Is It Any Good?

A place to go to in Pasadena that will show you how far and away good Ración and even La Luna Negra are.

Bar Celona on Urbanspoon
Bar Celona on Foodio54

Yes, there are times I can be a bitter, and angry Food Writer.

I try not to be. Honest.

In truth, I wonder if I let too many restaurants off with an easy pass.

I worry that I’m too nice.

That being said, I am going to say that I did notice that the staff of Bar Celona were back in the kitchen as I arrived. Meaning there was no one…and I mean…no one behind the bar as I sat down.

I also noticed that the old White Couple who came in well behind me was attended to first.

Yes, these are strikes against Bar Celona.

And yes, I’m starting the review while I’m waiting for my food. I have that much time!  I always start the review while I’m waiting for my food.

Bar Celona is a place that’s been parked along Colorado Blvd. for years. In fact, it used to be a bit of a bigger space, but that’s been significantly narrowed down over the years. The question is…is it deservedly so?

The truth is, the vibe of the place is radiating…Sports Bar.

Sitting where I’m sitting, I count seven…SEVEN big screen TVs showing all manny of sports, both Football and Futbol. One screen is so jacked up, it looks like everyone’s been dipped in grape juice.

But I’m waiting for my Patatas Bravas, and after my experience at Ranazul, I want some good Patatas Bravas.

…and I’m increasingly uncertain that I’m going to get them here.

Look, running a restaurant is about the small details, the care you show your clientele.

The fact that some customers are provided with silverware before they order, and some of us who’ve actually ordered food are still waiting for it.

Man, I’m entering a dark, dark place.

I love Pasadena, but I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the LAST place you go for a good meal in Pasadena is the primo real estate along Colorado Blvd.

Picnik is good. 1810 Argentinian is good.

The rest of these places? Rip-off factories. As in they want your money, but whether or not they provide you with good food and service? Totally optional.

Bar Celona better pray that the food makes up for this nonsense.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: It didn’t.

Okay, first off, I got the Patatas Bravas, as I wanted. And yes, they were better than the Hash Browns and sauce I was served at Ranazul in Maryland.

That being said…

Yes, I’m afraid José Andrés spoiled me.

Hell, I’m afraid Little Spain over in the Farmer’s Market spoiled me.

The Patatas Bravas were at least Tapas sized. They were not Hash Browns and sauce as I was served at Ranazul, but they didn’t exactly pop in the flavor department.

You bite into them and, you feel the engine start to rev…then die.

Then the Castellana Paella.

Castellana Paella.

Castellana Paella.

One bite in, and…well…I’m done with this place.

This is a dish with barely a hint of flavor. Now, it’s not a struggle to get through it or anything, it’s…damn, you’re left with the sinking feeling this could be done sooooo much better.

Oh, wait. Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

As I dig down to the bottom of the bowl, I’m tasting something. I’m getting some flavor.

Okay, this is what they meant.

Too late now. It’s just a dish of rice and meat.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: One, Ración is just a block away.

Two, La Luna Negra is just one town over.

If you park in the Schoolhouse Structure, literally on the same block as Bar Celona, bear in mind that you will see a sign for Bar Celona that…well…you can’t possibly be expected to use. There is outdoor seating, and a door that leads to the kitchen.

It does make one wonder how one gets to said outdoor seating.

Wait a minute, as I look at my bill, I see that the name for the Italian martini bar next door, Sorriso is on the bill.

I also see that Picnik is being celebrated down at the bottom of the receipt.

Wait a damn minute. They own all three?

Picnik has the actual air of competence. What the hell happened here?


PARKING: Like I said, park in the Schoolhouse Structure and you’ll be find. Consult out Pasadena Parking Guide for more options.


Bar Celona
46 East Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91105

Tel: (626) 405-1000

Daily: 11:30am-10:00pm