La Rambla Bistro is in Old Market Lane, just off the High Street in the centre of Killarney. This authentic tapas bar and Spanish restaurant is delightfully traditional from the outside, with bottles and vases in the windows, some seating outside and a nicely decorated front.
Inside the restaurant is painted in a dark red; not just any dark red mind, it is the exact red of Barcelona Football Club - an inquiry as to how many coats it took to get the exact colour gets me a laugh and an answer of three from the manager. Paintings in homage to Picasso and Joan Miro line the walls, and at the back there is an antique Spanish mirror, while little touches of Spain pop up again and again; posters from famous art exhibitions in Barcelona, vases reminiscent of the work of Antoni Gaudi and just a general feeling of Catalonia in the air.
This is a sister restaurant of the excellent Boathouse Bistro in Kenmare, run by Martin McCormack and his Catalan partner Montse, so the food is spot on. The tapas are what you would expect to see on a menu in Barcelona, and the menus also list dishes that wouldn’t be out of place in the Catalan capital, like their large cutlet of pork with chargrilled crackling or the Spanish chicken with Serrano ham on a tomato base. Sangria is available, there is a well priced, mostly Spanish wine list and the atmosphere is busy and buzzy.
The tapas menu is what we came to try, and we weren’t disappointed. Tapas are such a pleasant and social way of eating. We ordered five six dishes and shared everything while chatting and ohh-ing and ahh-ing over the inspired wisdom of our choices.
Patatas bravas were perfectly cooked and the spicy sauce was spot on; Choricitas al Vino, which was spicy Spanish sausage cooked in red wine was a delight, and perfectly complement another dish of fried Manchego cheese. An order of Spanish tortilla – this one traditional with potato and onion – was light and comforting, while deep fried prawns wrapped in noodles came with a salsa Brava and Aioli. The Gambas Pil Pil – prawns cooked in olive oil with garlic and chilli is de rigeur, and we happy demolished the lot with sparkling water and some Sangria.
La Rambla is a find, authentic tapas and Spanish food at real value for money prices; the tapas range in price from approximately €4 to €6, and were generously portioned. It’s all in the detail with regional food, and La Rambla gets it spot on...plus you have to love somewhere that spends so long getting the FCB colour right. Recommended.