Barcelona Bistro Bar Chef/ Founder/Owner Alba Clementson has lived a life every bit as colorful and exciting as her tapas, paellas, and sangrias.
Born and raised in beautiful Barcelona, Spain, how could she not be inspired by her home country’s art, architecture, and delicious food? As a child, she learned how to identify and use what was fresh at the markets each day. Alba recalls friendly cooking competitions among friends as they grew, challenging each other to make their best versions of a given dish. Her “second home” was the magical Mediterranean isle of Menorca, where her sister and brother-in-law run a resort. Alba would wait on the harbor for fish straight off the boats to carry back for the evening feast.
Alba’s many talents include a successful career as a Spanish/Catalan dubbing actress for major motion pictures, television shows, and commercial campaigns. Alba is the voice of such notable actors as Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, and Lisa Kudrow - “Phoebe” from “Friends”! She met her American husband while in New York for an acting job. Mark accepted a job transfer to Louisville, and Alba found a lovely cottage in Jeffersontown from which to serve seasonal, scratch-made Spanish food. Her musical voice reveals the joy she takes in providing guests with laughter and happiness. “This (restaurant) is not for my pocket. I want to see people enjoying being alive and sharing that enjoyment with everyone.”
When she opened the restaurant for take-out only (due to COVID) in May 2020, Alba did so without the Spanish chef and designing aunt she had initially planned to bring on board for the launch. Opening her first restaurant during a pandemic was not easy, and business was wildly irregular. But Alba has good relationships with the friendly front of the house and dedicated back of house teams she has managed to put together. And while people have not been able to travel as before, they can come to Barcelona Bistro Bar and “enjoy a sangria” in an environment that feels like Spain. Alba says she struggles to convey her “passion and feelings for the restaurant” adequately. “They are why I come here every day.”
Alba’s passion translates to the plates. Among her most popular dishes are Ser- rano Ham Croquettes and Patatas Bravas. She also recommends the Catalan Spinach Salad, clay pot Garlic Shrimps, Grilled Sea Scallops, and Spanish Octopus. In addition to tapas, Alba satisfies guests with familiar heartier fare like her grandmother’s recipe Lasagna Bolognese and her show-stopping Mountain & Sea and Vegan Paellas. Depending on your mood, be sure to try the refreshing gin & tonic or indulgent Spanish-style churros with chocolate to end the meal.
As of this writing, Barcelona Bistro Bar is open for first-come-first-served 50% dine-in capacity and continues take out service, which can be ordered online at barcelonabistrobar.com. “Wedlessdays” on Wednesdays feature live Spanish Acoustic Guitar and drink specials from 5-8 pm. Alba is currently planning to build a deck for al fresco dining by springtime.
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