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Jun 16, 2008 10:45 PM

Recommended Chowhound Itinerary For 4 Days In Barcelona?

We will be in Barcelona from the evening of July 26 through the morning of July 30. I've been reading a bit here, and there are a lot of recommended threads. But most of them seem fixated on seafood. While my girlfriend loves it, I can only tolerate it with no "fishy" taste. She, on the other hand, can't tolerate anything too salty.

A lot of the recommendations I've read involve salt cod. If that is salty, she'll hate it, and if it's fishy tasting, so will I. I'm willing to go into a tapas bar where she can order things like Percebes and mussels/clams while I get gambas ajillo, tortilla espanola and patatas bravas and the like. Also, we both love churros con chocolate, and I've read a few recommendations here that I will be trying.

The other thing is that we are not looking for high-end, expensive restaurants. It's easy to get good food when you pay a fortune. I don't consider that anything special. It's the great food in the inexpensive hole-in-the-wall places that I consider real treasures.

I think that Cal Pep is on our agenda, as are Caelum and Cacao Sampaka. I'm figuring that breakfast will be mostly bakeries with coffee and pastries, or Churros con Chocolate, though a larger breakfast one day is doable. As a general rule, lunch will probably be our big meal, with tapas for dinner.

We are staying in Diagonal Mar, and I see that we will have to get away from there for most or all of our meals. Also, we have no problems walking long distances or traveling across town for amazing food.

It's our first time in Barcelona (but I went to College in Spain, so I know the Spanish -- not the Catalan -- food and culture), so I'm assuming that we'll see the Dali Museum, Picasso Museum, La Sagrada Familia and the Gaudi Park, as well as walking Las Ramblas. Probably also take in a show. Are Flamenco shows as big and worthwhile in Barcelona as in other parts of Spain? Any such shows with great food, or should we eat elsewhere and then see the show?

So, that's my preliminary thinking. Any recommendations? Great food at great prices? Recommendations near the attractions we are likely to visit? "Don't miss" places with good pricing?

Thanks all for your help.

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  1. Except for places that specialize in seafood, most Barcelona restaurants and tapas/pinxto places have meat, fowl and vegetable as well as seafood. Salt cod is popular but is only a single ingredient. There are plenty of fresh seafood available and good fresh seafood should not be ‘fishy’. As for salt, I’ve found that Spanish restaurant food tend to be on the salty side. In fact, Cal Pep serves some of the saltiest food that I’ve encountered. Others might have a different experience.
    I don’t agree that it is easy to get great food if one pays a fortune. High cost comes with high expectation. In my opinion, the strength of Barcelona restaurant scene is in high end modern Catalan cooking. For me, to skip this is to miss something very special and unique about eating in Barcelona. In fact, many represent good value compare to those in other large Europe cities such as Paris, London or Rome.
    I’ve also posted recommendations on moderately priced traditional restaurants as well as a few hole in the wall places.Search this board for the posts. One will not find the best ingredients cooked at a high level, but the food will be honest and generous.
    As for flamenco, it is not part of Catalan culture. None of my Barcelona friends can recommend any good or not so good shows. One would probably have to go to Andalusia for that.
    If you have specific restaurants and tapas/pinxto places in mind, please post and hopefully you will get some good feedback.

    5 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      Well, beyond those I mentioned above, I am thinking about Paco Meralgo. I was also thinking that, for at least one meal, I would graze the various food places in La Boqueria. Other than that, I'm pretty open.

      There is no Catalan dance tradition? I thought I remembered seeing a very interesting Catalan dancer doing a traditional dance at a Flamenco show in Madrid.

      1. re: Hoc

        Paco Meralgo is good and in my opinion, better and more reasonably price than Cal Pep.
        There are flamenco shows but most are for tour groups. Might try Los Tarantos in the Bari Gotic but I do not know anyone that's been there.

        1. re: PBSF

          If Flamenco isn't big there as a mode of entertainment, then I probably won't do that. I've seen some great shows in Madrid, so why spoil that experience? But what kinds of entertainment are popular in Barcelona?

      2. re: PBSF

        Hi Hoc,
        My family and I traveled to Barcelona for the first time in May. Close to the apartment where we stayed in L'Eixample is a Persian restaurant, Rincon Persa. The owner/chef is very warm and welcoming and the menu has a good selection of vegetarian options. Floridablanca, 85. They're closed, like a lot of places, on Monday.

        We missed this because of the timing of our visit, but try to catch the Sardana. It's the Catalan traditional dance and takes place outdoors on the weekends. Most of the Flamenco you'll find in Barcelona is pretty tourist-oriented.

        1. re: skpow

          Thanks, we're headed there tomorrow, so either tomorrow night or Sunday night, we'll try to find it.

      3. The original comment has been removed