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Northern Spain

Am going to Barcelona in the fall and plan to drive from there to Bilboa and San Sabastian, then on to Lisbon. Trying to get into El Bulli , arzak etc. Any suggestions.

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  1. Do searches for Barclona, San Sebastian and Bilbao on this board. There is a huge amount of information.

    1. Since you're most likely passing through Asturias Y Cantabria it's worth stopping over. Beautiful regions where the food is different. IE, Asturias, cider is the rule, not wine, Orujo is made from apples as well, Fabada, great bean stew made w/morcilla and d.o.c. fabes beans......

      1. Guide to 'pintxos' (Basque tapas) in San Sebastián

        1. How to get into Arzak? Just email them and ask for a reservation.

          I also don't recommend driving from Barcelona to Bilbao/San Sebastian. We did it, it was a long and boring drive (not very scenic), and we got lost a bit getting into San Sebastian (signs in Basque were a bit confusing).

          4 Replies
          1. re: kathryn

            That;s how we got into Arzak, unlike France they actually answer their email.

            1. re: kathryn

              We drove from Barcelona to San Seb with no problem. While I agree it is not scenic except for the last hour or so, it is the fastest way to go. I tried checking on trains and it just did not work. With an early start from Barcelona, it is possible to stop for lunch in Pamplona, which would be very nice.

              1. re: rrems

                We stopped in Pamplona and it took us a bit of time to get back onto the highway, perhaps an extra 30-45 minutes! Next time I might consider flying into Bilbao and I think there is a bus to San Sebastian?

            2. When you are in San Sebastian, definitely go to Mil Catas and El Lagar (right next door) for excellent high-end yet affordable pinxtos (in the Bario Gros neighborhood). The foie gras at Mil Catas was one of the best dishes I had on my Northern Spain trip.

              1. If you're starting from Barcelona and hoping to go via El Bulli, then apart from the quite rightly much lauded Can Fabes, Sant Pau and Can Roca north of Barcelona, I'd like to mention a little known restaurant in La Bisbal - not far from Girona. It's called Bo Tic, has just got its first M Star, and is great quality/value. We have a villa not that far away, and apart from less frequent visits to the 'great' places, we make a habit of going there every time we visit the area. There's a pic of a foie gras dish at: http://pic365.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/

                4 Replies
                1. re: Beleac

                  We are going to be in Girona and are having lunch at cellar Can Roca Ruscadella(WSP) in San Pau... How far a drive is Bo Tic from Girona? Do you know if there is a hotel closer to the restaurant?

                  1. re: karen gold

                    It's about 35 mins from Girona. There are several very nice hotels in the area. Mas de Torrent is beautiful and at the top of the price range, like La Placa in Madremanya. Cheaper, but in a beautiful village, is El Pati in Peratallada. We're a bit fond of that one as our house is just across the road! Bo Tic does a fabulous value lunch menu.

                    1. re: Beleac

                      Sounds wonderful!! If we go for dinner, we want to stay as close to the restaurant as possible because we will need to take a taxi back to the hotel . How close is the closest hotel? I have also read about Les Cols in Olot. Restaurant and 5 room hotel. Are you familiar with this restaurant?

                      1. re: karen gold

                        El Pati in Peratallada is probably the nearest that I'm familiar with - it's no more than 10-15 mins. I'm afraid I don't know olot about Les Cols.