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Help! Having Mediocre/Bad meals in Barcelona

Good luck! I´m afraid that mid- August is not a time for great service here. If you do come across fantastic service count your blessings...Most waiting staff will be extremely tired and hot by now and the work is very relentless!! The service staff are not as highly paid here as in the States and the service/ tipping culture is very different so you´re asking to trouble if you expect the same. Try and relax and enjoy!!

Aug 18, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Help! Having Mediocre/Bad meals in Barcelona

There are plenty decent restaurants open in August. I wouldn´t recommend going uptown to Sarria or San Gervasi because they are practically deserted and most places are shut. Nearly all the places in the centre of town are open. In the port area you have Agua, a very nice seafood and rice restaurant with a fantastc location practically on the beach. Alternatively, you can wander into the new marina and try one of the large restuarats like Moncho´s. They are very touristy but have a beach location, lots of seafood and serve decent food. They´re certainy not El Bulli but then August is August I´m afraid. In the old marina you have the Merindero de la Mari. Lovely outside terrace , very decent seafood and rice (pricey, but they location is fab). In the Born area you have Casa Delfin ( on the Paseo del Borne) it´s not expensive and the food is very good. You also have Sagardi on the C/ Argenteria, a firm favourite of mine if you feel like meat. The list is endless really. I think you can eat pretty well!!

Aug 18, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

OYSTER BAR IN BARCELONA

The oyster restaurant on C/ Ferran has closed and is now a lage pincho restaurant..
I would suggest PAco Meralgo, although a bit pricey the oysters are evry good.
Also, Restaurante Carbeilleira on c/ Reina Christina, 3 (just behind 7 Portes). This is Barcelona´s first quality Galician restaurant and full of atmosphere. It´s traditional, but the seafood is wonderful.

Aug 12, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Ca La Nuri, Barcelona

I´ve never eaten there but have friends who do. I think it´s a trusty place, nothing that special.

Aug 11, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Monday in August

Casa Delfin open all August as is Señor Perellada I think.

Aug 06, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Inopia (Barcelona) Closed

Word in Barcelona is that the Adria brothers bailed out because they weren´t making any money. I never understood why Inopia only opened in the evenings, people queued to sit at the bar and people watch for as long as possible . Not sure about the new venture, it seems to me that his restaurants áren´t profitable to run.

Aug 06, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Monday in August

Señor Parallada certainly has atmosphere. But the service can be really haphazard and the food hints at too much pre-cooking and re-heating for my taste.
Asador de Aranda is a sure bet. I like the Tibdabado branch which is a fantastic location or the c/ Londres. C/ Pau Claris not so much.
Casa Delfin on Paseo del Born has a great location and serves traditional Catalan food with a twist at very good prices.
Fonda del Gaig has very good traditional Catalan food but quite stuffy and very expensive.

Aug 03, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Monday in August

Sarria restaurants are almost all universally shut in August although that may differ a little this year due to the "crisis".

I always recommend the bar at Botafumeiro because it´s such a classic. Expect to be entertained and leave with a happy belly, although lighter wallet.

Aug 02, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

A few days in Barcelona - a report

You managed to go to some really nice places in so little time! I´m about due for another visit to Cap Pep as it´s been three years at least since my last visit. I never have the strength to brave the wait anymore.

I agree about Santa Caterina market, it´s been very poshed up and makes for more civilised shopping although there are complaints about the highering of prices. the Boqueria may be cheaper but I always feel they´re trying to rip me off.

I´m really surpised by your experience in Delfin, I went last week with five friends and we had a fantastic meal. We had some baked sea bream plus assorted bits and pieces (steamed shellfish with wine and chilli, wild mushroom croquettes, cure dried tuna etc.) . I think you must have had very bad luck with your waiter. This restaurant is very much on the new resident foodie map of Barcelona and for good reason. By the way, paella always takes at least 20-30 minutes to cook (unless you´re having a microwaved version!) so that criticism seems a little harsh. Also, I love the paella at Delfin, it is dark and flavoursome in the true Catalan (not Valencian) style.

Aug 02, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Attire and Tipping

In Barcelona a high percentage of waiting staff will be on 1,200€ for an eight hour shift and a five day week. Plus tips. Times are changing..

Jun 15, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Attire and Tipping

Service charge isn´t included in Spain and I´ve never seen it included in high-end restaurants either.
Spanish people as a rule are very small tippers. It wouldn´t be unknown for a couple to spend 50€ on a meal and leave 10 centimos as a tip! However, that´s not quite the norm. The service culture is very diferent from the States and waiters don´t necessarily like to say their pleases and thank yous and they are not "compensated" at the end. It´s a cultural thing. However, this is slowly changing. More and more Spaniards will commonly leave 5-10%.

Jun 08, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Taller de Tapas in Barcelona

You might find the menu at Taller de Tapas better suited to a family as they have more choice. Cerveseria Catalan basically serves sandwiches, mayonnaise salads and deep fried tapas. Taller de Tapas´s menu includes more meat and fish dishes, plus quite a few vegetarian options.

Jun 07, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Coming to Barcelona for 3 days - which restaurants should I go to ?

The Asador de Aranda has no fixed menu as far as I know. Expect to pay about 60-80€ for two. Don´t go to the branch in the Eixample as it´s not nearly as spectacular as the one in Tibdabo. It´s so worth the trip. I would say it´s a Sunday lunch kind of place.
The Tomaquera has no fixed menu either as far as I know. It´s cheap and cheerful, about 40-60€ for two depending on how greedy you are.

Jun 04, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Taller de Tapas in Barcelona

You only have to go to Taller de Tapas or Cerveseria Catalana a couple of times over a few days to see that they cater for a wide range of people, and as has been mentioned here, thus serve a very important need. Their simplicity is their strength; good ingredients simply prepared. Something for everyone and also busy restaurants which ensure high turnover and therefore fresh ingredients. I´ve seen families (both Spanish and foriegn), couples, groups and of all ages. I´ve also seen a real mix of nationalities, and alot of Spanish people enjoying themselves. Tapas have been popular in Barcelona for many years and way before it was a popular tourist destination. Barcelona is now a tapas destination and that can only be a good thing. It´s a very satisfying and fun way to eat!

Jun 04, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Seafood recs in Barcelona

My vote is definitely for the Botafumeiro. If a couple, book at the bar, it´s wonderful. This restaurant has been there forever and is very classy and atmospheric. A joy for people watching. It´s all good on the menu, the fish tends to be simply cooked, just grilled with olive oil but it´s so tasty. Expect to pay 100-120€ for two depending on how greedy you are and how many bottles of albariño you drink!
Set Portes is a classic and deservedly popular. It´s more rice than fish. It´s popular with tourists but then let´s remember that 90% of Barcelona restaurants would shut tommorow without them. Tourists can have good taste too!

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Jun 03, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Begur/Costa Brava Suggestions

The good news is there are many wonderful restaurants in the surrounding area.

A delicious restaurant and totally authentic one is the Restaurant Ibèric in a village about 15 minutes drive inland from Begur (go past Pals, turn left towards Peratallada, pass Peratallada and right at the roundabout and it´s 3 kilometers further on) called Ullastret. This is full on Baix Empordan cuisine. Snails, salad, home made salted anchovies, langoustines and prawns from Palamós, foie, octopus etc.etc. They´re very famous for their suquet which is a fish stew with potato and saffron, very aromatic. They also do wonderful grilled fresh fish from Palamós. Another house classic is the noodle and lobster broth which comes with bib included. Other seasonal specials are grilled thrush! Sautéed wild mushrooms, wild boar stew. the list goes on and the cooking is wonderful. You´re best to book: 972 757 108

Jun 03, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Coming to Barcelona for 3 days - which restaurants should I go to ?

I would skip Inopia as it isn´t open at lunchtime and only opens for 4 hours in the evening from 7-11 so if you don´t arrive by seven you´re very likely to spend over an hour or more queuing. It´s also a little out of the way. There are other more accesible tapas places which are just as good. Paco Meralgo is top notch (and expensive), Cal Pep is fun and Taller de Tapas is a sure bet (the Rambla Catalunya branch).
Sagardi is not only pinchos as it has a restaurant at the back which serves sumptious and huge char grilled steaks and seafood. It´s Basque, and very tasty.
Casa Delfin on the Paseo del Born serves incredible paella and at a much better price than Can Majo. It´s pretty new on the scene but is very special. It also serves more traditional Catalan food with a twist.
If you want some more meat you could always branch out and try something more traditional like the Asador de Aranda in Tibidabo. this serves Castilian food: roast lamb, chorizos, lamb cutlets etc. and the building is amazing. Afterwards you could go up the hill to the bars and adnire the view of the city.
I love the Tomaquera which is quite hard core Catalan: grilled meats and snails. you can´t book but don´t normally queue for long and it´s not for the faint heated but is alot of fun!

May 25, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Paella in Barcelona - good quality and fair $$$

Best paella spot at the moment is Casa Delfin on Paseo del Born,36 . They do amazing rice dishes at lunchtime during the week and it´s always fit to burst with Catalans. Otherwise, in the evening they do a lobster paella broth to die for.

You could go to Barceloneta (10 minutes walk away) but it´s much more expensive and not nearly as good.

Apr 23, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

best traditional Catalan restaurant in Barcelona

Simple traditional Catalan cooking is quite simple, consisting of meats cooked over a charcoal grill plus tomato bread, cured meats and sausage and a simple salad. This is heartening, cheap and tasty, especially accompanied by a bottle or two of rustic chilled wine. El Glop is this kind of place. I prefer Can Punyetes which is a small chain, very popular and not really known to tourists. Their best restaurant is just above Diaginal on c/ Maria Cubi, 189. You can´t reserva a table so may have a wait if you don´t pitch up early but it´s an atmospheric place, lots of Catalan families and slightly bad tempered waiters but it´s packed with charm and cheap too. It also has many good bars close by for a drink afterwards.
I also love La Tomaquera which is in Poble Sec on c/ Tapioles 17. This is quite hard core. Again, no booking (nice bar just infront for a great beer), rushed waiters and mounds of grilled meats, salads and huge pans of snails (Very Catalan!) Again, it´s cheap, alot of fun, and slightly off the tourist trail.
My new favourite is Casa Delfin on the PAseo del Born, 36, smack in the middle of town. This restaurant has a lot of charm and has a very traditional Catalan menu with rice dishes, lots of fish and dishes of the day. it´s very cheap at lunchtime and does the best arroz negro in Barcelona. It´´s more expensive than the first two but not by much. The Born is great for a mojito afterwards.
If you want to go upscale the Fonda del Gaig has very good food but is extremely expensive.

Apr 19, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in early May, 2010.

It was definitely a daily special but I´ve been several times at lunch time and they always have a speciality rice dish such as arroz caldoso or the like. It changes. It has a very Catalan atmosphere and this is reflected by the food. Lots of people eat the rice in this restaurant. I think that in the evening they are more expensive, but not much.

Apr 13, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in early May, 2010.

Fonda del Gaig would be more expensive but it depends what you eat as fish is quite pricey. Carballeira ios not a foody restaurant and that´s why it´s probably not talked about so h on Chowhound. It´s very old school and packed with charm. You can have tapas at the bar (standing only) , or reserve a table. I´d ask for a table in the bar area as it´s the most atmospheric. Another fantastic fish restaurant is Casa Delfin on Paseo del Born , 36. This has been revamped but is very in keeping and respectful of it´s history (It used to be the local restaurant for all the market traders when the Born housed Barcelona´s main market) I went yesterday lunchtime with several friends and we had a black squid paella with aiioli for only 7€ each. It was the best black paella my friends have ever tasted. This restaurant is new on the block but will make waves for people who fancy classical Catalan cooking, occasionally with a twist, and at amazing prices, something not easy to find in Barcelona.

Apr 13, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in early May, 2010.

If you´re going on a tapas crawl in the Born I would include Xampanyet (for a glass of bubbly wine with a little plate of tinned seafood delicacies ) Taller de Tapas (at the bar, which is always fun for a nice glass of wine coupled with anchovies, Jamón and fried artichoke shavings) and then head to calle Reina Cristina, 3 to a restaurant called Carballeira which sells the best pulpo in barcelona (after the Butafumeiro!). This is about 5 minutes walk from Taller de Tapas on the road behind Set Portes. It´s a traditional style Galcian restaurant, the first in Barcelona, wonderfuly atmospheric and serves delicious fish dishes.

Apr 09, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Gastronomic Honeymoon thru SW France + N Spain

Begur is very close to one of my favourite restaurants in the world, Restaurant Iberic in Ullastret. this is about 20 minutes away by car, go past Pals towards Torroella, turn left towards Peratallada (beautiful medieval village to visit), turn right at roundabout just past Peratallada and it´s another 3 km on the left. Walled medieval village. The Restaurant Iberic is on the left. Just before it there is Nuri´s farm shop which sells the best goat´s cheese in Spain.

It specializes in fish from the nearby port of Palamos, beautifuly and simply grilled, juicy fat prawns, pulpo, little squid, snails etc. but it depends on the day. they also do a mean wild boar stew and their killer fish is the suquet de peix, a wonderfully aromatic fish stew or lobster paella broth. The owner will put a bib on you before you eat it. this restuarant is one of the Costa Brava´s best kept secrets.

Apr 09, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Dinner in Barcelona on Sunday night

Casa Delfin on the Paseo del Born, 36 has been revamped and is very good. It was a rather rough and ready classic Catalan restaurant which served the old market traders for years. Huge portions of tripe, salt cod, calamares and butifarra but now it continues to serve these dishes in a more papalatable form plus fresh fish and rice dishes. It´s not in the guide books yet but soon will be.

Apr 09, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona and Madrid in May - please help narrow down my choices!

You´ve missed one of Barcelona´s best restaurants. The Butafumeiro is a classic and serves wonderful quality no frills Spanish/Galician food. If you reserve at the bar you are certain to enjoy a great atmosphere. I never tire of going there and always enjoy magnificent seafood plus the best Galician white wine.

Apr 07, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Taller de Tapas in Barcelona

Your San Sebastian experience was different from ours. We went two years ago and were surprised by the tapas, expecting better overall quality seafood and ingredients. They seemed to rely on mounding everything onto a piece of bread and creating a montadito with mayonnaise topping. Very tasty but not like the seafood in Barcelona! HAving said that, we went on a whim only for a couple of days on a detour and without a guide book so didn´t have a list of places to visit or anything.

The mini-chains in Barcelona like Cerveseria Catalana and Taller de Tapas have been producing similar dishes for a long time and before the tourist explosion of the last few years so I think I think it´s a question of classic tapas dishes being fundamentaly appealing to all palates rather than mass-producing kitchens.

Apr 06, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Taller de Tapas in Barcelona

I´ve always eaten very well at the Taller de Tapas branch on Rambla Catalunya. It has a very reliable mix of well executed classic tapas dishes plus some very good daily specials with a more Catalan emphasis. I´ve sent many friends over the years who are visiting Barcelona and they have all raved about it. I think the "chain" criticism is a little harsh as most popular restaurants in Barcelona are mini-chains of sorts. Ciudad Condal is a chain, Paco Meralgo has several other restaurants, Sagardi etc. is a chain, Tragaluz is a chain. The chef who runs Tapa 24 has several other restaurants. It is the nature of business. All sell very good food and are no less "authentic" as a result. Cal Pep has tried to open several other restaurants over the years to no avail and they´ve all closed. Inopia are now mass producing their sauces to sell to other restaurants in industrial jars...

Apr 05, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in early May, 2010.

Hello Sernoff,

I´ve been to several of the restaurants you mention. The Fonda Gaig is traditional food in very posh surroundings uptown. It´s nice if you want to treat yourselves although expect a hefty bill of 100€+ with wine, dessert etc.

Cafe de lÁcademia serves good food and isn´t too expensive. I think it´s closed at the weekends.

The tapas places are all basically good although I normally avoid Basque tapas in Barcelona. Paco Meralgo is particularly good, it is located uptown and caters to a more genteel clientele. The food quality is excellent, the price is higher as a result.

Ciudad Condal is bustling and fun but doesn´t offer much choice food-wise. It specializes in small sandwich baguettes and the odd pre-prepared salad on the bar counter plus a little fried seafood dishes.

You´ll be pressed to try all sorts of dishes any time you go to Cal Pep, ditto Pinotxo in the Boqueria. That´s how they function so if you go just be prepared to stand up for yourselves and say NO! or go with the flow, say yes, and don´t worry about it.

I would recommend somewhere not on your list called Casa Delfin. It´s on the PAseo del Born, 36. This is a very traditional restaurant that has been given a small facelift last year and the food is wonderful. They specialise in wild Mediterranean fish cooking and Catalan rice dishes. It´s a great find which will soon be in all the guidebooks.

Bon profit!

Apr 05, 2010
bettybop in Spain/Portugal