You’ve been to the city that doesn’t sleep, but have you ever experienced Barcelona – the city of rioja, paella, and tapas? No matter your answer, Mesón Barcelona in Clifton is the closest you’ll get to experiencing authentic Spanish cuisine without boarding a plane. With the help of Chef Gonzalo Fernandez and owner Mark Leinkram, Mesón Barcelona transforms your dining experience into one that a true Spaniard would agree to – flavorful dishes, lively conversation, and even better music.
“Walk inside Mesón Barcelona and it feels like walking into a Mediterranean villa,” said Chef Gonzalo Fernandez who was born in Spain and moved to the U.S. when he was 13 years old. “From our wooden tables to Spanish music playing overhead, and the enticing aromas coming out of the kitchen, it’s a place where I would want to come hang out, eat, and drink with friends and family.”
Spanish Flavors and Traditions at Mesón Barcelona
Even though the flavors of Mesón Barcelona rival fancy restaurants at home and abroad, the ambiance is what sets it apart. Made for a comfortable night out for families, friends, and everyone in between, Mesón Barcelona not only relies on the rich culinary traditions that we can’t help but love, but they also bring in the rich social traditions as well.
Guests are always invited to hang out, while enjoying a bottle or two of wine (even though they’re a BYOB you can purchase alcohol from the conveniently located liquor store that’s not only located right next door, but also features a private doorway in between the restaurant and the store), listening to music, and of course, enjoying countless tapas. Speaking of tapas…
“Personally, I’m crazy about the tapas, especially the lifestyle that goes along with it,” said Chef Gonzalo as he admits to getting a bit emotional thinking about it. “Just picking among various dishes, socializing with a glass of wine, there’s something about that lifestyle that makes me smile.”
For those that unsure of what tapas are, think delicious, mouth-watering appetizers that are beyond any other appetizer that’s you’ve had the pleasure of eating. These “small plates” range from the popular Gambas Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) to Chorizo Al Vino, Pulpo A Feira (Octopus Galcician Style), and Pimientos Piquillo Rellenos de Tetilla (Piquillo Pepper stuffed with cheese). We have to agree with Chef Gonzalo – tasting a number of these dishes not only is a sensory experience, it’s also a great way to get to know Spanish flavors. Order one, two, or ten – it’s up to you!
Whether you choose to make the evening all about tapas, or keep them as the starter, the rest of the menu at Mesón Barcelona is just as delicious, reflecting not just Barcelona’s cuisine, but also the many dishes represented throughout Spain. From Valencia’s paella (of which Mesón Barcelona features three different types that range from the classic with Calasparra Rice to Paella Marinera, and Paella de la Huerta (seasoned vegetables) to Empanadas, Colas de Langosta (Lobster Tails), and Chuletas Barcelona (Pork Chops), the flavors hold nothing back.
After biting into any of these dishes, you’ll soon find out that every dish is not only authentic in its presentation (sometimes featuring a bit of extra flair from Chef Gonzalo), but also its ingredients. The from scratch kitchen sources many Spanish ingredients – paprika, Serrano Ham, octopus, Calasparra Rice – directly from Spain. As we said before, it’s the closest experience you’ll get this side of the Atlantic!
Since opening just eight months ago, Mesón Barcelona has made quite an impression and is hoping to bring even more foodies into Spain’s cuisine. As Chef Gonzalo and Leinkram continue to bring Spain to New Jersey with live Flamenco music, flavors, and traditions that anyone would want to be a part of, it’s hard to find a reason to not check out Mesón Barcelona. After all, don’t you want to be a part of the tapas lifestyle?