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Bar Celona in Pasadena

Restaurant: Bar Celona - Modern Spanish Tapas Bar
Location: 38 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA

Date: Friday, July 7, 2017
Occasion: Celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary

Rating: Excellent Food. Great Service. Clean Atmosphere.
Likely to Visit Again: Yes
Suggestions: Greet customers as they walk in. Update prices on website as prices have raised at least $1.

To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided to try something new. So we headed to Bar Celona Modern Spanish Tapas Bar in Pasadena, CA. We arrived at 5:30pm, just in time for Happy Hour which was from 4pm to 7pm (on Friday's).

In front of the restaurant were a few tables and chairs for outdoor eating. Inside was a bar style vibe with a row of two-seater tables on one wall and a large bar on the other.  There were also lounging couches with small tables throughout the remainder of the space.There was a big screen in the back of the restaurant and several TV screens behind the bar which was currently playing the sports channel.

No one greeted us when we walked in, and it was quiet. Since it was our first time, we didn't know if we just seat ourselves or if we had to wait for a table, so hubster asked the bartender, who said that we can sit wherever we like. It seemed pretty slow, with only two customers; however, it started to pick up around 6pm, so it started feeling more upbeat. 

The bartender was also our server. He was very polite, attentive, and provided excellent service throughout our evening. We received three menu's.

  • The first was the full restaurant menu with a list of  appetizers, salads, soups, and main dishes. 
  • The second was a tapas menu
  • The third was a happy hour menu
The happy hour had a great selection of food items such as garlic fries, pinchos - chicken (chicken skewers), crispy calamari, chicken or beef empanadas, pizza, flatbread, and paella. The price range for happy hour was $4.50 to $7.95.

There was also a decent selection of drinks such as sangria, house wines, beers, well cocktails, specialty drinks (martini, cosmo, mojito, and margarita) that ranged from $3.50 to $7.00

The only problem with the happy hour menu is that there were no descriptions of what some of the dishes were. So I had to go back and forth from the main menu to figure out what kind of dish it was.

For someone who hasn't been there before, this can be a little frustrating. And [if you're like me] I like reading the descriptions, so it took us about 10 minutes to figure out what we wanted. 

A glass of House Moscato $6
A glass of 805 $5.50

 Charred Rustic Bread $6.50
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Topped with manchego cheese, garlic, and raw tomato
I was in heaven with this dish. The tomato's were well seasoned which paired well with the cheese and bread. I couldn't get enough of it!

Pinchos - Chicken (2) $4.50 
Star Rating: 🌟🌟
We ordered the regular portion (4 skewers for $5.95)
I'm a big fan of chicken skewers, but I just thought these were OK. They looked delicious, but the chicken itself tasted under seasoned.

Crispy Pork Belly (main menu item) $16
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Includes brussels sprouts, salbitxada and a fried egg
Hubster loves pork belly, so he had to try this main dish out. $16 is a little pricey, but it was definitely worth it. The skin was perfectly crispy, the pork was flavorful and the veggies paired well with the meal.  

Chicken Empandas $5.95
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Empanadas had a soft, buttery crust with shredded chicken inside.

Great! Once it started picking up, the atmosphere felt more upbeat. The food was excellent and the price range was pretty decent for the portions you get. My husband really enjoyed the Crispy Pork Belly. The skin was perfectly crispy and full of flavor. I was in heaven with the Charred Rustic Bread, I just wish there was a little more tomato to accompany the large pieces of bread. The tomato just put it over the top, so it doesn't hurt to have a little more of it.

We will definitely be eating here again!

*Prices reflect date of service as of July 2017.