Have you heard the one about the Italian guy that opened a Spanish tapas bar in Belgium?
Altough it sounds like the beginning of a joke containing tales of mishaps, Bar Tapas 177 is nothing like that. In its three-year existence, this tapas bar has become a beloved gem in the Marolles district. Now let me tell you why.
Chef Vincenzo is actually a real globetrotter who has lived (among other countries) several years in Spain, where he must've discovered his passion for Spanish tapas. So when he was done roaming around the world, he decided to open his own tapas bar in Brussels. Despite his Italian roots, you cannot tell the difference. Bar Tapas 177 almost feels more 'Spanish' than an actual Spanish eatery.
'Hola, cómo estás?' You'll feel at home within a second when you receive a warm welcoming in Spanish. Only answer in Spanish if you feel confident, because you might have to order everything in Spanish. No worries if you're not that fluent, they will switch to another language if necessary. But it is cool to feel immersed in Spanish culture right away.
The interior design is nothing fancy, but it is really cosy. Sometimes warm colours and wooden furniture are all it takes to make a place look homely. The atmospheric Spanish music on the background also helps.
Altough everything about Bar Tapas 177 looks and feels Spanish, the tapas themselves are not that typical. And I mean that in a good way. On the menu you'll find some classics such as pulpo a la gallega, patatas bravas, ensaladilla rusa and the Asturian speciality fabada. Then, there are also more atypical tapas such as 'ceviche' (a Peruvian speciality) and 'tartar de salmón', or the vegetarian-friendly tapas 'tartar de remolacha' (a beetroot tartar) and the 'ensalada de espinajas frescas' (fresh spinach salad). Some of the tapas are really experimental (A result of chef Vincenzo's multicultural background?), but it works!
We went for a series of Spanish classics with freshly-chopped slices of jamón ibérico, ensaladilla rusa and boquerones fritos.
Then, we became more adventurous and ordered the 'ceviche' and 'broad beans with mint and parsley'. Altough the combination sounded special to say the least, the flavours really matched well together. I wouldn't prepare beans on a hot Summer day, but combined with the mint, it was just perfect. Chef Vincenzo knows how to cater in function of the seasons. That's why in Summer he'll serve more fresh fish and in Winter more consistent dishes with meat.
We were not hungry anymore, but anxious to try dessert too, we shared one 'crema catalana', which was just as savory as everything we had eaten before.
Most tapas cost around 4,50 EUR, although some can cost up to 14 EUR. In that case you should normally receive a bigger portion, though. Generally speaking, 4 or 5 tapas should be enough for two persons.
It is possible to order tapas from the buffet at all times of the day (as long as they're open of course), but if you want to order à la carte, you'll have to wait until 18h30.
- Wednesday to Thursday: 12:00-15:30 and 18:30 to 22:30
- Friday and Saturday: 19:00 to 23:00
- Sunday: 12:00 to 18:00
Want to discover more restaurants in the Marolles? Check out this article for more suggestions.