of The Oven Agency, digital marketing agency in Barcelona, Spain.