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Barcelona Cunlinary tours

j
Jninda Oct 1, 2010 04:55 PM

Can anyone tell me if the culiinary tours such as the walking Tapas tours are worth it? Can you suggest a particular one? Headed to Barcelona at the end of Oct 2010.

  1. sunshine842 Oct 3, 2010 11:51 PM

    don't count out just wandering into the Mercado just off of Las Ramblas...go up and down the aisle, buying and eating a little bit of everything that looks interesting. Awesome.

    A buddy and I did that a few years ago -- we were overstuffed, but boy, were we happy.

    1. PBSF Oct 2, 2010 11:51 PM

      In general, I share the same opinion that it is not worth spending extra money for a tapas/pintxos tour if the only reason is that you not familiar with the scene. Barcelona is an easy city to navigate. There are neighborhoods that tapas/pintxos places are clustered together: the central neighborhoods of El Born, Barri Gotic, El Raval, the Eixample (though this is a large area with places more spread apart) where one will find most of the visitors; further into more locals are the St. Gervais, Sarria and Gracia. Avoid the places on the Ramblas, c/Ferran, Placa Real, Pg de Gracia as they are mostly for visitors who are not picky about the food. Barcelona is also very international, therefore, not speaking Catalan or Castellano is usually not an issue. The only reason for a guide might be good is for background/historical material if that is what you are interested in. I am not familiar with tapas tours, therefore, I don't have any recommendations. Below is a link to an earlier post on tapas/pintxos eating in Barcelona:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7100...
      Barcelona is a great and fun city to stroll, to eat and to just soak in the scene.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF
        j
        Jninda Oct 3, 2010 11:15 AM

        Thank you! Your posts are so informative and make me more excited about my upcoming trip. I do hope I can one day return the favor for you!

      2. a
        Aleta Oct 2, 2010 07:26 AM

        IMHO, I don't think it's worth it, especially in Barcelona. You can easily go to a few yourself, even if you don't speak Spanish or Catalan. People are friendly, some locals speak English and there might be an English list or two floating around. Just familiarize yourself with the names of the items you might be ordering, so that you don't feel so much like a fish out of water. I took my 11yo son there this summer. Thanks to the advice of regulars here on Chowhound and to a little bit of research on my own, we had a blast!

        Some tips on tapas:
        http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.co...

        BTW, the first tapas bar featured on the article above is Quimet i Quimet, which technically serves montaditos (bits of food heaped on bread). The owner is very charming and helpful. You can tell him what you like (ie seafood, cheese, pate, veg) and he'll create something for you. Or, you can point to someone else's dish and order the same.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Aleta
          j
          Jninda Oct 2, 2010 05:23 PM

          Thanks Aleta! I have so enjoyed reading your posts along withose of PBSJ and Parigi. Any other tips you have time for, I'll gladly accept! We are staying four days in the Ramblas area in an apartment and then taking a cruise.

          1. re: Jninda
            a
            Aleta Oct 3, 2010 01:13 PM

            Hi Jninda, you are most welcome. I enjoy reading the posts and learn a lot about Barcelona from PBSF, Parigi and others too. If you have only 4 days, it would be wise to combine your sightseeing with your dining. For example,

            BARCELONA CATEDRAL -- Bilbao Berri for Basque pintxos
            BARRI GOTIC near Picasso Museum -- Euskal Etxea for Basque food and/or pintxos
            LAS RAMBLAS -- visit and eat at the Mercado de San Josep aka La Boqueria (Bar Pinotxo, El Quim, Kiosko Universal)
            still on LAS RAMBLAS -- visit the beautiful Escriba bakery in a historic Modernista bldg
            CASA BATLLO & CASA MILA -- these are Gaudi's masterpieces along Passeig de Gracia; as PBSF has already hinted, the restaurants along here are for non-discriminating visitors. Cerveceria Catalana might be your best bet for tapas around here. Or, for designer tapas, you might go to Tapas24. I haven't been there myself; maybe next year.
            LA SAGRADA FAMILIA -- sorry, no suggestion for tapas here. I prefer to eat at Alkimia if I am visiting La SF.
            BARCELONETA BEACH -- El Vaso de Oro, Bar Jai-ca

            Everyone has their favourites. Maybe other Chowhounds will contribute to your list, or if you name a few more places you are planning to visit, we can brainstorm.

            BTW, I have been told by Catalans that tapas are not really a Barcelona specialty. There's more of a tapas scene in Seville or Madrid. But that doesn't stop me from liking them! ;-) I hope you get to try some Catalan food as well (see La Boqueria and the "bars" listed above).

            1. re: Aleta
              j
              Jninda Oct 3, 2010 10:24 PM

              Aleta,
              Now that's what I call helpful! You just saved me hours of planning! One more question: did you try seafood and can you recommend good seafood restaurants in Barcelona? Not sure I want to try squid and octopus or eel. So maybe more mainstream seafood is what we would look for. We won't be having Tapas every meal and I would love to try Catalan dishes as well.

              1. re: Jninda
                a
                Aleta Oct 4, 2010 08:27 AM

                Jninda, well thanks for letting me help you plan! I love planning trips, especially if there's some good eats involved.

                <<Not sure I want to try squid and octopus or eel. So maybe more mainstream seafood is what we would look for. We won't be having Tapas every meal and I would love to try Catalan dishes as well.>>

                Finding seafood in Barcelona is NOT a problem; it's avoiding seafood that is. Seafood - and other proteins - are on almost every menu. We didn't go to any specialty seafood restaurants because 1) we get a lot of it at home and 2) good fish dishes are available in most sit-down restaurants. One of my favourite meals was at Taktika Berri (although you could probably get something very similar at one of the Basque places more centrally located in Barri Gotic, like SAGARDI or Euskal Etxea). For appetizers, we chose some pintxos (ie Basque tapas) from the bar and also the txangurro (spider crab). This was followed by some hot egg dishes (including Revuelto de Setas -omelette with local version of porcini mushrooms). I then had the grilled hake fish with garlic chips and dear son had the steak. Delicious. So, in one meal, you could try out some seafood and also have more mainstream protein dishes. Here's the link to the Sagardi website.

                http://sagardi.com/?idioma=eng#restau...

                There are a few seafood specialty restaurants that have been discussed on CH including La Paradeta and Rias de Galicia. We haven't tried them (maybe next year too). Hopefully someone will chime in to share their experience.

                The "bars" at La Boqueria (the food market aka Mercado de San Josep) on Las Ramblas usually offer a few delicious seafood-based items too.

                1. re: Aleta
                  j
                  Jninda Oct 4, 2010 11:58 PM

                  Aleta,

                  Thanks so much... AGAIN! How did you get a table at Taktika Berri? Everything I've read says you must reserve weeks in advance. Did you call ahead? I can't seem to find a website for them.

                  1. re: Jninda
                    a
                    Aleta Oct 5, 2010 05:09 AM

                    Jninda, email your hotel and hopefully they will call for you. Or you can call yourself. This summer, Taktika Berri still had separate dining rooms for smoking and non-smoking. If you have a preference, make sure to indicate that. Of course, things may have changed by now and perhaps public places are finally becoming non-smoking.
                    If you have only 4 days however, it might be more convenient to eat at Sagardi or Euskal Etxea. Closer to sightseeing etc. unless your hotel is actually up in L'Eixample.

                2. re: Jninda
                  s
                  sf_duke Oct 4, 2010 07:27 PM

                  For seafood, tried both Rias de Galicia and Botafumeiro. Botafumiero by far was the best between the two. Excellent service. A bit pricey, but that is BCN for you. My favorite tapas place near Plaza de Catalunya was La Tramoia. At the market, tried both Bar Pinotxo and Bar Boqueria. Bar Boqueria was the best between the two for both service, atmosphere, and food. Enjoy!

                3. re: Aleta
                  s
                  sockster Oct 4, 2010 07:14 AM

                  A question for you Aleta: In your opinion, what's the best place to eat at in the marina near the Hotel Arts? Can't wait to get to BCN this weekend!! Anything special going on in town this weekend? Thanks

                  1. re: sockster
                    a
                    Aleta Oct 4, 2010 08:41 AM

                    Sorry to disappoint you but you're probably closer to BCN than I am. We only visited this summer.

                    A friend ate at Agua last week and enjoyed it. I like Kaiku for arroz and fried sea urchin. That's all I can say about the marina; we spent very little time there. Have fun and tell us what you discovered on your trip.

                    1. re: Aleta
                      s
                      sockster Oct 4, 2010 09:34 AM

                      Hopefully my friend wil have his usual slew of new restaurants for us as usual. The only thing we've booked so far is Gelonch for Sat night and Las Fernandes for late night Sunday...still trying to get into El Bulli for lunch next Monday (fat chance)!! Will keep posting and let you know...

                      1. re: sockster
                        a
                        Aleta Oct 4, 2010 12:17 PM

                        Sockster, for the record, I think your question and subsequent comment had absolutely ZIP to do with the original poster's questions and discussion. Nevertheless, I am interested in Gelonch and I have read many good things about it (at least 70% written by you). Please do me a huge favour when you are there and ask the chef what kind of meal he could prepare SANS alcohol and nuts. For example, the Gin Tonic item would have to go. AND for Las Fernandes, another poster had recommended it but never answered my question: What did you eat that you liked? The online menu starts off with some teriyaki noodle dish and I don't need to go all the way to Barcelona for that. Thanks in advance and have a good trip.

                        1. re: Aleta
                          s
                          sockster Oct 4, 2010 01:35 PM

                          BTW, I totally agree it's off topic....sorry about that...As for Gelonch, I'm sure chef will take care of your dietary needs...but I will ask for sure. As for Las Fernandes, the place has a very cool chic to it...in a not so great neighborhood. The food is just can't be pinned down. While I agree you can get teriyaki noodles here in the US, I could almost guarantee you've never tasted anything like theirs. It's just an unusual and offbeat place. On an updated note, I heard that my restaurant guru in BCN has prepared another incredible list of new and (usually) unheard of places for us. As I said, stay tuned and I'll keep you posted.

                          1. re: sockster
                            j
                            Jninda Oct 4, 2010 11:07 PM

                            Sockster, please do pass on any shining gems you come across. I have a couple of weeks before i leave and I want to try all the BEST.

                            1. re: Jninda
                              s
                              sockster Oct 5, 2010 06:58 AM

                              Will do..three more days till we leave...

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