Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Seville Trip
I've read a lot of the posts on this board as well as many others boards/guides and I've come up with a "list" and wanted your opinion. We are in our 30s and this is our first time to Spain and we really want to experience the food. I love jamon iberico and I love eggs.
For Barcelona - 3 days of eating
Lunch - Restaurant San Joan per Barcelonian's rec
casa milo, sagrada familia, parc guell
Snack - jamonisimo
Palau de la Música Catalana, 18:00
Dinner - paco meralgo, corner corsega and muntaner, Carrer Mutaner, 171 or Cerveseria catalana? which do you recommend?
Lunch - Boqueria - friend recommended el quim for the squid omelette?, maybe pinoxto for the ham and cheese sandwich, or maybe cal pep depending on the line
majestic fountain, casa batllo
Snack - Cacao Sampaka
Dinner - senyor parellada (never closes) dinner, argenteria 37
Is Senyor parellada similar to paco meralgo or cerveseria
Lunch - Cinc Sentits - I think - alkimia? difficult to decide! but definitely want to try the creative molecular style cuisine. i know there have been similar posts.
Activites - visit or revisit any sites we missed or like
Dinner - Bar Inopia?
Also thinking about la rita, tapac24, cal pep, pinoxto, la reina del raval
Sunday dinner - Casa Lucio? but this is the evening we land so i'm not sure we'll be awake enough to appreciate it.
Mon Dinner - after day trip from Toledo, thinking about el bocaito - rec from mtv spain guidebook? any opinions?
Tues Dinner - Botin - thought we'd try the suckling pig?
2 dinners from these three?: bar yebra or la isla at el arfe 25 (near cathedral), el rinconcello?
Any comments or insight would be super appreciated.
Hi there Alice! FI'm planning a similar trip in the summer.
From browsing the boards, it seems like there is a big favoring of Paco Meralgo on CH over any of the other places open on Sundays.
From what I've read, the magic fountain only does the "show" Thursdays through Sundays in the evening. Proximity wise, Quimet y Quimet and Inopia are much closer to Montjuic/Magic Fountain (two places I didn't see on your list but get a fair amount of buzz).
Since Barcelona, Madrid and Seville are three of the most lively cities in Spain, I would reserve one evening for tapas crawl rather than pick a specific place to spend an entire evening. For each city, choose an area that has a cluster of places: El Born/Ribera or the Eixample in Barcelona; Latina, Cheuca or Huertas in Madrid; Arenal, Triana or Pl. Alfalfa in Seville.
Barcelona: Senyor Parellada is a large bustling traditional restaurant with decent food and moderate prices. If I have only three days, I would skip it unless it is a budget consideration. Paca Meralgo and Cerveseria Catalana are both tapas places with Paca Meralgo having better food. Cerveseria Catalana is a barn-like bustling partying sort of a place serving just about every tapas and racions imaginable. Great for people watching.
Bar Inopia is good but not worth a special trip. Tapac24 is more traditional and simpler version of Comerc24 but I am not too keen on the cramp basement space. Cal Pep is good but overpriced and long lines. Bar Pinotxo, as many of the places in the Boqueria, is good for a late breakfast or lunch. Good chickpea stew, tortillas, clams.
Madrid: Casa Lucio has good traditional food, especially egg dishes, but I find it rather expensive though I have not eaten there is more than three years.
Bocaito is a great tapas place in Cheuca but the two storefront bars are small and gets very crowded unless one wants to eat in the back dining room. No need to comment on Botin but for meat, I would choose an asador such as as Asador Ansorene. Or I would splurge and choose a great seafood places such as Combarro or Trainera.
For specific places in Seville: Enrique Becerra for great tapas as well as excellent traditional sit down, Bar Europa, Becerrita, Eslava, Bar Las Teresas (one of very few good place in Barrio Santa Cruz), Sol y Sombra and Poncio in Triana.
Granada: there is a cluster of good tapas places in and near calle Navas: Los Diamates, Julio, Antiqua Bodega Castandeo, Fogon de Galicia.
I second PBSF - part of the attraction of Barcelona is just wandering around and nibbling stuff through the day and evening - snack here, a drink there - and soaking up the life. Don't plan too much, see what life brings and what area you end up in.
Once you get out of the main tourist attraction areas, for example well up into Gracia, lots of casual restaurants appear and it's easy to pick one and pass a few hours eating and drinking with the locals.
To the best of my knowledge, San Joan only opens weekdays and you do need to be able to read menu spanish.
My GF and I just returned on Tuesday from 7 days in Barcelona and Madrid. My first time back since I lived there as a kid (25+ years). Of the locations mentioned on your list that we visited....
We had a great dinner at Cal Pep. We lucked out and happened to be walking by at 9 p.m. looking for a different restaurant and spied two open seats at the counter. Within about 5 minutes of our arrival, there was a line two deep behind us. We just told them to feed us, and for the next two hours they just kept laying out dish after dish. The tuna tartare (or whatever they call it) was sublime.
Bar Pinoxto was terrific for breakfast. Fresh warm "chu chus" (spelling?) followed by a delicious omelette sandwich (you did mention you like eggs). Juan (if I remember his name correctly) was a hoot. (Dulcinea in the Barri Gotic was also good for a sweet as opposed to savory breakfast.)
Skip Botin. Against my better instinct, we ate there Monday night. My roast suckling pig was unremarkable, and my GF's filet mignon neither looked like a filet mignon nor was cooked properly. I did like the black sausage appetizer though.
Also, I note you are planning to go to Toledo on a Monday -- some of the sites are I think closed on Monday (El Greco House, Sinagoga del Transito for example).
Bar Yebra is a great choice for dinner in Sevilla. Ask for Oscar and let him do the rest... Becerrita and Eslava were both very very good, and I remember another place right around the corner from Eslava called Bar Alcoy (sp?) that you could also hop to. Also good were La Cava de Europa(tapas) and Bodega Santa Cruz(trad. tapas w scene).
I liked Botin for the experience of eating in the oldest restaurant in the world. The food is pretty good but not great, we got both the Cochinillo and the Baby Lamb. Plus eating in that cellar is pretty damn cool.
We just got back last night. Here is a short post of what we ate.
Lateral - close to our hotel and open on a Sunday evening. it was ok, everything was a little salty. the jamon iberico was kinda tough
El Cenador del Prado - good squid ink rice
El Rinconcello: good salmorejo, tallerines, gambas
La Alqueria at Hacienda Benazuza - 30 min from Seville by taxi - I really wanted to love this place as they serve dishes that El bulli has served in the past. At 110 Eur a person not including beverages plus the 70 Eur round trip taxi from Seville, I found it to be really unremarkable. The things we ate were inventive, but did not taste good together and at that price I was expecting a lot more. For examples - crab meat with a chocolate horchata like soup; razor clams with lemon foam on top; thinly sliced iberico jamon wrapped over a crunchy bread; rabbit in a sweet sauce - pretty good; the olives with the burst of olive oil? were probably my favorite thing. the dessert was one of the most inventive desserts we've ever had. it looked like a block of ice, but it was some crazy dry ice or foamy thing and they sprinkled dehydrated yogurt on top and you had to eat it very fast. it tasted kinda like air. it was really cool.
Oliver Dinner: good tapas, gambas, salmorejo
Los Italianos: best horchata - so light and refreshing and not that sweet. made from chufa root.
Parador cafeteria for lunch: we went here out of convenience since its pretty much in the Alhambra. the food was not that great, fried calamari, gambas in oil, and tuna fish sandwich. however the sangria was wonderful - tasted like juice!
Taberna del Baco: fried eggplant with honey - I also really wanted to love this but it was really kind of bland. salad was good, tasted like fresh veggies. cream of meat with mushrooms tapas, it was alright too.
Barca: overall, we loved the food in Barca. We thought it was the best food in Europe of all the places we have visited (Paris, London, Amsterdam, a bunch of Italian cities). For 3 days we ate A LOT!
Paco Meralgo - great tapas and great setting. perfect for a sunday evening when a lot of restaurants are closed. the chefs were so friendly cooking in the back. we enjoyed all we ate, but for some reason right now I cannot remember.
Cerverseria Catalana - thank goodness it was open on Sunday and during siesta. We were starving and had a great snack. the chef was super fun too. nice octopus on top of potatoes. a really good lightly grilled mushroom salad with some jamon, and the third dish was hmmm. i am blanking at the moment
Boqueria - unfortunately both Pinoxto, Quim were closed by the time we got there at 4pm. We did however, have some of the most excellent jamon iberico and great manchego cheese as well as a few slices of serrano. for 100 g? each, and a nice slice of cheese it was about 30 Eur. Some nice fruit and juices as well.
Senyor Parellada - we had the senyor parellada rice which was really tasty - like paella with a lot of seafood. we also had the duck with figs (the duck was a little over cooked, and the figs were excellent but the dish overall was really sweet) and a cod with some clams. the cod was very tender and the clams were so so. For dessert, we accidentally ordered a frozen horchata type ice cream thing with a side of creme brulee type custard and chocolate fudge on top. It was really refreshing. We also noticed that two other tables ordered it as well. Also had a cheese plate that wasn't too memorable.
Cinc Sentits - We had the tasting menu at lunch and it took about 2.5 to 3 hrs. It was excellent. We loved the foie gras on top of the thin flaky pastry. The wine pairing was excellent as well, it complemented every dish perfectly. The suckling pig soue vide? for 24 hours and then seared was so succulent and delicious. the maple syrup shot with the salt on the bottom, I thought i would dislike, especially after the experience at La Alqueria, but it was wonderful as well. Overall a great tasting menu at 65 Eur a piece. The wine pairing was 30 Eur.
Cal Pep - we happened upon this place after walking around after Senyor Paradella so we decided to revisit on the last evening since we were in the area shopping. It was a great last meal. We had the most delicious large gambas (shrimp) grilled with sea salt. then the torta espagnol was my favorite thing - just delicious. we also had hake, which I saw on every menu, but didn't know what it was and it was a nice white fish, kind of a cross between cod and sea bass. We also had really a lightly fried seafood platter with shrimp, calamari, fishes and that was the most excellent fried food i've had. I'm not a big fan of fried foods and this was so light and airy and crispy and the batter was not too strong at all. We also had tallerines, which when Pep walked by and saw me eating with a fork, he was like no no no, you pick it up with your hands and eat it directly with your mouth. It was quite amusing.
Thank you all for all the recs. Overall thoughts: In Madrid, Sevilla and Granada, it was more about proximity to where we were vs. venturing out to find some of the restaurants. For instance, we couldn't find some of the restaurants listed and we were soo tired and hungry, we just tried to eat at wherever it was kind of convenient. However in Barcelona, everything was really easy to find and I'm really happy we planned ahead since there were quite a few restaurants closed on Sunday and Monday's. I really recommend having your hotel make reservations for you in Barcelona. We didn't have to wait at all, except for at Cal Pep, which doesn't take reservations.
Thank you all! =)