Barcelona lunch hour question
I see a lot of restaurants posting their lunch service hours as "1:00 to 4:00" or similar. Does that mean they will seat new guests until 4:00 -- or does it mean they put the chairs on top of the tables and (ever so politely, I'm sure) urge you toward the door at 3:55? What's the latest I can reasonably expect to be seated for lunch in places that don't serve continuously?
If we're going to make lunch our main meal (which seems like the best way to get value for money) on most days there, I'd like to make it as late in the day as possible -- once we sit down and eat a full meal, I think it will be difficult for us to do much more significant sightseeing (and photography, which is our main interest after food) before dark... and collapse for the day.
Also, are lunch reservations as necessary as those for dinner? It's sometimes hard to know in advance exactly where we'll be at any given time during the day -- we could easily spend hours shooting something we thought would only take a few minutes, and blow our planned itinerary completely out of the water.
I'm sure I can e-mail the restaurants I'm interested in, but if the experts here know of any general tendency, it could help me decide whether my plan makes any sense, before sending out all those messages and waiting for replies.
I would not go at 3:55 for lunch. Let me give a couple of reasons:
- I have seen several restaurants starting to refuse diners at 3:30.
- On the more popular restaurants, many items like the menu del dia run out toward the later hours.
However I think your concept of doing just one big main meal per day in order not to interfere with your tourism not very practical for Barcelona.
Barcelona has many excellent tapas bars all over town. If you are in the old town, you can find good tapas within 10 minutes of walk max. Examples in the old town: the excellent Basque tapas abar Euskal Etxea is 30 seconds walk from the Picasso museum. The even better Bilbao Berrie is smack in front of the old Cathedral.
Ditto if you are in the Eixample seeing Gaudi buildings, with good eats at Cerveceria Catalana 5 minute walk away.
If you are afraid of having a big meal and then getting sleepy and not being in shape to tour, then why not make a list of good tapas bars in every neighborhood - which can be easiliy researched on this forum - then have several snacky tapas stops on a given day. This way it gives you a good rest, good food, good energy to continue…
To sacrifice the food of Barcelona for photography is not doing Barcelona justice, as photogenic as the city may be. I am a collector of photography, but for me food is the true art of living.
Ratatouille, Aleta, Parigi:
Thanks for your helpful explanations and suggestions.
Parigi, I totally understand your philosophy, but since we probably will have only one chance to visit Barcelona (unless we win a lottery somewhere), we're forced to combine our two favorite pastimes: photography and eating.
We will probably stick to tapas most days, but I think on the day we visit Sagrada Familia -- which we know will take us at least half a day to cover adequately -- we can be fairly sure we will be in that neighborhood at lunchtime. So as soon as we decide what day that's going to be, we will make lunch reservations there.
We may be able to identify a couple of other sites where the same situation applies.
When they said lunch service hours as 13:00 to 16:00, they refer to the schedule with the kitchen open. Normally they no accept any new order past 16h, but you can still there untill they close (1 hour later more or less). In some sites may bring problems to accept new customers after 15:30.
Reservations at lunch: If the restaurant is known and good, better book.
Ffranny, we share some of your concerns re: coordination of sightseeing and restaurant reservations. Here is a link to Atrapolo, a website in Spanish with info on restaurants including hours of operation, diners' reviews and ONLINE BOOKING. As Ratatouille has noted, if a restaurant gives its closing hour as 4pm, it won't kick you out but the last reservation they may accept will be at 3:30pm. Hopefully this will help you reduce the number of messages you need to send.