There is just something special about this place. Maybe it’s the Chef and Co-owner Javier Flores, and his love of and vivacity for great food and fantastic flavors. Or maybe it’s the location or even the food itself. It’s most likely that it’s the perfect combination of all three that makes new restaurant Barraca Paella and Tapas Bar the kind of venue that will soon become a local hot spot and a favorite stop for you every time you’re in San Antonio.
Piquillos rellenos, one of many small plates at Barraca — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
Located at the Blue Star Complex (known as the hub of the Southtown arts district), Barraca Paella and Tapas Bar has adopted the Spanish tapas-style traditions, such as serving a free tapa (essentially an amuse bouche) when you order a drink during happy hour, which takes place every Tuesday through Friday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Whether it’s a glass of red wine, sangria or imported beer, you’ll be blessed with a scrumptious treat, such as jamon y queso, which is Serrano ham and manchego cheese with a grilled garlic baguette. However, since Chef Flores is largely inspired by Mexican cuisine, he has incorporated these ingredients and flavors as well to invent a truly impressive menu.
“It’s bar food, but outside the box,” explains Flores, whose own palete is quite adventurous.
Tapas, or "small plates," are becoming increasingly popular, and Barraca has managed to elevate the concept while staying very reasonably priced. It’s a great place to go for dinner, snacks or even brunch on Sundays.
Barraca makes sure to use farm fresh ingredients whenever possible, and even has some fabulous vegetarian options, such as saffron quinoa - made with oranges, olives and asparagus - and a vegetarian paella - made with squash, artichokes, mushrooms, piquillos and asparagus.
The Barraca Paella is highly recommended, which comes with roasted lamb shank, pork belly, mussels and chorizo; it's so flavorful it’s almost sinful! But other favorites include the Gambas al Ajillo – grilled shrimp, olive oil, garlic, avocado, orange segments and roasted red peppers.
The empanadas are equally a must. The homemade crust of this delicate turnover is flaky and buttery, just like an empanada is supposed to be. They are filled with the most savory pulled chicken, mushrooms, piquillos, capers and cream sauce.
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, be sure to try the soft yet crispy churros sprinkled in a cinnamon-cardamom sugar and served with chocolate sauce and homemade whipped cream. Barraca also offers daily dessert empanadas that are not to be overlooked.
Be sure to get directions to this restaurant to easily circumvent the ongoing construction on South Alamo Street. It’s worth the extra effort. Barraca will soon be featuring Flamenco shows as well. Get ready to enjoy a true San Antonio delight!