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Feb 13, 2009 04:34 AM

day trip out of Barcelona

Visiting Barcelona in late April for the first time ever, thanks to Qantas' free side trip offer.

Currently trawling through the board for Barca suggestions in general, but as we are there for four full days (Fri-Mon) I was wondering if there were any day trips we could do that tied in with a fine lunch somewhere - so a destination lunch spot? Would need to be train.

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  1. I highly recomend the Montserrat Monastery for a day trip. It's easily doable by train . It was a long time ago (about 10 years) so I can't recomend any particular places to eat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DGresh

      Do not eat at Montserrat - there are 2 main cafeterias serving mediocre, borderline disgusting food. If you take a trip up there (and you should, it's beautiful) bring along a sandwich or just wait till you get back to the city center to eat.

    2. If you are interested in modern Catalan food, I would suggest El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona, a beautiful well-preserved medival city about a hour and 15 minutes easily reached by train out of Barcelona. A morning of sightseeing then a long lunch at the El Celler is perfect. Take the train back around 5:30pm and still have a great evening in Barcelona. The other great restaurants nearby, Can Fabes, Sant Pau and Hispania all have wonderful food but located in non-descript towns. Can Fabes is modern Catalan without the molecular techniques; Sant Pau is more toward Can Roca whereas Hispania is one of the best traditional Catalan restaurant.
      If you are interested in any of the above restaurants, I would make a reservation soon because Saturday and Sunday lunches are very popular and Monday is the traditional closing day.

      7 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Thanks for that - I think Girona will win the day - how much will lunch at El Celler or Hispania set me back?

        1. re: mr_gimlet

          There are two tasting menus at Can Roca. When I ate there last October, the shorter menu was 90E and the longer was 110E. Ordering a three course a la carte would around 80E. A three course meal at Hispania could be anywhere between 65 to 85E depending what one orders. This includes service and tax but all beverages would be additional.

          1. re: PBSF

            What time would be appropriate for a lunch booking given this is Spain, and how do I go about doing it? (Their website is only in Spanish)

            1. re: mr_gimlet

              For Can Roca, on the bottom of their homepage, hit "credits", you will find the email address/telephone numbers to the El Cellar de Can Roca Restaurant. There are other info on that page but make sure you choose the Restaurant. You can email a reservation request with the date, number of people, lunch and time, your email address, etc. English is ok and they will reply by email. 14:00 hour is the prefer time for lunch but I think they begin lunch service at 13:30. It might be advisable to give them a second date option if you have another day free. I've had success by email but if you don't get a reply in a few days, would phone them. Best time to call is between 17:00 and 20:00 hours, Spain time. Someone will speak English. Email in Spain is not as reliable as in the US. Let me know if I can help.

              1. re: PBSF

                Emailed yesterday, reply this morning from Manel - so all booked for Saturday lunch at the end of April. Looking forward to it already :-)

                Can one walk to the restaurant after wandering around Girona?

                Also, what are the wine options going to be - do they do some by the glass with the menu? Happy to have some wine but are trying hard to keep the price under control

                1. re: mr_gimlet

                  Can Roca is located in Taiala, a suburb just outside of the old historical part of Girona. It is an easy 35 minute leisurely walk but the last half is very non-descript. The walk back to the train station is about the same but totally boring. We usually walk for exercise and give the meal a chance to digest. There is a tourist office in the old part of town (was there on our first trip 5 years ago) that has a good free map of Girona and they can give you walking direction to the restaurant. Make sure you get the current address (on c/Can Sunyer 48) as the restaurant moved about a year ago to the nearby current location. It is easy to find. If you get to the restaurant before your reservation, they will sit you without any problem. They have wines by the glass and no problem if you order a glass or two to compliment the entire meal. Ask the staff for recommendation if you are unsure. I don't drink and my partner usually order couple glasses of white which compliments most of the tasting menu. The wine list is terrific, very interactive and well priced and glasses are around 6E.
                  Our lunches usually start around 14:00 hour and we usually take the 17:45 train (check the schedule for the exact time) and get back to Barcelona around 19:00.

                  1. re: PBSF

                    Just a quick note from our recent lunch. Lady in the tourist office marked the old address on the map but fortunately we were forearmed with the correct address which is closer to the old part.

                    Almost flawless tasting menu (I thought the seabass with olives was a bit weak), matching wines for me and a few glasses for mrs_g. All in all, a superb experience.

      2. Girona is an excellent idea, but you might also go south to Tarragona. Just south of the train station there's a good seafood restaurant, l'Ancora, that's not fancy but always very good. Tarragona is a small city with superb Roman archaeologicall sites within walking distance of l'Ancora.

        1. If you are in Barcelona in April, and are looking for a day trip out of Barcelona that also involves a destination gastronomical event, then for me the hands down winner would be going to the countryside for a cal├žotada. Cal├žots are a type a large green onion that are grilled en masse over a wood fire, peeled and dipped into a special sauce. Of course, there are normally copious amounts of grilled meats and wine of course, drunk from a typical porron.

          Various agencies or a concierge could set up this excursion for you, I highly recommend it and don't think you'll regret it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: stewy

            thanks for that - is it an April thing?

            1. re: mr_gimlet

              Yes, the season for that normally runs through April. Have a good time and don't wear clothes that you care too much about getting stained.

              1. re: mr_gimlet

                "se extiende desde el mes de noviembre hasta finales de marzo" - the season for calcots is at most until the end of March - and if you eat them as late as April (when they probably aren't served any longer), they will be big and not as good as they are in mid-winter. It is a fun experience and I happen to love calcots but they are no longer good/available (or at least shouldn't be) in April.

            2. Two Suggestions-

              Monserrat- This is a great day trip if 1. money is an issue and /or 2. you are just dying to pack a picknick lunch and do some hiking. Very easy to get to. Placa Espanya has a half dozen helpful people in red jacket to get you on your way. A round trip ticket costs about 15 euros and includes the Cremallera train up to the Monastery. Look at the church, hear the singing, whatever. But then hike all the way up to St. Jeroni. If you are not feeling that energetic, take the funicular up to St Joan and start your walk from there. The scenery is fantastic. But now the best part- you have packed this amazing lunch from Vin Vinotecca (this is one of the true foodie destinations in Barca - Cheeses, meats, breads, wines......truly a destination lunch! The info desk at Montserrat is very helpful.

              Tarragona- A good trip especially if you want seafood. Nice roman ruins. Nice walks along the water. For lunch go to the barrio know as El Serrallio. The restaurants along the water are OK for a drink but for good food go to either Restaurant Cal Joan- probably the best food in Tarragona. (sorry no address-you'll find it, a couple blocks in on a corner) or El Raco del Pescador at the very end of c/ Sant Joan- A real local place for mounds of steamed shell fish, whole grilled fish alla planxa, black rice, canitas and bottles of cava. A little spanish is helpful here. On the weekends these places seem to fill up.