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Barcelona in November

Hi everyone! Just got back from Barcelona late last nite. Had a wonderful and extremely memorable trip and can't thank you all enough for the advice.

I was just our luck getting a last minute table at Can Roca! So my itinerary ended up being: Hisop, Can Roca, 41 Grados, Tapac24. Not sure if anyone wants to read a whole detailed review of every dish, so I will just share a few things that stood out to me...

Hisop - I think this was the perfect choice for the first evening (arriving after 5 days of sight seeing in Istanbul). Not overly involved or complicated, mostly lighter seafood courses. Fresh clams in vanilla foam (amuse bouche) & grilled baby octopus were to die for!

Can Roca - Amazing service & execution. Super attentive staff without even a single hint of snobbery. Toured the kitchen and chatted with Joan Roca after dinner. Complimentary Roca Cava got things off to a great start. Grilled King Prawns (Gambas?) with crispy legs & head was the star dish. Also had the most delicately roasted lamb & suckling pig dishes I have ever seen.

41 Grados - 41 snacks & cocktails served at very quick pace. Majority of items blew me away in terms of creativity and intense flavor, especially the cocktails. Oriol Castro was busy trying some experimental dessert that looks like mushrooms, but had a chance to chat with him after dinner as well. Truly a life changing experience.

Tapac24 - We decided that a 4th night of tasting menu would be too an overdose. Although we were looking forward to Alkimia very much, I think Tapac24 was a perfect ending to the trip. Had some difficulty with the staff (limited english), and couldn't really figure out what the specials were.... Grilled Gambas & steamed sea snails were amazing. Also I don't normally order tripe, but their stewed tripe (with jamon & chorizo) was a super comfort dish.

Also had a great lunch at Paco Meralgo (which happened to be just a block from our hotel). Stumbled onto this place as we were waiting for our room to be ready. Had some amazing cockerels, steak tartare and "spanish" french toast.

Overall, I am in love with the quality of seafood in Barcelona. Every seafood dish tasted like it just jumped out of the sea and into my mouth. I cannot wait to go back!

Nov 14, 2011
fluffydot in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in November

I realize most people prefer to take lunch at Can Fabes so train is the preferred transportation. But I made reservations for dinner so I think I will need to drive. We can spend more day time in the city for sightseeing.

I do see that E15/AP17 is more in the "interior" as opposed to C-32 which is along the coast. I wonder if any has been on that route, are you able to see the beautiful seaside?

With the car, I may also go see a Cava winery, though I understand they are in the opposite direction...

Nov 01, 2011
fluffydot in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in November

Another question before i fly out this weekend...
I'm planning to rent a car and drive from Barcelona to Sant Celoni for Can Fabes. Is the route more scenic if I take C-32 along the coast then north on C-60? Perhaps a stop at La Roca, heard there is a large shopping / outlet center there.

On the return trip, will probably take the shorter route.
thanks!

Nov 01, 2011
fluffydot in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in November

Thank you for helping to settle my doubt over Can Fabes. I am quite satisfied that this is going to be a stellar dining itinerary. (Of course I wish I could fit a few more restaurants into my schedule but alas...) This is going to put a serious dent into my travel budget!

The Can Fabes webpage is still somewhat confusing, it lists 3 choices:
1) Autumn Menu: €140 (incl VAT)
2) Coch Menu: €105 (incl VAT) without wines; €135 wine pairing with Cuvée Santamaria wines
3) Tribute to Santi Santamaria: €228

Am I correct to assume that 1 & 3 do not include wine (even tho they do not explicitly say so)? and for 2), is it 105 + 135 for meal w/ wine pairing or 135 total?
They also have a Package for €450 for 2 ppl including dinner & wine.

Oct 26, 2011
fluffydot in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in November

PBSF, very insightful as always. I have done some more thinking about what I want...and also have an update about 41.

41 is going to be doing "a festival consisting of 41 surprises made by our cooks and barmen in a very special atmosphere specifically created to go with this gastronomic metamorphosis". This sounds to be extremely exciting and I cannot wait to try! After some frustrations, I was able to secure a table on Nov 11! The price is set at 141EUR, tax and drinks extra.

Trying to plan around this, I have the following tentative schedule to work with:
Wed - Hisop
Thurs - Can Fabes or Gresca or Comerc24
Fri - 41
Sat - Alkimia

I am struggling on what to do for Thursday. I know you are going to say that the 3 choices are completely apples & oranges... But what I am trying to do is to make sure I get a somewhat wide variety of cuisine. Given that 41 will most likely be very molecular... I am leaning towards Gresca or Can Fabes to balance out the others.

I know I sounded vain saying I would go to Can Fabes because it is the only 3* I can get. But being someone who has never experienced a 3* restaurant, would you think this is worthwhile? Will it be heads and shoulders above the 1* places on my list (in terms of quality of food or experience)? The "traditional vs molecular" is no longer an issue, but more interested in being blown away by quality/detail/innovation/experience.

Another side question: if there is no "wine pairing" listed, does that mean I need to order individual wine by glass/bottle. Or are they sometimes included in the price? (some menu say explicitly "drinks not included")

Oct 14, 2011
fluffydot in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in November

Wow, that is amazing news. I have been checking their website for tickets & 41 almost everyday hoping for a cancellation or news about 41.

Just sent them an email. Hopefully get a table for my upcoming trip and hope it will be some kind of Adria tasting menu experience!! Will let u guys know what happens.

Oct 11, 2011
fluffydot in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona in November

Hi!

First i would like to thank you all on this board for all the informative reviews and advice. i have been reading countless posts over the couple of weeks as research for my trip to BCN in Nov. Based on all that I have read, I've also narrowed down my list of foodie destinations. But I feel like I could still use a little more help...

With much disappointment, I could not get reservations at El Celler Can Roca (waitlist) and Sant Pau (closed for holiday). However, there were quite a few openings at Can Fabes.

Tickets is also fully booked and something is happening at 41 in Oct so no new reservations are being offered in Nov yet. Someone mentioned that the restaurant is changing concept, so will have to wait and see. We will likely show up early at to see if any walkin/ bar seats are available, multiple times if necessary.

Having never been to Spain, I would like to try some traditional cuisine but especially excited about getting lots of molecular gatrsonomy I have read so much about. I love seafood and foie and would be up for anything experiement, foamy, surprising explosions of flavor etc.

CAN FABES

Obviously Can Fabes is not the ideal choice for me...but being the only 3* place I could get, I am tempted to still go. I have also read a number of poor reviews which are discouraging.. i haven't seen any reports thing recently. Would love to hear from anyone who has been there this summer.

List of other places I am considering in no particular order:
Alkimia
Hisop
Gresca
Commerc 24 / Tapac 24
Moo
Lolita Taperia
Can Fabes
Lasarte

I wasn't too keen on MOO but only have it in the list because I consider it a substitute for Can Roca. I would be extremely grateful if anyone could arrange the list in order of "molecular-ness" or something like that. And feel free to add to my list if I am missing some obvious choices.

I am trying to plan just 4 dinners (Wed - Sat) from the above list. and leave lunch for jamonisimo, tapas or La Boqueria, etc

Thanks!

Oct 11, 2011
fluffydot in Spain/Portugal