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Cheap, Friendly and "Authentic" in Barri Gotic, Barcelona

La vinerteria Del Call on carrer sant Dominic del call. Very charming, candle lit type establishment. Excellent tapas menu and a great place for an all around gourmet tapas tasting. The wine list is also pretty incredible! On the same street you have Zona d'Ombra which is an awesome wine bar that has a great iberico plate and terrific wine. Finally, also off the same street is Allium. Allium has a little bit if a tourist trap vibe at first glance, but you will quickly discover that the quality of food is outstanding. All products served from cheeses to eggs are sourced from top quality providers. The wine list is rather interesting as well. Bon profit!

May 30, 2013
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

A Coruña & Galicia

Hola!! I need some help planning my upcoming trip to Galicia. I am going for a long weekend an can't wait to shellfish and Albariño myself to death!! I've been reading posts, but still not satisfied with what to do. I fly into a coruña on a Saturday afternoon and then out again on Tuesday night. I want to eat the best that Galicia has to offer, but considering my time contraint realize that I can only scratch the surface. So where do I scratch???

I would really love to visit a charming winery as well during my visit.

Any and all recommendations welcome!!

May 30, 2013
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Food Tour and Restaurants

Hi Shrinkrap,

Another company that is great and I have used for various tours is called Spanish Trails. They do an awesome Tasting tour in Barcelona that is food, wine, history and local culture. Was a huge help when I first moved to Barcelona! I have also done their Priorat winery tour which was terrific and their Gourmet Tour, which was one of the most impressive tasting tours I´ve ever done (and I exclusively travel via tasting tour!) It is run by an American so the english part is not problem. Check out their selection of food & wine tours: http://spanish-trails.com/day-trips/w...
Highly recommend!!

May 30, 2013
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Begur/Costa Brava Revisited

Thanks atlevsky & debblel! I had forgot about my post and now the dates are coming up! I have booked Moments in Barcelona, Ca Recassa in Aiguafred (atlevsky, this was also recommended by a local friend!) Pa i Raim in Palafruguell and La Plaça in Girona, and lunch at Compartir in Cadaques.

We want to keep a lot of meals open so we can cook in the amazing kitchen that the house has, but we are also considering:

Ca la Juanita
El teatre en Regencos
Hostal Sa Tuna
Casamar

Ill be sure to report back because this is such a beautiful area of Spain and there is not a lot of information on Chowhound beyond the classics.

Apr 27, 2013
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Begur/Costa Brava Revisited

Hello,

I see there has not been an update on Begur and that particular area of the Costa Brava in quite some time. I have a list of places already put together, but would love some additional suggestions!

I live in Barcelona, but am renting a villa just outside Begur for a week in May. I have been up in that area of the Costa Brava a few times, but as I don't drive, I also don't usually pick the restaurants. As we are serious Catalan wine lovers, we will probably stick to going farther away from Begur (i.e. Cadaques) for lunch time and want to stay as close as possible to Begur (i.e. max 20 minute drive) for dinner. We will probably end up cooking a few dinners in the house, so as really to enjoy the wine of D.O. Emporda! Here is the list I have put together which is close to Begur:

Casamar
Restaurant Ibèric
Hostal Sa Tuna

For places a bit more of a drive away:

Sant Pau is closed for this part of May :(
Can Fabes I love, but don't want to drive that far down.
I've heard great things about Les Cols.
We have a reservation already at Compartir in Cadaques for lunch.

Que más?? Any others? I had dinner at Celler de Can Roca last month and loved it, but want to try new places.

Suggestions welcome!

Mar 27, 2013
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in October - Please Critique!!

On second thought, caganer is absolutely right. I got a little over excited about the places when I wrote that! :)

Cal Pep would be too much after all that, and is best for another night. I second all of caganer's recommendations.

Another one to add, in the case that you want to head to Barceloneta, there is a place called Can Paixano (a.k.a the Xampaniría) which is on a small street on the way to Barceloneta called c/ Reina Cristina. Almost always packed with people, this rowdy cava bar offers you an extremely authentic experience as you can feast on a wide selection of sandwiches with meats fresh off the grill and enjoy some very inexpensive cava. This is a good place to try roasted Morcilla (blood sausage)!

Jul 07, 2012
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in October - Please Critique!!

You are very welcome suekrag! I was so delighted when a friend put me on to Bar Ramon and am happy to share it! I especially love the Galician style octopus (Pulpo a la Gallega) and the fact that they mix the two local beer together, 50% Estella Damm with 50% Vol Damm. One is a lager and the other a double malt. The result being a great refreshment to accompany all of the tapas!

Jul 07, 2012
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Please comment on our Barcelona itinerary

All four restaurants that you have on the list are wonderful places, and more importantly different from each other. I also agree that you should not pair Butafumerio with them. Butafumerio isn't necessarily a tourist trap...anymore than somewhere like Cal Pep is for that matter, but isn't anything special either. (By the way, that was not a stab at Cal Pep, I'm just on the fence about it recently!!)

My suggestion would be to go with a traditional, casual place. This will put things in perspective for you. While Hoffmann is more on the Mediterranean / french traditional side, Lasarte is gourmet Basque, Comerç24 molecular and Abac "cuisine d'auteur" in it's own league, you are still missing a large piece of the Barcelona gastronomic puzzle.

There are many posts that can help you pick a casual and traditional place, but I am personally always a big advocate for Mam i Teca. While the food here is not Michelin quality with regards to creativity, it is simply delicious and the wine list is great! It is a unpolished diamond in the rough.

If it is a seafood restaurant that you seek, I suggest Els Pescadors. I hold this establishment with high esteem, but am also fearful that my amazing company that particular night has affected my view of the restaurant. I am curious to hear others opinions of Els Pescadors.

Hope this helps!

Jun 28, 2012
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in October - Please Critique!!

I agree with ManInTransit about following Can Roca with Tickets. Neither are to be missed, but if you can, shoot for your Tickets reservation on Day 4. The only one on your list that I would reconsider is Alkimia.

Alkimia is a great restaurant, however will be wildly trumped by the others. My problem with Alkimia is the same as a few other Michelin stared places out there, where the chefs are making exuberantly bold stokes, however creative they may be, and salvaging the actual quality of the dishes. I was disappointed by many of the dishes I had there.

You are certainly missing a Catalan "down and dirty" place, which you mustn't. I highly recommend you contrast the others with a place like Bar Ramon, Mam i Teca, or Cal Pep (I recommend these in that order).

Also you may want a nice tapas crawl. Start at one of the Vermut places on c/ Magdelenas (there are three on this street), then head to Zona D'Ombra (c/ Sant Domenic del Call, 12) for some delicious Croquettes and an Iberico plate, then to Bar Zim (c/ Calle Dagueria 20) for a glass of wine and cheese plate, then to La Plata (c/ Mercré, 28) for some Butifarra and other Catalan classics, then finish off by fighting for your bar stool at Cal Pep. Just a suggestion.

Finally, go with Cinc Sentis over Gelonch, especially if you are interested in trying some fantastic Spanish wine. The Spanish wine pairing at Cinc Sentis is amazing! The food as well is terrific and quite different for the others on your list.

Enjoy!

Jun 27, 2012
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Casual and Delicious in Madrid

Thanks everyone! In the end, it was a lovely trip. We ended up tapas bar hopping in barrio Ibiza. We went to La Castela (c/ Doctor Castelo 22) and had some delicious Gambas rojas with glasses of Txacoli, then to La Monteria (c/ Lope de Rueda 35) around the corner for Habitas with jamon and morcilla and some other treats and finally El Capricho (c/ Doctor Castelo 14) across the street for some more pintxos and cañas! It was great. The crowd was rather "pijo", however carefree and fun.

@currycue, I'll have to try Casa Alberto next time!

@avry1, I went to Casa Paulino once and had a disappointing experience. I am willing to give it another try though.

@butterly, Taberna Matritum is a great place! It would have done nicely, although I am not sure I would have been able to keep to budget considering that wine list!

Thanks again!

Jun 26, 2012
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Stars and Tickets in Barcelona

After a year of great eating in Barcelona, countless noteworthy meals accompanied by outstanding bottles of wine, I now feel that I must make a contribution to my fellow Chowhounders.

The following are my impressions of Tickets, Manairó, Hoffmans, and Hisop. While many posts already exist on all of these fine establishments, not many have had the unique opportunity to attend them all one after the other putting them head to head on all levels and aspects of the dining experience.

Tickets
We had to wait 2 months for this reservation...and I know I'm not alone in that club! The online reservation system only takes reservations up to 2 months in advance. We were constantly checking for weeks until finally we found an opening and jumped on it.

Walking into this restaurant is like stepping onto the set of a Fellini film with Albert & Ferran Adría handling craft service. Everything about this tapas bar is whimsical from the maitre'd's uniform to the decor, to the food coming off the dessert cart being panhandled as if it were mere popcorn at a carnival. The restaurant is separated by different stations, all specializing in specific parts of the menu. You can be seated at one of the tapas bars or at a table.

There is no tasting menu here, however your waiter will offer to make a recommendation of the menu's highlights. We began with a fantastic cava from Juve & Camps and then proceeded to try 15 different dishes, all of which were outstanding in their own unique regard. We tried some of Ferran's famous alginated olives, which were even more of a delight due to the fact that our waiter insisted (with a straight face) that we must be very careful for the pit. We all seemed to bring the olives to our mouths with care, however once inside our mouths we almost simultaneously experienced a sense of amusing shock as the olive burst in our mouths with the pure essence of the olives flavor....and no pit. The waiter stood near and laughed with us and we all knew we were in for an unforgettable meal.

Out of the restaurants that I will mention in this post, none of the others came close to the carefree, eccentric gastronomic experience at Tickets. There was no mystery that we had to wait 2 months and I am already excited for round two.

Manairó
This was the first of my Michelin starred odyssey, and while quite an exceptional restaurant, it was the least appealing. The place is small and charming and the chef seemed to be following a common theme among many of the Michelin restaurants in Barcelona, to create traditional Catalan dishes with modern techniques and flare.

The food was playful, however we felt that many of the dishes were "trying too hard". For example the amuse-bouche was Polvo de Jamón Iberico (Iberian Ham dust) and a Geletina de Pan con Tomate (Tomato bread gelatin). While in concept these are quite interesting and amusing, the flavors were not quite there and it was as if they were focused more on the concept than on the actual dish. That said, there were other dishes on the tasting menu that I found to be terrific, such as the rabbit croquetta wrapped in a julienned strips of fried dough and served with a serafina sauce. Everything about this dish from the texture to the flavor was superb! I would recommend Manairó as a stand alone restaurant and am actually incline to give it another try, however compared to the rest of the places I enjoyed that week, it was a clear 4th place.

Hoffmans
Hoffmans was terrific! We went for lunch and as it was a special occasion tasting menu, they had two starters and two entrees to choose from. One set was a winter time combo; Terrine of Carn d'olla in escudella and then a low temperature cooked filet with a tart red wine reduction and potato pure) and the other was more summer time oriented (Green vegetable salad with chilled shrimp and a mango vinaigrette and then roasted salmon wrapped in zucchini and served with smoked eggplant pure and "mosaic" of peppers).

The desserts were the real standout here though. They served a perfectly cooked chocolate lava cake with Tahitian vanilla ice cream and a foam of cheese cake with a coulis made from of strawberries and a sorbet of blueberries.

The service was outstanding and the wine list strait out of an oenophile's dream! The level of excellence was exactly what I had expected from this establishment and plan to return soon!

Hisop
Hands down one of the best meals I've had in Barcelona, much deserving of its Michelin star. The space is very minimalist and modern. The focus is on the fantastic food. The tasting menu consisted of one delicious creation after another. Not a single plate was disappointing in the least. While many young chefs these days are playing with modernist cuisine, I believe that far too often they try too hard and make bold statements with their flavor and texture combinations. In contrast to the rest, Oriol Invern (the chef of Hisop) uses an unparallelled playful subtly that I fell in love with.

It was a truly unforgettable week and I hope that this will help anybody trying to make some difficult dining decisions when planing for Barcelona!

Jun 20, 2012
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Casual and Delicious in Madrid

Hi! I am off to Madrid for the weekend, and need a great restaurant for Saturday night. I live in Barcelona and am very familiar with the restaurant scene there, but am looking for something particular in Madrid.

My girlfriend and I have reservations to do the tasting menu at Lieu (unfortunately I couldn't get into Diverxo) and are having lunch at Santceloni, but I have also been charged with choosing a restaurant for Saturday night and am not sure what to do, as we are meeting friends who will be more budget conscious, but have slightly high expectations in my choice.

For those of you who are familiar with Barcelona, I would love to find a Mam i Teca or Vineteria de Call type place, but in Madrid. Great food, reasonably priced (around 25€ / person), nice wine list, no frills. Other places that I like in Barcelona which I put in this category are La Paradeta, Bar Ramon, Merce Vins, Iposa, and Bar de Pla.

I am already planing to do a tapas crawl with the same friends on Sunday after some flea market action, so would like this to be more of a restaurant.

For budget, while it is not really in issue for me (especially when we are talking about amazing food!), I do not want to embarrass the couple we are meeting, so I am thinking about a cap at around 35€ / person.

Help me out ChowHounders, you have never steered me wrong!

Jun 20, 2012
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Calcotada near Barcelona..accessible by public transport?

La Parra is fantastic! I wasn't sure if they did a Calçotada there, but it is truly authentic Catalan! If you go try the 'Galtas'! There are a Catalan specialty.

Feb 19, 2011
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Calcotada near Barcelona..accessible by public transport?

I had forgotten about Sitges, that would be a great option for you and as Estufarian says there are loads of good places. Another thing to keep in mind (and at the risk of moving away from our theme of Chow) Carnival this year is the first week of March and Sitges is one of the great places to go in Spain for Carnival. On the 6th and the 8th of March this year there will be massive parades which are a lot of fun! Something to keep in mind.

Feb 15, 2011
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

wine tours barcelona

Hi Karen, there is a great tour company that specializes in personalized and small group guided tours in and around BCN. They are called Spanish Trails Adventures and offer a great wine day trip where they drive you to two small batch wineries in Penedès, which offer a tour of the winery and very generous tastings of 4 different wines in each location. Also included in the tour was a fantastic traditional Catalan lunch in one of the wineries. Our guide was fantastic and very knowledgeable. On the drive down to Penedès, he gave us a brief introduction to not only wine in the region, but also about Catalonia in general.

You can see the details of their wine excursion here: http://bit.ly/fCGrat.

Feb 15, 2011
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Calcotada near Barcelona..accessible by public transport?

So I decided, "what the hell, I need to eat lunch somewhere today" and shot over to 'El Caliu de l'Eixample'. I can now vouch for it with more confidence.

While I have to say it is not the true-true experience of going slightly out of town, it is pretty darn close. There was a Calçotada Menu for 25 EUR which included Pa amb tomàquet (traditional tomato bread), a nice sized salad, all you can eat Calçots, a nice selection of mixed meats that you cook yourself on a stone grill that is situated on your table, and the daily dessert. All in all this is a really nice place and I will definitely go back. For me the Romesco sauce served with the Calçots is what can really make the difference and theirs was quite good. If you go, let me know what you think.

Feb 15, 2011
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Calcotada near Barcelona..accessible by public transport?

Yes, sorry I forgot to mention that. I always go during the weekend. I just called them to confirm and they say that they only open for food during the week for groups of +20 people.

I have always gone out of town for my Calçotadas, but you got me thinking that it would be crazy if there were no where good to do it in town! I called a Catalan friend of mine and she recommends 'El Caliu de l'Eixample' which is, in L'Eixample and offers a Calçotada. I hate recommending restaurants that I have not personally tried, but I do trust my friend and I'd say that if you can't make it out of town, look into this one! Hope this helps!

Feb 15, 2011
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal

Calcotada near Barcelona..accessible by public transport?

I hope I'm not too late, but go to 'Sant Sadurní D'Anoia', which is about a 45 minute train ride from Sants Estacio (BCN's main train station). The train leaves quite often. This town is in Penedes, where Cava is produced. Once you get to Sant Sadurní D'Anoia there is a Restaurant/ Bodega called 'Cavas Canals & Casanovas'. There you can have a fantastic Calçotada, as well as try some other delicious traditional Catalan treats, not to mention the Cava!

Getting from the town's train station to the restaurant shouldn't be too tricky, as I'm sure you can get a taxi...although to be perfectly honest I've always driven there so have never done this myself. I have included a link to a map that will show you the distance between the train station and restaurant. http://bit.ly/ftsNhD

I went last weekend with some friends and we had a great time! Enjoy!

Feb 15, 2011
Neoyorquino in Spain/Portugal