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Help! Having Mediocre/Bad meals in Barcelona

Me and my gf are in Barcelona and so far have had a few decent meals plus one horrible meal. But so far we havn´t had that meal that makes us understand why everyone says northern spain has the best food anywhere. The food we have had at one galician place in NY has bested all these places so far. The first meal we had, we got to the hotel and asked for a recommendation, went there but the place was closed and decided to try the place right next door. Besides the patatas bravas, its up there with one of my worst meals. I believe it was called Los Coconchas?

Though I wish we had reservations, and the money, for El Bulli, What are your recommendations for places to eat? We are staying by the Engineering School on Comte de Urgell. We will be around Montjuic and probably las ramblas today. We are looking for mainly reasonably priced places except for maybe one great place thats well worth it. One person at the hotel said his favorite is La fonda del mar by the olympic port.

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  1. One doesn't have to go to El Bulli for good food in Barcelona. Never been to La Fonda Del Mar. Most places on the Olympic port are not known for food. I would search this board for previous post as every types of restaurants in Barcelona have been well covered: from simple pintxos, tapas, inexpensive everyday cooking to high end traditional and modern Catalan. One problem is that many places are closed some part of August. Skip all the places on the Las Ramblas. I would go down to El Born/Ribera and check out what is opened and crowded. Also head to Gracia, Sarria, St. Gervais where most locals eat. There will be a few good places not taking their annual vacation.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      I did check out the boards, problem is almost all the places I find recommended also have an equal amount of dissent. It makes it hard to choose.

      No puede dormir. ¿Por que tu estas despierto?

      1. re: riotburn

        Many places do not generate dissent. I don't remember anybody saying they had mediocre food in Senyor Parellada or at Euskal Etxea. And that's just 2 places off the top of my head.
        There is so much info. Of course there are pros and cons. Hounds who do a minimum of research come away with an unforgettable culinary experience of Barcelona.
        I am sure you have the same discerning and sorting skills as everybody else on this board.
        However, if you do not want to do research and do not want to reserve, it may be better to get used to eating badly.

    2. "so far we havn´t had that meal that makes us understand why everyone says northern spain has the best food anywhere"

      Is Barcelona in Northern Spain? I would have thought that meant San Sebastian and the rest of the North coast across to Galicia that region definitely has a very strong food reputation.

      If you check out the board then simply follow PBSF and Parigi's advice - they know their stuff.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PhilD

        Yes I have done my research and unfortunately it seems that a lot of the recommended places are also closed for August. Most I saw were closed before we tried to go, like Quimet i quimet, but then we went all the way from Montjuic to Cal Pep but it was closed as well.

        Then we made our way to Caelum but the cave is being renovated. We ate upstairs anyway. The dessert I picked out looked really good but had a really peculiar aftertaste. At first I thought I was going to get a curious response for not having a more intricate palate but I am glad I complained. The manager tasted our cake straight from our table and agreed. After much trying to communicate in Spanish, she said pintura, and I knew that taste must have come from the construction.

        So I ask, we have 2 dinners plus a lunch coming up in 5 days, driving up to france, if we wanted to spend no more than 70 euros for 2 ppl, where should we eat.....that isnt on vacation?

      2. There are plenty decent restaurants open in August. I wouldn´t recommend going uptown to Sarria or San Gervasi because they are practically deserted and most places are shut. Nearly all the places in the centre of town are open. In the port area you have Agua, a very nice seafood and rice restaurant with a fantastc location practically on the beach. Alternatively, you can wander into the new marina and try one of the large restuarats like Moncho´s. They are very touristy but have a beach location, lots of seafood and serve decent food. They´re certainy not El Bulli but then August is August I´m afraid. In the old marina you have the Merindero de la Mari. Lovely outside terrace , very decent seafood and rice (pricey, but they location is fab). In the Born area you have Casa Delfin ( on the Paseo del Borne) it´s not expensive and the food is very good. You also have Sagardi on the C/ Argenteria, a firm favourite of mine if you feel like meat. The list is endless really. I think you can eat pretty well!!

        1. ate at cerveceria catalan tonight, the food was pretty good but the service was terrible. Ill check out those you recommended bettybop

          1 Reply
          1. re: riotburn

            Good luck! I´m afraid that mid- August is not a time for great service here. If you do come across fantastic service count your blessings...Most waiting staff will be extremely tired and hot by now and the work is very relentless!! The service staff are not as highly paid here as in the States and the service/ tipping culture is very different so you´re asking to trouble if you expect the same. Try and relax and enjoy!!

          2. I recommend (good food / medium price):
            -Ca la Nuri, near the Hospital del Mar (paellas and see food)
            -Ipartxoko, in Gràcia (basque country meals)
            -Euskaletxea, in Born (basque country meals)
            -Xemei, in Poble sec ( for me, the best italian restaurant in town)
            -Senyor Parellada, in Born ( catalan cuisine)
            -Shunka, in Gòtic (Japanesse cuisine)
            -La Coronela, in Gòtic ( mexican)

            Enjoy BCN and don't eat more patatas bravas in touristic restaurants