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May 21, 2010 02:06 PM

I know Barcelona is not real pintxo territory but

which restaurant in Barcelona serves the best pintxos and Basque food.

Oh and before you ask I REALLY mean pintxos, not Pinotxo! :-)

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  1. For best pintxos: Taktika Berri (also good traditional Basque food in the back dining room). Most fun with good pintxos: Euskal Etxea, especially later in the evening (the food at the back is more rustic). Best for people watching is Sagardi at the c/Argentia branch. You will be amaze by the number of pintxos places in Barcelona and some are big as a barn. Most are forgettable, especially those on the first couple blocks of the Pg de Gracia.

    13 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      Those are the big three that I know of. I was worried about the expense of Taktika Berria. From the sources I have read it seems like a high cost restaurant. Just how expensive is is?

      Thanks again.

      1. re: SmokinActuary

        For pintxos, Taktika Berri is no more expensive than other places. Each pieces is around 1.25E. It is one of the few that do a lot of hot items, especially at night. The main plate at the back restaurant is around 18E. It is not a matter of the big three. You are asking for the best. And it depends on the time one shows up; the more crowded, the better turnover is the food. I know that many of us on this board are always looking for the "best" food. Tapas/pintxos eating is not always about the food; the ambience and who you are eating with are just as important. These places are not a shrine, a destination or anything of such as the origin of tapas and pintxos are to have a few drinks with friends and eat some simple bits. Places such as Comerc24, Santa Maria, Cat181, Taller de Tapas have taken this concept and turn them into more of a small plate complete meal restaurants. To me, they don't have the ambience that I like in a tapas/pintxos place. More authentic are the above mentioned and other places such as Quimet y Quimet, Vasco de Oro, La Vinya, Bar Celta, Bar del Pi, etc. Are you looking for more suggestions? How much time are you spending in Barcelona?

        1. re: PBSF

          In case you haven't seen Miguel's blog, here it is. In particular, pls look for his reviews and pictures of meals at Taktika Berri and Lagunak (circa Oct. 2009).

          The pintxos look good but not stunning, like they probably do in San Sebastian. For a different experience in Barcelona, I'm planning also to go to Quimet y Quimet.

          1. re: Aleta

            Comparing pintxos eating in Barcelona to the Basque is pointless. Same for comparing tapas eating to Seville or Madrid. Pintxos originated in the Spanish Basque and nowhere else comes close in terms of quality, breadth and the shear number of places. That doesn't mean that there aren't any good places to eat them in Barcelona, which did not have a tapas/pintxos culture until ten years ago or so. For me, just go for it. It is cheap, informal and always fun. Write down a few good places and drop by if one happens to be in the vicinity. If I am in Born/Ribera, I would never think of trekking up to Taktika Berri or to Quimet y Quimet. It is just not worth it. Just to reiterate a general comment; good places can get extremely crowded and some do not have any tables nor stools; Quimet y Quimet is a case in point. One night, a dozen soccer players came into Taktika Berri and turned it into a mob scene. Children are certainly welcome but be conscience that there can be a lot of standing and as the evening (or sometimes late lunches) wears on, it is as much drinking as eating.
            The amount of research you've done is amazing. I would have "information overload". You've already taken your trip before you boarded a plane. Will there be any surprises left.

            1. re: PBSF

              No offense PBSF but you sound like my wife. Yes I have done research and I appreciate your advice but I do not need to be lectured on possibly taking my trip before I left.

              I have two months to go before my 4 day visit to Barcelona. I ask questions because I like to have some basis for decision making when I am there. I have not pre-programmed my visit. I am smart enough to know that nothing replaces an actual visit and making judgments myself.

              I live for travel. If I am not traveling I am reading about it. This is how I enjoy myself. If my questions tire you I will post elsewhere.

              1. re: SmokinActuary

                Smokin, if it's any consolation to you, I think the comments were meant for me. And, coincidentally, I thought they reminded me of my husband, lol! Enjoy your trip to Barcelona, it's going to be a long one - 2 months and 4 days!

                1. re: SmokinActuary

                  It wasn't meant as a lecture of any sort. And definitely not meant to insult the intelligence of anyone. Just one person's perspective on tapas/pintxos eating.

                2. re: PBSF

                  <<The amount of research you've done is amazing. I would have "information overload". You've already taken your trip before you boarded a plane. Will there be any surprises left.>>

                  Gadzooks! You've stumbled across my hidden agenda: a cost-free way to turn a 2-week dining tour of Barcelona into a much longer one. I'd love to be able to take my trip before I board the plane! That's like virtual reality travel! And to feast on a meal (eyes only, unfortunately) before entering the restaurant! :-) :-)

                  For all you seasoned veterans of Spanish dining, it may seem pointless to compare but troglobytes (like me) need to remember that it is sans pareil. While we're busy oohing and aahing at pictures of Taktika Berri's pintxos, it's good for us to keep in mind that (as you have already said), "this is not a shrine".

                  As for surprises? There will still be many, many of those. Every street corner will be loaded with cafes, shops, stuff that no one had mentioned and that the Internet didn't cover. No worries, there.

                  1. re: Aleta

                    I am an avid researcher also, mainly to stretch out the meager weeks of actual travel the weeks allow. And of course, all these forums (fora?) exist because of the likes of us!!!

                    1. re: Aleta

                      And if you go to Taktika Berri, go there prime time (after 8pm). That is when much of the hot items come out of the kitchen. And stand near the back of the bar as they get snatch up quickly. The room temperature items are also good. And there is a dessert/pastry cart between the bar and back dining room. One can order them to eat at the bar. And if you manage to corner a bar table or counter space to set things down, one can order any large plates.

                      1. re: Aleta

                        Aleta, your spirit of research amuses me greatly.
                        However I would like to remind you and others - especially those do not know Barcelona - not to trust the restaurant websites as gauge of quality. The website is good for finding info like opening days and hours. But photos of menus only tell you the slickness of marketing and nothing about the quality of the food.
                        Don't forget to come back and tell us your own take, your own experience of Barcelona. Research is huge fun, but nothing beats experience itself.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          Parigi, your pearls of wisdom are duly noted! I agree with you - real experience is the best fun of all. And the information from restaurant websites (as well as websites for restaurants) must be taken with a huge grain of salt. Even the days of operation can be incorrect. For example, the Tapas24 website states in more than one place that the restaurant opens at 8 am. It doesn't. I had my hotel concierge call and she confirmed that they open at 9 am. (I know, I know, you must be feeling sorry for my hotel concierge who has to deal with all the questions from Rudyard Kipling's Little Elephant! Rest assured, I don't email her constantly and I always make sure to show my appreciation.) :-)

                          Pictures of a restaurant help me figure out simple things, like Does it look like a neighborhood that is sketchy at night?, Will there be a terrace or area where we can avoid cigarette smoke?, Will we be walking through a red-light district which my 11 yo might enjoy greatly but I wouldn't? Looking at pictures is my way of observing from afar. For example, if I had been observing more closely the other day, I would have realized that it wasn't such a good idea to ask my child to pick up some take-out at a restaurant with a methadone clinic next to it. Fortunately, my son was too lazy to go alone so we went together, which is when I noticed all the people sitting out on the street, looking a little ... spaced-out. SmokinActuary, magiesmom and I enjoy the research but I'm sure that there's an element of caution embedded in there, amidst our enjoyment.

                          And my days of living in Japan have certainly taught me that looking at the plastic food and colour menus doesn't guarantee that things will taste wonderful. We still need to hear from other travelers and keep our wits about us. Nevertheless, I do prefer cookbooks with pictures and guidebooks with maps. ;-)

                  2. re: PBSF

                    Oh and to clarify what I meant by big three is that these places got the best write-ups in most of the sources that I have read.

              2. I have one additon to PBSF's full list: Bilbao Berria, right outside the Catedral in the old town.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Parigi

                  Has anyone been to Lagunak? It's up in what might be called "the nosebleed section", ie far from the well-pounded pavements of the Born, Barri Gotic and Ribera but not so far for people staying in L'Eixample or near Placa de Espanya. It's a Basque restaurant with a great website and prices are listed for the restaurant menu. The prices seem quite high, 10+Euros for a salad and 32 Euros per kilo for the beef chuleton (in Miguel's blog, he had a 700 gram order at Taktika Berri. A piece that size would have cost him 22 Euros at Lagunak. I guess that's not too much more than what we'd pay for a good steak in the U.S.) No prices are given for the pintxo menu.


                2. Couple of things: I like Taktika Berri a lot. I think the quality is excellent and as a visitor to Spain you will like the food, the ambience, and the whole pintxos process, regardless of whether it's as great as San Sebastian or not. It's also nice to see exactly what you get before you have to commit to it, as opposed to the uncertainty of ordering off the menu. If for some reason you want to try another pintxos place, to me the only place that can rival Taktika Berri is Ondoa Berri, up on Passatge Marimon.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: tjdnewyork

                    Ondoa Beri is also up in the "nosebleed section" ;-) Sounds interesting though.

                    7 more days! More food porn for SmokinActuary:


                    1. re: Aleta

                      You are really thoughtful Aleta! Now I need some private time.

                      1. re: SmokinActuary

                        Nice stuff. Just took a look. By the way, you also asked about Basque food. I think Taktika Berri's restaurant is also pretty great. They tend to get booked up a lot by Basque residents of Barcelona, but it's really worth it to try--and totally different from the pintxos offerings. I remember very well a simple but brilliant dish of scrambled eggs with mushrooms of some type-- revueltos con hongos or something like that. Well-worth checking out, I think.

                        1. re: tjdnewyork

                          Thanks TJD. I have a reservation for Taktika Berri already and I'm really looking forward to it! Yes, I'm going to sit down and enjoy both the pintxos and the main courses.

                          Smokin, should I ask what you are doing with this private time?