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Haarlson's Profile

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Do many places in Barcelona close during August?

Hi, yes, a good many bars and restaurants will be closed.

Feb 05, 2013
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Questions about Barcelona!

Hi, hoping you and your wife-to-be have a great time in our "city of marvels".

Regarding seafood — and seafood platters — it will sound counter-intuitive, however, in so far as some of Iberia's best seafood can be enjoyed in Madrid — (as far from any coastline as it is possible to be) so it is in Barcelona — where the better seafood spots do not enjoy a view of the sea.

My experience of living here 10 years suggests that the places in Barceloneta are good — but not the best. Every visitor expects the seafood to be at its best nearest the coast. Consequently a myriad number of just so-so places exist to serve the (sometimes less-educated) demand.

The days when Barcelona's miniscule fishing fleet landed anything like the best fish and seafood are long, long, gone.

Cheriff, in Barceloneta, is good for seafood (they serve espardenyes) but there's no view of the sea.

Moncho's (which serves reasonable — but not good seafood) has a couple of outlets within sight of the sea at Port Olimpic — just a little alongaway the coast from Barceloneta.

Some of the best fish and seafood places are in Poble Nou (Els Pescadors: http://www.elspescadors.com/en/home), Poble Sec (Rías de Galicia: http://www.riasdegalicia.com) and there are excellent marisquerias dotted around Eixample. Then there's the more down to earth, though excellent value, La Paradeta (http://www.spottedbylocals.com/barcel...) which has four outlets in BCN — Sants — El Born — Eixample (Sagrada Familia) and La Meridiana.

However, very surprisingly, one of the best places for the freshest, best presented, seafood is just off Via Laietana —Brasserie Flo: (http://www.brasserieflobarcelona.com/...) who serve an excellent seafood parillada — seafood platter — for less then 50€.
I'm a bit of an oyster snob — and the oysters served here are wonderful. In all my time in Barcelona I've never tasted better French or Galician oysters.

You mention all the usual seafood suspects — but, as you've travelled so far — I recommend you try espardenyes, (http://www.haarlsonphillipps.com/2012...) something you will never be able to savour anywhere else. And, maybe try percebes — goose barnacles (from Galicia) and sea urchins (erizo de mar, or, in Catalan, eriçós de mar.

As for churros — well, sorry to disappoint, but BCN is not good on churros. Wish it were — love them too. But, honestly, never yet found a good fresh churros place. Instead savour all the fantastic pastries that BCN is good at. There are dozens of fantastic pastisseries and chocolateries. Have fun exploring them.

All the best — wishing you a great trip

Feb 04, 2013
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Great Italian Restaurant in Barcelona

Hi, not sure I'd call it 'great' but you could try Da Greco, the Italian restaurant on Passeig de Gràcia just above Diagonal and below Hotel Fuster.
It's good — if a little quirky — and I celebrated my birthday there last November.
If you time it right you may see some Barca players dining there — they have their own booth.
Usual fare (and evident New York Italian-American influence) and large portions.
Interestingly you will receive a taster plate of whatever your dining companion has ordered.

Jan 25, 2013
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Holidays in Barcleona.

Hi, Quimet i Quimet and Cerveceria Catalana will not be open. Not sure about Ciudad Condal — even though it is part of the same chain which owns & manages Cerveceria Catalana — it may be open on Sant Esteve (26th). I'll make a point of asking on the 22nd when out shopping and report back. However, imho it's not such a special place — average tapas joint. Sorry can't be more helpful regards other restaurants that may be open at the time — holiday opening times here are always hit and miss. having said that I'm fairly sure Brasserie Flo will be open.

Dec 21, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Foodies Trip, What did I miss?

"As for Escriba on Las Ramblas, it is one of the best and most beautiful pastry shop in Barcelona."
Are you sincere about this statement?
There are many better, and more beautiful pastry shops than Escriba in Barcelona.
Escriba just happens to be the most conveniently sighted by visitors.
Regards.

Nov 11, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona - Serious eats article

Pimientos de Padrón deep fried??? (so she says in the photo captions)
Nonsense.
Usually best DRY fried, i.e. NO oil, just scorched with salt on the heat — then dressed with a little oil IF wanted. Or, placed on a grill over a wood fuelled fire.
Good photos though.

Oct 15, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

So where should I eat in Figueres for lunch?

Hi, you could try Hotel Ampurdan, a little out of the town centre but not so very far. Here's a link… http://www.passportnewsletter.com/des...

Oct 08, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in mid-November. What seasonal foods can I cook in our apartment?

The dried beans — mongetes — to look out for are mongetes de Santa Pau. According to many they are the best.
Producers are seeking D.O.P. status — DOP= Denominación de Origen Productos or Protected Designation of Origin. These beans are from Santa Pau — a wonderful preserved medieval village in Girona province — but are readily available in markets in Barcelona.
Here's a link to a video (in Catalan - but good practice!) to a recipe for botifarra, mongetes with garlic and girgolas (a type of funghi) with parsley and port: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJreLK...
Enjoy Barcelona.

Oct 08, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Bar Mut

Yes, I get that many — if not most— visitors to this board only seem concerned about the Michelin, or would-be Michelin, joints — places I cannot afford and will never be able to afford to experience. On other city boards there seems to be a much more pluralistic crowd. Wonder why that is?
Barcelona has much, much more to offer than high-end dining — and offers genuine gastronauts as well as more casual foodies and curious hungry visitors a wealth of affordable edible treasures.
Sadly, no, the prices I quoted are not exaggerated.
In 2011 four US visitors paid 200€ for one bottle and two glasses of red wine, a plate of prawns and a racion of jabugo jamon. They thought the final bill would come in at around 80€ — so you can imagine their surprise.
Like the OP they did not see any prices before ordering and followed the waiter''s suggestions. After receiving the check they asked the waiter to enumerate each item.
It's always stuck in my mind as I recall computing the cost of each prawn — 11,50€ each!
Salut!

Oct 06, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Bar Mut

Thanks for reporting this. I live not so very far from Bar Mut, and have been there (often reluctantly) many times over the past five or six years. I have never really understood why visitors, especially visitors from the USA, have enthused about this place. Nice décor, convenient location — but service most often on the surly side of polite and the quality of the food offerings not so good. (Good wines — though ridiculously overpriced)

Sure, it's expensive, nothing wrong with expensive, but it is overpriced— often way overpriced.
70€ for six prawns (shrimp)? Check. (Though they were from Palamós). 80€ for a few slices (not even a good sized plate) of jamon jabugo?. Check.
It is, as we say, a pijo place. Best avoided.

Oct 05, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Sarrià-St. Gervasi

Two excellent, though very different, restaurants in Sarrià are Tram-Tram — contemporary Catalan and an excellent (but realistically priced) wine list; and el Vell Sarrià — traditional Catalan, and probably the best rice dishes in Barcelona.
(Oh, and BTW — in català it's moltes gracies)
Enjoy Barcelona.

Oct 04, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in mid-November. What seasonal foods can I cook in our apartment?

Hi, other than ceps, bolets, rovellones and all the wonderful woodland and lowland funghi — which will hopefully come through after late September rains — there's the much maligned, or ignored, boniato to consider. There's much more to boniato — try mashing with light mustard (no vinegar) and cream with chives — or try mashed boniato with finely diced chorizo — great compliment to serve with pork chop (chuleta). Or, being more adventurous, try boniato with grated orange and pomegranate as a dessert.
And, in November, you should find castañas (chestnuts) in abundance. And, all the brassicas will (or should be) at their best.

Sep 21, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Espardenyes in Barcelona

Hi, funnily enough I wrote a blog post about espardenyes in Barcelona (in the context of a write-up about Paco Meralgo) during the weekend just gone—it goes live tomorrow.
I've never seen espardenyes in the markets in the city (not even the Boqueria) which is not to definitively say they're not available only that I've never seen them on sale.
Espardenyes quickly perish and have to be kept in water after catching so maybe that's why.
You may not find them live in Barcelona markets but it's a good bet you'll find them at the fish market in Palamós in Girona province.
One of the only tapas type restaurant-bars which I know serves espardenyes in Barceiona is Paco Meralgo—expect to pay at least €21 for a plate of six or seven espardenyes a la plancha and served with lemon. I've attached a photo of espardenyes as served at Paco Meralgo.
If you visit Paco Meralgo you could always ask where they source their espardenyes.
Espardenyes are more common in restaurant-bars in places such as Roses.
Enjoy your visit to our city of marvels. ¡Bon profit!

Sep 04, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Restaurant Equivalent to Chez Janou in Paris or Extra Virgin West Village NY???

Apparently not.

Jul 21, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona lunches

Hi again, glad you enjoyed La Rita — one of my favourites.
If interested in exploring Gràcia here are four more menú del día places you could try:

Cal Boter, C/Tordera 62. Menú around 10,40€. Excellent food and excellent value. Freshened up traditional Catalan food.

La Singular at C/Francisco Giner, 50. Menú around 10€. Haven’t visited for a couple of months —but usually excellent value. Small place, only 9 tables. So good, you’ll likely want to re-visit in the evening.

El Roure at C/ Lluís Antúnez, 7. Better known for its tapas and vermuts they also do a good menú — around 12,50€. On Thursday lunchtimes they do an excellent paella.

and, possibly, Las Euras, Plaça de la Vila (formerly Rius i Taulet). Menú: 9,50€. More run of the mill, but reliable place — with tables on the square. There are much worse, and much more expensive, ways to spend a lunchtime.
If you've not visited Gràcia before then this could be a good opportunity to do so. If I had to choose one — I'd choose La Singular and Cal Boter and toss a coin. If I wanted to sit outside in the sunshine I'd go for Las Euras.
Hope that's useful.
Regards

Jul 18, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Strategies for Dining in Barcelona with a 10 Year Old

Very well said.

Jun 18, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Typical spanish food near Magic Fountain? Please recommend.

Hi, a Sunday? A group of 12 persons. Before 9pm? Near Magic Fountains? That's a tough one.

You could try El Sortidor on Plaça Sortidor: http://www.sortidor.com/menu.html.

However, with teenagers in tow you may want to try La Soleá — in the same square opposite the above restaurant: http://www.timeout.com/barcelona/rest.... Friendly place — good range of Spanish (as opposed to Catalan) dishes, such as salmorejo etc etc and even North African dishes and BURGERS with fries.

I've tried both — but never on a Sunday evening — with teenagers I'd go for La Soleá - fun place. And, you'll get to sit outside on the square.

Plaça Sortidor really isn't so very far from the Fountains. Get yourself a good map and you'll see it's about a 15 minute trek. Worth it I think, as the restaurant-bars near Plaça Espanya are not so good — if they are open on Sunday evening.

The Plaça — in Poble Sec — is a good place to chill after exploring Montjuich.

All the best — enjoy your visit to Barcelona

Jun 17, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Paellas in Barcelona

Hi, I'd be interested to know which places In Barcelona you could recommend for a reliably good paella. It's a question I get asked a lot by visiting friends and family, and I'm never really sure what to suggest. If it's Thursday lunchtime I'll often say Morryssom's or El Roure.

Though we occasionally go out for an arros (either Catalan or Alacant) or risotto, being resident we don't often go out for a paella as such— except when served as part of a menú del día. We more usually make paella at home, or with friends—much more fun—and considerably cheaper.

I've dined at Set Portes a fair few times (but paella only once) and I've heard La Bombeta is good for the price, and so too Kaiku and Can Ros. (I've not [yet] eaten at these places). But, wandering around, as I do, it seems a lot of paellas are way over-priced (sometimes as much as €35 per person).

My sister and her husband are visiting July and she loves paella—and we've often cooked a paella together—but she's tried my paellas (and fideuas) a hundred times, and though I'm intending to take her to El Vell Sarria [http://bit.ly/LocSqb] for a traditional Catalan arros, I want to point her in the right direction for a reliably good paella.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Jun 14, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

How many different types of dried pasta do you have in your pantry?

Hi, our 20 year old son has pasta every weekday lunch — and sometimes weekends too.
Plumas
Capellini No.9
Spaghetti No.6
Spaghetti No.3
Wholewheat spaghetti
Black Spaghetti
Fideus gruixats
Maravilla
Canelones
Lasagne quick cook
Wholewheat lasagne
Green lasagne
Twists
Treccine all'uovo
Tiburón
Penne rigate No.73
Tagliatelle

Jun 10, 2012
Haarlson in General Topics

Feedback on barcelona visit with elderly father with thanks to PBSF

Excellent report — many thanks for posting. Really glad you enjoyed Cova Fumada, one of my favourites.
I thought your comments on Fonda Gaig very interesting as they echo what my local friends report. I've never dined there and, just two weeks ago, when I suggested trying it I was met with funny looks and the comment, "unexceptional food at exceptional prices."
Thanks again, and hope you find time to re-visit 'the city of marvels'.

Jun 10, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Dining on June 24 bank holiday in Barcelona

Hi, Brasserie FLO, on Via Laietana, just up the street from the Palau de Musica, will be open — menú available for 24€ — reliably good food with a good ambience. An easy, and interesting stroll from Les Rambles.
Happy travels — enjoy Barcelona.

Jun 08, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona as a visitor (with young kids!- gulp!). Much resarch has been done, now there are questions - please help!

Hi, that's good to know — only three metro stops distant. But useful gen.
For me, it's easier to go immediately next door to OpenCor or, if before 1pm on Sunday, La Boulangerie.
I think there are only 4 bakeries left in the city which actually make their own bread —

Jun 08, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona as a visitor (with young kids!- gulp!). Much resarch has been done, now there are questions - please help!

Hi, me again — forgot to mention Re: strollers — you will have no problems whatsoever with restaurants and strollers.

Jun 08, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona as a visitor (with young kids!- gulp!). Much resarch has been done, now there are questions - please help!

"Is there some sort of market (besides the Boqueria-which will be closed) that will be open on Sunday near our hotel where I can buy snacks for the room & other things like diapers?"

Hi, all of Barcelona's 43 markets will be closed on Sunday. Bakeries and patisseries will be open — but only until midday.
You'll find a few fruit and veg shops open until, say, 4pm, and a few mini-supermercados (many of which sell fruit and veg) open until 11pm or later.
And, there's always Open Cor, (a branch of the large El Corte Ingles department store) which has 18 stores across the city and are open from 7am to 1am —and some from 8am until 2am. Open Cor sells pretty much everything you could need in terms of groceries, (fresh, frozen, dried and tinned) bread, and toiletries — as well as electrical equipment (incl. travel plug adapters), books, newspapers, toys, sweets, beer, wines and spirits — However, they are expensive, usually around 30% more than regular supermarkets. Here's a link to a list of Open Cor stores in Barcelona: http://bit.ly/LzjkNu
" I was thinking Cal Pep on Monday night "
I may be wrong — but I'm reasonably sure that Cal Pep is closed on Mondays. Best check.
If going to Sitges then you may want to try La Paradeta - fun, informal, inexpensive, seafood diner.
Happy travels — enjoy Barcelona.

Jun 08, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal

How many different types of rice do you have in your pantry?

In the pantry right now:
Arborio
Arroz extra
Arroz largo
Arroz redondo
Biryani
Bomba
Bomba extra
Bomba de Delta d'Ebre

and several packets of different rice flours.

Jun 05, 2012
Haarlson in General Topics

Barcelona: Cheap + vegetarian = mission impossible?

Hi, it is getting better by the day, but it is still a bit of a strain getting good veggie (meal - not tapas/raciones) options in every day places. Only last week, for example, I had to help organise a menú del noche for 62 visiting students and teachers - of whom several were vegetarians. I went over the menu several times with the restaurant owner days before they arrived and we agreed on mixed salad or hot creamed vegetables for starters and pasta and tortilla berenjena (aubergine/eggplant) or tortilla española (potato) or tortilla calabacín (courgette) with pebrots (peppers) and/or fries for a second course. First course arrives - salad with liberal amounts of canned tuna! Even today many Spanish people do not think of jamón iberico as being 'meat'. Strange but true.
Having said all that it is possible to be vegetarian and eat well in Barcelona - there are now numerous good vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona - but the trick is to find somewhere where vegetarians and their carnivore nearest and dearest can eat too and no-one feels awkward, stupid or left out.
For everyday good honest menú del día type fare and a fantastic range of tapas where both vegetarians and meat/fish eaters can indulge themselves normally (i.e. in a non-specialist vegetarian bar-restaurant) then you could try Bar Morryssom -http://bit.ly/x5sIRJ - they do a good menú del día for around €9 which often features such delights as goats cheeese paella.
And, at this time of year - el Quaresme - Lent - vegetarians can safely indulge in sausages - yes - botifarra d'ou - sausages made with egg, potato and onion (and other egg-based variations but always meatless) and calçots - wonderful chargrilled hybrid of rascallions and leeks served with a romesco sauce based on either almond or hazelnuts, and garlic and oil.
Enjoy Barcelona - regards.

Feb 17, 2012
Haarlson in Spain/Portugal