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Jul 26, 2008 03:43 PM


My wife and I will be in Barcelona in late August for the first time for 5 days. I read an article in the New York Times about the "bistronomic" restaurants like Embat, Catalina,Gresca, Hisop, Apat, La Mifanera and was wondering if this is old news there and which of these restaurants people have tried and would recommend.

Also we are staying at Villa Emilia in Eixample near Parc de Joan Miro and would love to know if anyone has a suggestion for a place to eat in that area lunch or dinner.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. It seems numbers of the places I was looking at will be closed so would be happy with any suggestions that will be open in mid-August.

    1. Parc de Joan Miro is centrally located where one can walk to most areas of the center. I have not been to any of the mentioned in the NYTimes. A couple of places similar to Hisop in the article that I like are L’Olive on c/Balmes and Coure on Pge Marimon (just above the Diagonal). I believe they are both opened in August. Some excellent highend places located in hotels are open in August: Moo, Drolma, Arola.
      Although many restaurants are closed during the second part of August, there are many terrific tapas/pinxtos places that are open. Paco Meralgo in the Eixample has excellent tapas with counter sitting as well as tables (also a non-smoking section). Close by is Tackita Berri with terrific pinxtos. If you are interested in a list of good tapas/pinxtos places, let me know.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Thanks for responding. I had heard good things about Paco and it was on my list but would be happy to have more options. I have found that there is a mix of who is closed and open at the time we are going.

        1. re: runrowe

          For easy tapas/pinxtos hopping, I usually pick an area and go from one to another. But of course one can eat an entire meal at Paco Meralgo because of their varied menu and counter/table seating. Others maybe just crowded standup counter with bar stools.
          The El Born area is just about the most lively area in the evening and filled with tapas/pinxtos places: on the busy c/Argenteria is La Vinya de Senyor, a terrific wine bar with good tapas and great outside sitting. On the same carrer is a large branch of Sagrada with a huge assortment of pinxtos; next to it is a good cheese tasting restaurant. Also on the same street is Senyor Parellada, a very popular(with tourists as well as locals), moderately price traditional Catalan restaurant. The décor is pleasant and airy, menu is large, food decent and a great value. Need reservation unless one eats very early and make sure to sit downstair as the upstair is wayaway from the action. Near by on Pl. Montcada is Euskal Etxea, the Basque Cultural Centers pinxto spot, which is always crowded at night and can get quite rowdy as the evening wears on. Up the block is El Xampanent, popular for cava and tapas. Nearby, off c/Comerc is Little Bestial, good for eclectic tapas.
          The Barri Gotic has some good old atmostpheric places. Down by c/Ample and c/Merce are some old Celta tapas places such as El Tropejon and Bar Celta, specializing in seafood and octopus. There are also some good Asturian bars there that have good cider, cheeses, cured meat and bean dishes. In the upper Bari Gotic, there are Bar del Pi, Il Irati, Convent dels Angels and many others. Just a precaution, be careful at night in the Barri Gotic; stay on the main streets as the side streets can be very quiet and desserted.
          The Eixample, on the other side of Pg de Gracia from your hotel are crowded with eating places. I would skip most of the places on the Pg de Gracia. Head over to La Cerverseria Catalana on c/Mallorca 236, large and lively with just about every types of tapas and pinxtos. Not everything will be great but fun for people watching. Nearby are Taktika Berri at Valencia 169 and Cat181 on Valencia 236. Further up is Paco Meralgo on Muntaner 171 and Ondoa Berri on Pg Marimon, just across from the Diagonal.
          I would just hit one of those areas and you will sure find some will be open in August. Have fun.

          1. re: PBSF

            This is great. Thanks! We are really looking forward to getting there.

      2. I actually have been to Hisop, and absolutely loved it. However, I'm not sure I agree with the NYT classification of the place as a "bistronomic" restaurant....I found the food to be extremely inventive and very refined....not really what I think of as "bistro" food. The main difference is that it's much cheaper than other high-end restaurants in Barcelona that serve similar food of equal (or in some cases even lesser) quality. I believe the tasting menu at Hisop was like 38 euros for 6-7 courses. Of course you can order a la carte as well.
        I definitely recommend visiting this restaurant if you have the opportunity. The food was fabulous and the atmosphere is fantastic....its a tiny little restaurant with only about 6-8 tables.
        Have a fantastic time!

        PS - The Hisop website shows their menu so you can take a look and see if it interests you :)

        ALSO, I highly recommend Cinc was one of my favorite meals while in Barcelona...and I got to try a lot of places as I was there studying abroad for 5 months.

        6 Replies
        1. re: catsrus9

          Hello we will be back there the last week in August. I emailed a couple of places to check they were open and this is what I know. Lasarte is shut, Drolma is open and Sauc opens on the 27th August as does Hisop. I ate at Hisop in June and it was one of my favourite meals more so than Alkimia and Can Fabes! I have eaten at Cinc Sentis and Gaig on previous trips and preferred Cinc Sentis.

          Regarding Bistronomia I came across and wonder if this is what you are referring to?

          1. re: rekha

            I tried the link but it didn't head anywhere so I'm not sure but it likely is the same article. It was in the travel section in the last little while.

          2. re: catsrus9

            I'm dissapointed to say that Hisop is closed while we are there but I have managed to score a reservation at Cinc Sentits. I am thinking of maybe doing a lunch at Espai Coch at Can Fabes if we feel like we can slow down enough head out that way. Thanks for jumping in.

            1. re: runrowe

              Another good option is Espai Sucre, which is located on Carrer Princesa, right near Parc de la Ciutadella.

              This place was one of my favorite restaurants in Barcelona....They're famous for serving some of the most inventive/unusual desserts in Spain. Albert Adria, brother of Ferran (of El Bulli) considers it the best place in Spain for dessert. But you can actually go there for dinner....they have several different size tasting can either get 3 desserts, 3 chocolate desserts, 5 desserts, or a larger tasting menu that mixes both savory and sweet dishes. I went twice while in Spain, and although I only had the dessert tasting menus, it was a really fun alternative to a traditional dinner, and the food was absolutely fabulous....we were all really impressed.

              Once again,
              Have a great time!

                1. re: rekha

                  Thanks to everyone...doing the last of the trip prep and will report back what we find. :)

          3. I'm living in Barcelona and this is definitely a trend with staying power - not unlike what I'm seeing in NY and LA - chefs who are creating menus / dishes that they can produce for a reasonable price point. They are fun places to eat at. I can personally recommend Hisop, Catalina, Embat, as well as Goliard in Gracia. On the whole other end Cinc Sentats is a really nice high-end experience.

            2 Replies
            1. re: richradka

              HI richradka I would be keen to hear more about some of the places you mentioned especially Catalina, Embat and Goliard. When are they open, and what price range are we talking? What are your favourite dishes.. Have you been to Apat or Gresca? Another place that a friend recommended is Farga. I know it's not bistronomic but it's meant to be good.

              1. re: rekha

                Here's the link to the menu at Goliard below. I love this place. One of the best deals in town. They take traditional dishes and add a modern touch--not as experimental as some but just enough. Entrees are about 10-13 euros but portions tend to be small so you'd probably need to get a first, second and desert. The wine selection is also very reasonable.


                Dishes that I have enjoyed

                Pastel frio de berenjena, "mató", y tomates secos con anchoas (a kind of moussaka of eggplant, fresh cheese, dried tomatoes, and anchovies
                Ensalada de pie de cerdo con trompetas (Pig feet salad with death trumpet mushrooms--sounds odd but if you like eating things with exotic textures, this is great!)

                Rape con calçots y vinagreta de avellanas (Monkfish with spring onions and hazelnut vinaigrette)

                Cigalas a la plancha sin trabajo con garbanzos salteados (grilled crawfish out of the shell with sauteed chickpeas)

                both the tart tatin, semicuit and panna cotta are marvelous as well.