Visiting Barcelona in mid-October
It's our third year wedding anniversary and we're wondering if you Barca hounds have any great suggestions for a wonderful evening that won't break the bank, yet offers a true taste of Barcelona. My husband LOVES Spanish food- I think he'd love the fare in your fair city too. Open to all suggestions! Gracias (I have to learn to say that in Catalan- is it moltes grats?)
If you are looking for modern Catalan food, Barcelona has many excellent moderate price restaurants. The decor is contemporary, tend toward the minimalist, and the service is good and casual. Excellent traditional Catalan is harder to come by. Below are some of my favorites. Dinner for one is about 50-65E before wine.
For overall experience, I would recommend Gaig. The food is modern yet accessible, the service is excellent without being stuffy, the atmosphere is relaxing.
For modern Catalan food:
Cinc Sentits which has several post on this site.
Sauc, a little more traditional and casual than the above
For traditional Catalan food:
Ca L'Isidre, I am not a big fan but many consider this the best for traditional Catalan food
If you have any specific preference or questions, I would be happy to respond.
to say thank you in catalan, you can either say, "merce" or "gracies." moltes grats may be correct but I rarely hear it used in casual conversation.
I really like Hispania for traditional Catalan cuisine, although it is not in Barcelona but a few miles north along the sea in Arenys de Mar. It is easily accessible by public transport (RENFE) or by car. Most of the seafood that is sold to restaurants and markets in Barcelona come from the wholesale fish market in Arenys (including the famous Arenys shrimps). If you can make it out there, it is fun to go to the fish market to check out the daily catch and to watch the fish being auctioned off.
Anyways, Hispania was started by two catalan sisters as a humble roadside eatery specializing in homecooked meals for truckers along the highway. Over the years, it grew into a world-class restrauant and is reportedly King Juan Carlos' favorite restaurant in Barcelona.
The decor is elegant, spacious and tranquil. The service is warm and friendly. The food is not plated as creatively as some of the more modern catalan places. It still has a bit of a rustic flavor to its decor and presentation.
Hispania serves some of the best food in Catalona. The menu is divided in two sections, one with traditional dishes that the family has perfected over the years, the other with modern interpretation of catalan food. If you have a car it is easy to get to and back to barcelona. The problem with the train is that you will have to take lunch, dinner might be too late to catch a train for your return.
Wow- these offerings sound LOVELY. Any of you live in the area? I'd gladly pay a fellow foodie for a gastronomic mini-tour for a few hours (it wouldn't be a king's ransom- but we could work something out?!). At any rate- this sounds great- thanks so much! The Hispania place really appeals to my sensibilities- by the sea, a little out of the way- it would make a fascinating excursion for us. We live in Toronto and aren't near any salty body of water for miles. Lake Ontario just doesn't cut it amigos! :-)
I think PBSF is right about the transport situation. If you don't have a car, lunch is probably a better option. If you had a car, lunch may also be a good idea as a stopover on your way up to the Costa Brava.
I may be in Barcelona mid-October. Keep in touch and maybe we could meet for lunch.
Thanks for the invitation. I will be in Barcelona for 3 days in beginning of November. This is by 5th trip to the city but by no means I can be a guide of any sort. I don't speak either Spanish or Catalan, though I do know the way around the center of the city. But if anyone is there during that time, would be happy to hit the food trail or lunch at Can Fabes and/or El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. Barcelona is a great city... friendly, easy to navigate, great for strolling and eating. Have a great trip and if have any questions, happy to answer. Please report back after your trip.
Yeah- we'll be carless for sure- so that makes it tough to get out of town other than by public transport. We'll make something work though. I will certainly report back- I look forward to the trip. I haven't been to Barcelona since 1994! Spanish is my first language so I've no problems there- and I'm adventurous by nature so here's hoping for a food memory or two! Gracias most!
Hispania is an excellent choice for high end traditional.
In Barcelona proper, Drolma and Abac are good options too, more modern maybe than Hispania, but closer if you don't want to travel. I would also suggest Coure in Barcelona.
Another high-end/by the sea option 5 minutes away from Hispania is Carme Ruscalleda's 3 star Sant Pau, in Sant Pol de Mar. As melimato mentioned, both places are reachable by RENFE trains, which run regularly throughout the day. However, if you decide to go there for dinner, let them know you need to catch the last train when you make the reservation, so they will accomodate you accordingly.
If you like the market idea but don't want to go all the way to Arenys (or Roses or Palamos for that matter), do not miss the Boqueria market by the Ramblas. You can eat there as well, there are several bars in the market, Pinotxo being probably the most famous one.