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Cinc Sentits on a budget?

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We want to make sure to experience molecular gastronomy while we're in Barcelona in May, and we've been perusing all of the extremely useful posts on Cinc Sentits, Alkimia, Comerc24, etc. It took us a long time to choose out of those three, but with Chowhound's help we've decided to go to Cinc Sentits. I wish we could go to all three, but our wallets won't allow it. We are now debating between the eight course Sensacions tasting menu (with 'signature' dishes) for €69 or the six course Essencia tasting menu for €49. I would really appreciate any guidance. The dollar/euro exchange rate means that we're really looking at something like $100pp versus $75pp, and that's just for food. This is a significant expenditure for budget foodies like ourselves. So here are my questions:

1. How significant is the difference between these menus? We have smaller than average appetites, so I'm not worried about not being full with the six course version. I'm more concerned about missing out on the true molecular food experience since I guess this menu doesn't include the 'signature' dishes, whatever that means.

2. How important is the wine pairing to the experience? The Sensacions menu comes with a standard wine pairing at an extra €30pp, or an even more expensive wine pairing at €50pp. We would like to do the wine pairing in theory, but could live without it in order to save that extra 100 bucks or so. The Essencia menu doesn't come with a wine pairing. If we don't do a wine pairing, we'll probably get a reasonably priced glass of wine each and be perfectly happy.

3. They also have a lunch menu for €30. I assume one will not get a sufficient impression of Cinc Sentits from this menu, but on the other hand it's a lot less expensive. Any thoughts about lunch there?

Thanks so much for your help...these boards are invaluable.

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  1. I've only had the eight course menu, and with a bottle of wine as opposed to pairings, but what I am more concerned about for you is that Cinq Sentits' cooking style is not what is normally considered "molecular", it is just modern or updated Catalan. Alkimia is a bit more cutting edge, but even that is not what I consider molecular.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      This is very helpful. What would you consider a 'molecular' meal in Barcelona? Needless to say, we would have loved to go to El Bulli but it's closed when we'll be in Spain and I'm sure we wouldn't have been able to get a reservation anyway. I think Comerc24 might be considered more 'molecular' but I ultimately rejected it because my impression is that it can be kind of hit or miss, and we want to make sure that our 'splurge' meal in Barcelona is guaranteed to be worth it. We likewise rejected Alkimia in the end (although it was our second choice) because I got the impression that Cinc Sentits is slightly more consistent. We are adventurous eaters, but quality still trumps experimentalism for us. But we could easily be persuaded to change our minds if you think Alkimia (or some other restaurant) is a better choice. What would you recommend?

      1. re: hungrymungry

        We loved both Cinq Sentits and Alkimia, but the food at Alkimia was more interesting. Had molecular at Can Roca in Girona (was not so impressed) and at Akelare in San Sebastian (spectacular). The other places we went to in Barcelona were traditional, so no real molecular experiences there. I certainly don't think you would be disappointed with either Cinq Sentits or Alkimia, By the way, though we had the eight course at CS, we had a six course at Alkimia and it was just as much food, and a bit less expensive.

        1. re: rrems

          Good to know. Now I think we're leaning back towards Alkimia. Thanks again for your advice. I noticed on Alkimia's website that they also offer two tasting menus. I assume you had the 'traditional menu' since it's shorter than 'menu Alkimia.' Traditional would seem to imply that it's less experimental. I wonder if the longer tasting menu's offerings are more molecular.

          1. re: hungrymungry

            How was your trip? Would love to hear a report.

    2. My wife and I will be in Barcelona in about a week or so and we were thinking about eating at Cinc Sentits.

      Would someone be so kind as to answer some of the questions that the original OP asked? I have a lot of the same questions. We would love to go to Cinc but are on a budget and the less we spend the better but we really want to experience some great food as well.

      My main questions were:

      1. How significant is the difference between the sensacions tasting and the essensia tasting? I'm more concerned about missing out on the food experience. Worth it to spend the extra 20E?

      2. Is the lunch option a good way to go? Is it still 30E as original OP stated?

      3. Would they allow one of us to do the Essencia and the other the Sensacions?

      3 Replies
      1. re: TNT Adventures

        Their website does not list current prices, and they don't specify the dishes in the six-course, but say that it is simpler food. Unless someone who has had a lot of experience with it replies, the best way to get more information is to email or call them. The owners are Canadian and speak perfect english. Actually, since you will be going so soon, I would not waste any time, and call now as they do get booked up.

        1. re: TNT Adventures

          We are going for dinner tomorrow -and have chosen the Essencia menu. So, although I won't be able to comment on any comparison to the other menu, I will be able to let you know how the one we chose turned out.

          And, interestingly also, my companion doesn't eat shellfish or meat so they have been quite fine with aadjusting for this restriction. Which means I'll get to see two variations on the dinner.

          Will report.

          1. re: Nyleve

            rrems - Thank you for the recommendation to email them. I actually did email them and they were able to provide most of the information I was looking for.

            Nyleve - We actually secured our reservations for lunch on Wednesday. No dinner bookings available until July 28th. Great to know about them accommodating your husband. I am not a seafood eater. Have an awesome time. Let me know how your experience was?