For those of you who don’t know, I’m a foodie. I just love my food. Every time I experience a new place that plays with my senses and makes my mouth water… well that’s my definition of heaven. Especially with amazing people around!
I also happen to be a creature of habit. When I find something I like, I like enjoying it again and again. And when something is really good, it tends to get even better with time.
That’s exactly what I’ve found with Toma Ya Street Food in Barcelona.
The Introduction and getting there
I first ran into this place a few weeks after my arrival in Barcelona. Looking for a place to eat lunch, a friend of mine decided to use his wicked Yelp skills and look for a place. He said “Hey, there seems to be a cool Peruvian place around here – want to check it out?”. Not being one to turn down a new culinary adventure I swiftly fell for the idea.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Not having eaten Peruvian food before, I didn’t really know what the menu would have to offer. The closest I’d come to Peruvian food before was a home-made Ecuadorian stew by my dear friend Leo. However, I somehow had my doubts that that would be on the menu.
Picking my friend up around Joanic metro station, we decided to walk to Toma Ya Street Food. It looked close enough by foot. The journey took around 15 minutes and circled us around some pretty interestingly decorated streets. Starting off in traffic, we soon reached some smaller roads with some cute shops and restaurants. It always surprises me how fast you can go from hustle and bustle to cute and quiet in Barcelona’s barrios (neighbourhoods).
When we arrived at the restaurant, the outside didn’t look too spectacular. Just a small corner restaurant with some bright, hand-written scribbles on the windows.
Boy were we in for a treat when we got inside though!
Sitting down to quirky charm
I don’t know about you, but I always like places with a little bit of charm. The places that somehow make you feel excited to be there and yet also have a taste of home.
The kind of places that don’t at all feel like some of those bigger chain restaurants. Those restaurants that are just a little bit different and ever so unique. I could tell that Toma Ya Street Food was exactly that kind of place, the minute I set foot in the door.
The paint washed tables and bar seats in all different shapes and sizes. The signs all hand written and with photos on the bar showing all the delights the menu had to offer. They all contributed to making me feel right at home.
The attention to detail was lovely too. Interesting pictures, murals and words hanging and painted on the walls. Lamps up above in different shapes and colours. Made from a material that looked very similar to egg boxes or paper mâché.
Drinks were also served in those cute little mason jars that are ever so popular these days. Although some might think it a bit chaotic, given the small size, I have to say I loved it from the get go!
Sitting down, it took a minute for Cigin and I to realise just how the restaurant worked. The waitress came to greet us with a warm smile a few minutes later.
She obviously must have realised we were a little bit lost, as she came with a set of English menus and proceeded to explain the process. Look at the menu, tick off what you want and walk up to the bar and order. It wasn’t actually that difficult – just a little unexpected for a place so small.
Having sad that, it is a great opportunity to say hello to the waitress and the chef next door. Both of whom I’m sure would be more than happy to chat a minute.
Taking a look at what was on offer, it was interesting to see that the menu wasn’t as Peruvian as we had expected. It actually seemed more Asian Fusion than anything.
Since I didn’t have a clue as to what some of the items were, I went up to the bar to ask. That’s when I saw the best thing ever – pictures! Lots and lots of pictures! It was like a collage made just for me. Showing all the different foods on the menu… and they all looked delicious. Yummy!
Eventually, I decided to go for the Tostadas Mexicanas, as I’d been missing my Mexican cuisine for a while. A fan of anything and everything labeled ‘special’, I also decided to try the ‘Special Ice Tea’.
My friend Cigin decided to go for the Asian Pork Fajitas and the Chicha Morada (a Peruvian purple corn based drink).
Tick, tick, tick and the menu was complete. We took it up to the counter and 10 minutes later the food was ready.
I can tell you now, I didn’t regret my choices one bit. Although I must admit the Special Ice Tea wasn’t really that special… the Chicha Morada was wayyyyy better. One point to Cigin for that choice!
Digging into the food
I am not kidding when I say these were the best non-Mexican Mexican tostadas I have ever EVER eaten. I actually think they beat all the Mexican tostadas I’ve eaten in the past… and I’ve eaten a few.
Toma Ya Street Food has had me as a visitor several times since my first visit and each and every time I end up ordering these. I know I should try something different, but the delicious mix of juicy meat, fresh onions, tomatoes, guacamole, lime juice and crumbled cheese on top just gets me every time…
When I first ordered it, I remember thinking that the portion looked rather small for just under 10€. I learnt that looks can be deceiving though. One plate of these bad boys, accompanied by an entrée of equally deliciously topped sweet potato fries is all you need.
With that, that’s it. You’re done. Foodgasm guaranteed.
Mmmm… remembering the taste as I write this article actually has me thinking I’m going to need to pay them a visit again soon. Who’s up for it?!?
In terms of dessert, the third time I went to visit, I ended up trying the “sweet in a jar”. There were two options available at the time. One was a chocolate mousse with brownies and crumbled nut topping, the other a creamy combination of apple, coconut and creamy caramel.
As I was with a chocolate lover at the time, we decided to go with the chocolate mousse with brownies. Absolutely not disappointed. The mousse was so soft and fluffy it felt like eating a cloud. After a filling main dish, it was the perfect way to end the visit.
Toma Ya Street Food is one restaurant I will not hesitate to recommend. Not for a single second.
I can be quite picky with my food, but this place has never disappointed so far. Every time I go, the food is spot on, the waitress is friendly and the food quick to the table. Not to mention, it’s simply delicious.
Prices are reasonable for Barcelona too. Up to 10€ for the main dishes and around 2-5€ for the drinks, side dishes and dessert.
So, with that said, what are you waiting for? Go check it out for yourself!
Your Opinion Counts:
If you’ve visited this place, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to know what you think too!