Best Spanish Restaurant - 2000
The thing most local Spanish restaurants lack is the distinctive energy of the original model, especially the vida loca pizazz to be found in Barcelona's ever-buzzing tapas bars and bodegas. B44 is tucked into an alleyway not unlike those that harbor many bistros found in Barcelona's old quarter; the sidewalk out front overflows with diners enjoying the positively Catalan sunshine; the exposed-concrete, primary-colored, modern-industrial setting is totally Gaudi; the handsome bar is stocked with wines and sherries, Espa?a's favorite libations. And the food? Tastier than the real thing, of course; Spain isn't exactly known for its light and subtle cuisine. Our favor- ite Barcelona hangout, Cava, serves nothing but champagne, manchego cheese, and fresh anchovies; the combo's available at B44 as well, and it's marvelous. Roast rabbit is accompanied by a vinegary, Zuni-like bread salad studded with currants and pine nuts, another taste treat. And there's a wide array of tapas, seafood, and single-serving paellas to conjure up memories of that pleasure-loving city by the Mediterranean.