Barcelona/Lisbon in November
My wife and I are making a trip to Barcelona and Lisbon in November. We are looking to eat at great local places and moderately priced restaurants for the majority of our time. With that being said though we would like one splurge night in each city! If you had one meal to eat in each town with price being no object where would you choose?
I will post closer to our trip for suggestions on moderately priced places, but know that the best restaurants along the lines of an El Bulli require advance planning to secure reservations.
If you could also list the expected prices for a tasting menu that would be appreciated also.
Thanks in advance!
So we are back from Barcelona and Lisbon (with other stops in Zurich and Paris)
First off, both cities are absolutely beautiful in their own way, we fell in love with both.
Due to lack of time I will have to chime in later with a more detailed report, but here are at least a list of the places we tried.
We ate at Cal Pep, Cinc Sentis, Pollo Rico, El Quim Del La Boqueria, Cullera de Boix and La Bottega.
Cal Pep was as good as advertised. Creative and tasty tapas and we were even able to luckily time it so that we got in with a minimal wait. This is one of the must eat restaurants in Barcelona.
Cinc Sentits was excellent as well. You can see why they earned that Michelin star the this year. The menu is simple and ingredient driven, but creative enough to stay interesting. Most importantly though, the food is flawless. We had the tasting menu and the Foie Gras "Coca" and the Iberian suckling pig really were the two that stood out. The service was excellent as well.
Pollo Rico is El Raval was a real find. Cheap and delicious chicken and fries in a very local setting in an interesting neighborhood.
El Quim de la Boqueria was impressive. We ordered a pork sandwich on Catalan bread during a quick stop at the market. It was simple and perfectly cooked and prepared.
Cullera de Boix was where we went for Paella. I have to admit that while it was a pretty good paella I was expecting something more. The rice was a little too mushy for my liking. It was tasty and the seafood was fresh, but I guess I expected a little bit more.
We kind of stumbled on La Bottega, we never planned this meal but were out walking one night and saw an interesting looking restaurant with an equally interesting menu. I never expected it to be great, but it actually turned out to be a very good meal. I ordered the Squid and arroz negro and it was delicious.
Throughout the remainder of our time in Barcelona we stopped by many local cafes in Eixample and enjoyed the local pastries and coffee.
In Lisbon we ate at Bonjardim, Sacramento and Delfim.
We arrived on a Sunday, and as anyone who has been to Lisbon knows, it is basically a ghost town on Sunday restaurant wise. So our hotel concierge pointed us to a typical Portuguese restaurant near Marques Pombal Square called Del Fim. Well it turned out to be very good. I got the salted Cod and Potato and it was perfectly prepared.
That night we also were searching for something to eat and stumbled upon a place called Frog also in the same area. Well it wasn't anything special but it did the job. I ordered a squid entree that was pretty decent.
Bonjardim was excellent! We ordered the chicken and fries for two and washed it down with a couple beers, this is exactly the type of simple meal I love to have, especially when it leaves an impression on you.
Sacramento has a very nice dining area, with stone and brick arches and a very attentive wait staff. The food is also excellent. My wife ordered the Filet that was cooked perfectly medium rare and I had the Lamb chops. They have a very impressive bar as well, with the bartender mixing me one of the best Ciprihana's I've ever had.
The main strong point of Lisbon in my opinion though are the local cafes, with Espresso, Cappuccino, Cafe con Leche and Pastries being the strong points. I must have eaten a Pastel de Nada everyday I was there, and I really don't think I tasted a bad one!
Overall it was a great trip, I cant wait to go back one day a visit both cities again.
I spent a week in Portugal (most of that in & around Lisbon) a couple of months ago. I posted extensively about my food experiences there, including restaurant links, on my blog www.mamaliciouseats.wordpress.com.
Don't leave w/o a trip to Belem (a suburb of Lisbon and accessible via the #15 trolley) to see Geronimos Monastery, The Belem Tower and to eat those highly addicting pasties de belem (egg custard tarts) - they sound so simple but are oh so delicious. Seafood is fresh and plentiful and available everywhere. If you are a big fan of the pig (pork) you must have some leitao assado - roast suckling pig. It's pork on a whole other level.
Portugal is beautiful and a highly under-appreciated european destination. Take advantage of that and have fun and eat well. :)
Lisbon- Blow the budget at Veranda in the Ritz - 36 euro per entree but mind blowing
Moderate- mostly any other restaurant- but we especially loved Lisboa à Noite and Pap Acorda (dont miss the Shrimp Acorda and the Chocolate Mousse)... (15-25 euro per entree..some feed 2)
Inexpensive and Trendy - Sacramento - 10-12 euro per entree
Dont miss The Port Wine Institute in Lisbon!!!!!!! If you do anything, do that.
When you're in Lisbon, make sure you go to Pavilhao Chines. It's a bar more than a restaurant (they may have sandwiches). It will blow your mind. There is nothing in the world quite like it.
For food, check out Restivo. Awesome views of the city and a very interesting method of ordering (you choose colours off a menu). The food is great.
For something a bit more authentic, check out Jardim's for roast chicken. Simple and rustic. Two things that go great together.
The very best restaurants are just outside of Barcelona...El Raco de Can Fabes, El Celler de Can Roca, Hispania are all a short drive or easy train ride from Barcelona. If by train, plan to take lunch unless one stays overnight because the trains do not run late enough for a leisurely dinner. For best food in Barcelona, I think Drolma and Abac.
My most recent meals, all within the past year, at Can Fabes: 155E, Can Roca 105E, a shorter menu was 90E, Hispania a la carte was 70E for a 3 course meal. I think Drolma and Abac would be about 125E though I have not been to either one in a couple of years. All the restaurants have websites though I am not sure there are prices. The menus also change constantly.
You will find many posts on the above restaurants by searching this board.