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Barcelona - five nights & food balls ?

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Hi all

Am staying at Casa Camper ( calle elisabeth no11 ) for my first stay in Barca - five nights in September - a Sunday to Thursday trip.

Would appreciate some help with the following questions, in my quest for chow perfection !

1. Has anyone had the food balls which I believe from some posts they sell next door to our hotel ? Any good ? Worth it just for the experience or avoid ?

2. Is Nou Celler as good as posts here suggest ? - any need to book or just turn up ?

3.. Are there any great places to eat near to our hotel ? happy to walk 20 - 30 minutes if other areas have more to offer

4. How should I split my five nights so as to sample best of what the city has to offer ?

Ideally I would like to try a real mix of places as it is our first time in Barca - with the usual caveat of wanting to avoid touristy places unless they are 'do not miss' spots.. So recs for

- Best moderately priced place
- Best place for beer , tapas and friendly vibe
- Best authentic Catalan food
- Best places for squid
- Best places for pig cheeks
- Best non Spanish place - just to mix it up a little ! - my partner is a big fan of Italian food
- Best neighbourhood for just wandering and picking somewhere at random
- Best place which has great food and is not a rip off despite having a great view !
- 'Do not miss' place for our last night ( up to 100 euro on food, say ? )
- Any no smoking places - just to wind my girlfriend up ?!

5. Anyone have a decent link to a Spanish/catalan/english foodie translator

Please bear in mind....

The woeful state of the UK pound versus the Euro - so nowhere mind numbingly expensve please !

Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. I was there last year with my sister and our favorite meal was at Paco Meralgo.
    www.pacomeralgo.com/

    1. Places to eat have been covered extensively on this board. Search and you will find tons of recommendations, from tapas/pinxtos to high-end restaurants. I think Casa Camper is in El Ravel, a centrally located area, a short walk from just about every recommendations on this board. Be a little more specific on your budget. Your one 'blow out' meal budget of 100E for food (assume for two) will almost be enough for most of the 'high-end' places in Barcelona. Might have to stretch it to 120E. Barcelona has a "no smoking" ordinances though not every place observes it. Most tapas and pintxos place have some sort of "vibe" to attract a certain crowd; good or bad will depends on the individual. As for Spanish/Catalan/English food translator, I believe there was an earlier post on this. Try typing in "spanish/english menu" on this board and it might come up. Below are couple of links to get started.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/592834
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/625432
      Just about any good restaurants will have a good preparations of squid (stewed, sauteed, a la plancha). Try one of the places inside the Boqueria for lunch if you don't mind counter seating. Most tapas places will have numerous variations on pork; cheek is a bit specialized, sometimes at Pacomeralgo or Cerveria Catalan. I had it at Sauc and Olive, both favorites, but their menus change constantly. There is no one 'best' or 'can't miss'; it depends on the individual and a little bit of luck. As for Italian restaurant, I would skip it. Asian fusion is probably easier to find. But with 5 days, stick with Catalan food: do a high-end molecular restaurant, a traditional one, a pintxo place if you are not going to the Basque, a tapas place, also a seafood restaurant since Spain has some of the best seafood..

      3 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Hi. Thanks for your help so far.

        Budget probably 30-50 euros each night on food - for two people - though I am pretty flexible and happy to spend a bit more if that will greatly enhance the meal ( or less if the quality of food and atmosphere are still good.)

        The 100 euro was for two and I looked at one place - Alkimia where cheapest menu looked like 58- 60 euro each.

        I really like the idea of the categories you suggested and would like to see various neighbourhoods at night, also.

        If you had to go for one or two places from each of your categories where would it be, and in what order ( Sunday to Thursday) would you go for ?

        Finally do you know if anywhere is likely serve totani, and where is good for for soft shelled crab ?

        Thanks again

        1. re: willowan

          I just edited my post for couple of mistakes. I've posted some of my favorites in one of the two links in my original reply. It has a list of my favorites; tapas/pintxos and all the moderate places will be within your budget. Just be aware of some of my favorite places are not much on atmosphere or anywhere on top of the 'chic' or 'to be seen scale' but they are mostly traditional simple honest food places. I don't have any particular order for the days of the week. Sunday night can be a problem because of closing but Pacomeralgo or Cerveria Catalan can solve that. Places get crowned on weekends, especially tapas and pintxos which might can be stand up only.I don't remember ever seeing soft-shelled crab on any menus and I believe they are seasonal when the crab molts (late spring?). My advice is not to look for one particular thing but go to places that appeal to you and I guarantee that you will find good things to eat. I would take a little time and search the board as most of the recommendations are quite good.

          1. re: PBSF

            Just wanted to say thanks for your help. Ended up eating at

            - Pla - very good quality but service mixed, I thought ( initially we were sat very much out of the way upstairs and had to ask to move even though it was not full )

            -PacoMeralgo - probably my favourite place in terms of atmosphere & overall food & wine experience
            - La Paradeta - great value seafood and a brilliant concept

            - El Xampanet - Quimet y Quimet - both great experiences

            I doubt I would have tracked some of these down with advice received here, so thanks again