La Barca, 33 West Clyde Street, Helensburgh


La Barca OutsideLa Barca has been open since early December 2012 and is a firm favourite with the Helensburgh crowd (and beyond).  With a 200k refurbishment from the previous owners, La Barca is modern,clean, functional but with twists of fun.  Such as the boat shaped bar (La Barca means boat in Spanish) and the mural on the wall of the village in Crete where the owners met.

La Barca Bar

La Barca Mural

The dining area is cosy and relaxed.

La Barca Dining Area

 Lunch and Early Evening Menu – 3 tapas for £9.95

La Barca MenuI’ve had bad tapas portions before so we sneaked in an extra plate, but there was no need.  As you can see portions were enough to keep two people happy (and two who had no breakfast!)

La Barca Tapas

Ensalada de Tomate Con Queso de Cabra

Tomato salad with goats cheese – Not a big fan of goats cheese however this one wasn’t too acidic and the tasty tomatoes helped the cheese along the way.

Pollo al Jerez

Chicken breasts pan fried in sherry – creamy and the sherry taste was still there.  Moist chicken too.

Chorizo Frito al Vino

Chorizo sautéed in wine and onions – if only I was on an eat bread day as it would’ve been delicious with this sauce.  The chorizo was melt-in-the-mouth.

La Barca Tapas

Albondigas en Salsa Espanola

Spiced beef and pork meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. The beef and pork worked well, not a fatty bit in sight.  The tomato sauce coated the meatballs making them moist.

Pinchos de Pollo

Grilled chicken skewers – chilli and garlic flavours as well as coriander and lemon.  We had a fight over these!La Barca Gambas

Gambas al Pil Pil

Prawns in a chilli and garlic oil – wow, I could have easily taken the spoon and eaten the oil as a soup – delish.  Sizzling as it came to the table the smell…mmm…

Croquetas de Pollo y Jamon

Ham and Chicken croquettes.  Moist and smooth with a crispy finish.  Again, could have easily have ordered more of these.

After being worried about not getting enough to eat, we were too full to think about a dessert ( Crema Catalana, Lemon Sorbet, Cheesecake etc).  So will have to go again.

Overall the service was friendly, the owners were chatty and not intrusive, food was quickly cooked and full of flavour.  The decor was modern but cosy.  The kind of place that works well as both somewhere for a romantic night as well as a night out with the girls (or boys).  Very good selection of spirits and wines so  you can easily just come in for a drink (if you can resist the smell!)

Impressed with the toilets, well lit, clean and tidy.

Take away tapas is also available @20% discount.  Available Sunday – Thursday 12 noon to 9pm and Friday/Sat 12 noon to 7:30pm. Booking is recommended.

La Barca Dining Area




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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