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Mar 20, 2010 12:09 PM

Lots of Alcohol + Silent Auction = Trip to Spain!

My husband, daughter (22 years old) and I are coming to Spain in late May after bidding on, and winning a stay in Madrid. We are starting the Spain segment in Barcelona, followed by Sevilla and Madrid. I've done my research only on Barcelona so far, so please help me with narrow down our choices. We're arriving by train on a Sunday night. We are staying at the Barcelona Catedral Hotel and will check in only around 9:00 pm. We are checking out early Wed. morning, so that gives us two breakfasts, two lunches and 3 dinners. Here's what I've got so far:

Sunday Dinner: El Vaso de Oro, or Paco Meralgo or Cuines Santa Caterina - all open Sunday night

Breakfast: Boqueria (Bar Pinotxo or Universal)?
Lunch: Paco Meralgo or Cal Pep
Dinner: Tapac 24

Breakfast: On the go
Lunch: Cinc Sentits or Comerc 24 or Inopia
Dinner: Tapas Crawl (please help me choose the best area)

Unfortunately, Cinc, Comerc and Inopia are all only open on the Tuesday we'll be there, so I really have to choose only one of them. None are open on Monday. Is Paco Meralgo too far to travel for lunch on Monday if we are going to be in the Barri Gotic area? We wanted to have some seafood paella on the trip but I haven't seen any glowing reports. Will there be an opportunity in Madrid?

We don't want to break the bank but in general we are open to spending a little more for one or two meals. We are just looking for fun experiences with great food. We are adventurous eaters but also really enjoy simple foods. Thank you for your recommendations!

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  1. Between Cinc Sentits, Comerc24 or Inopia, I would pick either Cinc Sentits or Comerc24 because you are doing mostly traditional tapas/pintxos on your trip. They are both modern/molecular Catalan and more in the style of fine dining. To choose between the two, I would search this board as they've been discussed widely on earlier posts including a few that compare the them. For Tuesday evening of tapas/pintxos, I would go to El Born or better yet, save that for Madrid and go to Inopia. Or do tapas crawl on Monday night and skip Tapac24. PacoMeralgo will be a long walk from the Barri Gotic. It is not conveniently located in any tourist area unless you are staying in nearby hotel in the Eixample. Even a little further is Inopia which makes it inconvenient for lunch unless you taxi or metro.
    You will find better paella as well as other rices dish in Barcelona. The reason it is hard to find stellar paella is that it is a difficult dish for a restaurant to do unless that is the only thing that they serve. No such restaurant exists in either city.

    5 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      El Ventorrillo Murciano in Madrid only does paella and rice. It's good option if you are looking for the traditional dish (which very well may bear no resemblance to other paellas you have had). It's within walking distance of the Prado and Reina Sofia, but tiny, so you need to have a reservation.

      1. re: butterfly

        Thanks for the info on El Ventorrillo Murciano. Will definitely give it a try on my stop in Madrid later in the year.

        1. re: PBSF

          Unfortunately, Inopia is also not open on Mondays, so we would have to do Cinc Sentits and Inopia on the same day. Too much?
          We would take a cab to Paco Meralgo. We could do that Monday night or would it be more fun to go to Tapac 24 or to El Born area? What about Cherif? Is it good? Is it worth replacing one of our dinner/lunches for it? And finally, when you look at my itinerary, is there any place you think about and say too bad she didn't choose this place? If you had to recommend one place what would it be? Thanks for your help PBSF - I'm not sure how you do this all from S.F., but it's a great service you're providing!

          1. re: tlubow

            Actually I am in Barcelona for couple of days before going on to Venice for a long stay. The places on your list are all good. It really depends what you are looking for how to fit them into your schedule. My suggestion is not to dart from one place to another. If sightseeing is important, I would make lunch informal and eat a few tapas/pintxos at places near where you are visiting. Make evening your main meal where you can relax. Barcelona is a large bustling city and strolling in the center can be taxing. Nobody can take it all in during two or three days. Cinc Sentits and Inopia are not too much for one day because Inopia is essentially a tapas bar that one can eat as much or as little as one wishes. I like Cherif very much; decent seafood at moderate price but it is in Barcelonetta. I don't think it is a must. If I have two lunches and three dinner with a decent budget and it is my first visit I would:
            Sunday night: Paco Meralgo; larger variety of tapas and more comfortable than El Vasco del Oro; Cuines Santa Caterina is walking distant to your hotel and can be lots of fun but the food can't match Paco Meralgo.
            Monday late breakfast or early lunch at the Boqueria; the eating kioske are not for light breakfast of coffee and pastry but much more substantial; I can't imagine eating two more meals after breakfast there. I would choose the Boqueria because the whole market is a must visit.
            Monday lunch if needed: eat a few pintxos at Taktika Berri or if still in the Barri Gotic, walk down to El Born and explore the neighborhood and eat a few tapas/pintxos at Sagardi, Euskal Etxea, El Bitxo or sit outside with a glass of wine and simple tapas at La Vinya del Senyor.
            Monday night: Alkimia for modern Catalan because it is more creative and exciting than Cinc Sentits and less chancy than Comerc24. Also Sauc, my favorite modern Catalan restaurant in Barcelona is closed on Mondays. Cinc Sentits and Comerc24 are no slouches however.
            Tuesday lunch: Fonda Gaig; excellent traditional Catalan cooking (more and more difficult to find in Barcelona) at an affordable price. Lively, comfortable and the service is always special. I choose lunch because Inopia is does not serve lunch.
            Tuesday Dinner: Inopia
            I would save the tapa/pintxo crawl for Madrid.

            1. re: PBSF

              PBSF, you sold me on Paco Meralgo for Sunday night and on Fonda Gaig and Inopia for Tuesday lunch and dinner, respectively. I'm not sure about Alkimia though for Monday night. Do they have an a la carte menu or just prix fixe? The restaurant looks a little more formal than what we're looking for. I think we may want to be a little more relaxed. Am I wrong about this? Is the pricing on about the same level as Fonda Gaig? Too bad Cinc Sentits, Comerc24 and Sauc are all closed on Monday night...What's the atmosphere and pricing like at Cherif? I haven't been able to pull too much information up about it. Thanks again...