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Apr 18, 2011 07:27 PM

Barcelona - A Few Questions About Sauc, Hisop, Tapac24, etc.

Hi All:

I have been doing some research on this board for my upcoming trip to BCN in September. Thanks for all the great information. Alas, I have a few questions and will list my contemplated itinerary below:

Arrive on Thursday at Noon (from California). We are staying in Eixample near the PDG metro stop.

Lunch - Tapac 24 (I am assuming no reservations are accepted, am I right?)
After - stop by a place for churros and chocolate (any suggestions near Tapac24?);
After that - stop by Jamonismo (if open - I have seen some discussion about this on here)

Dinner - (undecided) - We are looking for a fun, lively place where there is a level of sophistication in the atmosphere as well as the food (it doesn't need to be too fancy but somewhere with good style and energy as well as food). I was originally thinking of Paco Merlago but feel it may be too similar to Tapac24. Is this true? I know the atmosphere may differ but what about the food? I am also considering Sauc. Is this a fun, lively place to start off the night with a great meal? We will be doing Can Roca for lunch the next day so we also don't want to fill up too heave, which makes me think Paco M might be a good choice.


Lunch - El Celler Can Roca (very excited for this one)

Dinner - Will we be too full? Maybe some tapas of not.


B-fast - La Boqueria - Bar Pinxto or Kiosk Universal
Walk to Barri Gotic then to Picasso Museum

Lunch - El Born Tapas/Pinxto crawl (EE, Sagardi, etc.)
Dessert - Bubo?

We plan to go to Barcelonetta to watch the sunset - then over to El born for a drink.

Dinner - Senyor Parellada? We are again looking for a fun and lively (nice/not too casual) place to start off the night. Since we will have done an MG meal and Tapas, I was thinking of a place with a little less modern fare. Have also considered Fonda Gaig but I am not clear on what the menu looks like and I have heard SP has a nice ambience and good food at a value.

With this plan, does anyone think I should add or switch anything? I feel like we may be missing out on some very good "bistronomique" options but places like Hisop and Alkimia seem a bit too MG and thus too similar to our Can Roca meal. Sauc seems modern without being too MG but I am unclear as to the dining environment. Since we are looking for a hip, trendy, lively place for the Saturday night dinner I am not sure Sauc would fit the bill based on what I know about it (very little).

Would love to hear some thoughts - thanks in advance!

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  1. For churros and hot chocolate, not much in the Eixample; you need to go down to the Barri Gotic; La Pallaresa, Dulcinea and Granjz Xocolateria are all on c/Petritxol. Better is around the corner at c/Banys Nous to buy churro at Xurreira and go to La Granja to eat with their hot chocolate. The main problem with churros in Barcelona is that just about all the places fried them in large batch and let them sit to get cold (nothing worst than cold dry fried dough even if it gets dip). After eating my share of great churros in Seville, Barcelona doesn't do them justice. For me, I would go to Granja Viadar and have their hot chocolate with an ensaimada, a Mallorca pastry.
    Dinner: looking for a fun, hip, trendy, lively place; Sauc, Hisop and just about all the the modern Catalan restaurants are NOT it. Though informal, they are better for serious dining. For hip, fun and lively, might try Comerc24 or Santa Maria. Tapac24 is lively and somewhat hip. Though both Tapac24 and PacoMeralgo serve tapas with somewhat of similar ambience, the food is quite different. Tapac24's tapas are more designer and modern whereas PacoMeralgo is more traditional with lots of seafood, egg dishes as well as some good simple desserts.
    Friday dinner: will you be too full after Can Roca? lunch will finish around 4:30pm, but by 10pm you are ready for some tapas/pintxo, this is the time for fun and lively.
    Bubo for desserts: if you are into designer stuff that are also found in NYC, Paris, Berlin; no harm to drop by for a look. The plus is that it has seats and a slick designer decor; I would rather go to a bakery such as Brunells in El Born or Escriba on Las Ramblas and try some traditional Catalan pastries such as the bunuelos, panellets or sweet coca.
    Senyor Parallada: I recommend this place if: on a budget; nice lively ambience, good for families, something traditional and open on Sunday nights. The menu is large, somewhat of a what's what of traditional cooking but the food is just ok. Since it is not a Sunday, spend a little more at Fonda Gaig, also lively with much better traditional food. Or stay in El Born and eat at Bar del Pla or even better, their sister restaurant PLA in the Barri Gotic,

    7 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      Thank you so much for your reply PBSF - I have developed my list largely on the recommendations of hounds like yourself and a few others on here.

      So, it looks like my flight will not get in until 5:55pm instead of 11:55am (I'm kind of upset about this), so I will be losing a lunch. I do now have a 4hr lay over in Madrid and am thinking of taking a taxi to a spot near the airport if there is anything worth leaving the airport for. Any suggestions?

      We will probably do Paco Meralgo for dinner on Thursday, Can Roca for lunch on Fri, Tapac 24 for dinner on Fri, Bar Pinxto and El Born crawl for Sat lunch, then dinner at either Fonda Gaig or Comerc 24 (I know these are very different and may drop Comerc 24 if we end up going to Tapac 24) for dinner on Sat.

      All of these subject to change :)

      1. re: Searching4Dunny

        Other than center of the city, I am not too familiar with Madrid. A four hour layover is not a long time. Barajas Airport is in the outskirt of the city, with not much around it. A round trip taxi to the center of the city would probably set one back about 70euros (that is what I remembered couple years ago). There is also shuttle buses to the center of the city. Given the horrible traffic during midday, neither option is that great. The metro is really fast and easy, about 15 minutes to the Nuevos Ministerios stop. I am not familiar with the area around it but since it is a main transport hub and just north of Sol (the bustling center of Madrid), it should have good places to eat. I have made the trip from the airport to Sol by metro in about 30 minutes but requires a transfer. It is definitely doable if one is adventurous and not burden with luggage. If you are exploring the possiblity, my advice is to start a new thread on eating around Barajas and/or Nuevos Ministerios. Also if it is feasible logistically. There are a couple of very well inform posters that live in Madrid. They would be able to give some good advice and recommendations.
        I think your choices of eating places are good. Given such a short visit, I would not waste a meal on Senyor Parallada. Foodwise, there are so many better choices for a Saturday night. Hope that El Cellar de Can Roca is in great form when you dine there. Girona is a beautiful city, definitely worth a morning of exploring if you have the time. And the train ride is quite nice.

        1. re: PBSF

          Thanks again PBSF, you continue to be an invaluable resource for this trip.

          I will start another thread about my Madrid layover and see if the plan will be feasible (we will not have any carry on luggage). I am e-mailing Fonda Gaig today for a sample menu and will decide between that and Comerc 24 based on menu items. I'm looking forward to tasting some amazing food while in Spain!

          1. re: Searching4Dunny

            Hello searching4dunny!
            I hope you don't mind me asking, how did your flight get changed by so many hrs difference??
            I too, am going in September to Barcelona flying with airfrance, now I am a bit concern that my flight will be changed, I too am from California
            Sorry to hear about your flight, your choices sound amazing!
            I have reservations for comerc24, gelonch and paco meralgo
            I will also make res. For tickets & cinc sentits... Too early to reserve now
            Thanks for any insight you can give me on the flight issue

            1. re: yesilovestotravel

              Hi Yesilovestotravel!

              You probably do not need to worry about the flight change. This only happened in my situation because we ended up booking a different flight than the one we were going to book (the flight we wanted became fully booked in the one day it took me to us to reserve). The second flight option had us leaving from CA several hours after the departure time of the original flight we had planned to book.

              I guess I started planning the food itinerary before we secured the flight! Shows were my priorities are :)

              Sounds like you have some great choices on your list! I am still going back and forth about Tickets (it would need to be a replacement for Comerc 24) but it seems a little similar to Jose Andres' Bazaar in Los Angelese, where I live. I am sure it is vastly superior, but as it stands Comerc 24 is still the choice for our Saturday night in Barcelona. Hope you enjoy your trip!!

              1. re: Searching4Dunny

                Jose Andres' DREAMS that his Bazaar might be comparable to Albert Adria's Tickets :-P I couldn't get a reservation to Minibar in Washington DC but we did eat at the bigger restaurant that houses Minibar. I hated it. We came out, still hungry and feeling ripped off. Can you imagine 2 people sharing 1 soft poached egg? It was one of the dishes on the tapas tasting menu. Maybe Bazaar does better (and certainly Mr. Andres' Mexican restaurant in DC was very good)...

                Sorry. A bit strongly worded up there but I hate feeling ripped off. And sharing a poached egg with someone else. :-P

                I hope you try Tickets. They feature some of the items from the Best of El Bulli, like the spherical olives. It might work well for a light dinner after your El Celler de Can Roca lunch.

                1. re: Aleta

                  Haha - thanks for the comparison. Your experience at Andres' restaurant in DC was similar to my experience at the Bazaar, which has left me rather cautious about anything similar in style.

                  Tickets may come back on the list the more I read about other diners' experiences there. Since Tickets is a modern tapas concept, I wonder if it would make a good replacement for Comerc 24. We could probably fit in Tapac 24 instead of Comerc if we do do Tickets, in light of the fact our apartment is only a 5 min walk to Tapac 24.

    2. Searching4Dunny,

      PBSF has taken care of most details so I would only like to add my 2 cents. We ate at Fonda Gaig and Alkimia last summer. FG was our 1st meal upon arrival (Sunday lunch) and although it was good, I'm glad we started off there because our week just got better and better. I would describe Fonda Gaig as an upscale traditional restaurant for Barcelona's well-heeled. A signature dish is the canelones in cream sauce. Yes, it was silky smooth and delicious but we found better at Alkimia.

      We also took the train to Girona for lunch at El Celler de Can Roca, so I can compare Alkimia to Can Roca. It's not similar. Alkimia is modern Catalan with very limited molecular. You can still see and taste the components of what you are eating. Their menus are on the website and the tasting menu is a very good deal. I would love to go back but I also want to try a new place this summer, Libentia.

      BTW, Barcelona faces eastward so you won't see the sunset from Barcelona beach. The sun sets over the mountains.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Aleta


        Thanks for the info! Alkimia has interested me since I began researching for this trip. I am very tempted to replace one of our dinners with it but struggle with which one. Comerc 24 seems to be the restaurant on our list most similar to Alkimia but with a different twist and atmosphere. To be perfectly honest, Fonda Gaig appeals to me on a certain level (comfort, traditional cooking) but I feel like there are more exciting restaurants in BCN. I will need to review this one closer and have requested a sample menu from FG in order to compare. It is good to know that Alkimia is not very similar to Can Roca, as this will be a deciding factor.

        I completely spaced out on the sun rises in East / sets in West phenomenon. Thanks for reminding me!

        I'm going to look into Libentia and may have some questions about it in the upcoming weeks. Thanks!

        1. re: Searching4Dunny

          thanks searching4dunny for the info!
          I too live in L.A. County, Downey to be more specific...when do you leave/
          I will be in BCN from September 2 to 5th...hope it's not too hot!
          thanks for the info on Bazaar! I'll search for it!
          My only worry is Cinc Sentits...because they only take reservations only 2 weeks prior...and my idea is to go for Dinner the day I if it doesnt happen, it would throw my whole itinerary off...also because I travel by my self, maybe they will feel i will be taking up a "chair" for another dinner...we'll see....
          I am still undecided about my Sunday Lunch...That's my only spot "open" I've gotten some good ideas...but some seem far from my sightseeing ...I'll be around Casa Batllo & Casa Mila so I would like something in that area...
          I was thinking of Tapac24, buy I'm already doing I don't know...
          Have fun on your trip!
          Planning it is almost as much fun!

          1. re: yesilovestotravel

            Looks like quite a few of us from LA will be in Barcelona this summer! We're from Woodland Hills and will be in Spain for two weeks in June!
            We do have reservations for Tickets, but other than that, I keep adding and subtracting to my 'must go' restaurant list., but Fonda Gaig IS has definitely made the list!
            Can't wait!!

            1. re: CEfromLA

              Wow - sounds like it will be an LA party in Barcelona this summer! My trip will be from 9/7 - 9/14 (we will be in BCN for 3 nights then off to Mallorca for 3 nights). I echo your sentiments Yesilovestotravel about the heat - hopefully it wont be too bad!

              I would love to hear about your experience at Fonda Gaig CEfromLA. Please post a review after your trip. Have fun and eat well!

            2. re: yesilovestotravel

              Re Tapac24 and Comerc24...they are so totally different in both concept and execution that there really is no issue doing them both. In fact we ate lunch at Tapac24 the same day we ate dinner at Comer24 (more or less by accident, as we just found ourselves nearby Tapac24 and there were seats open ;) The only thing that even came close to similar was their signature dessert of chocolate, olive oil, bread and salt but you don't have to order it at Tapac24 unless you want to (and we did, it was so good that eating it twice in one day was no problem :) We actually ate lunch at Tapac24 twice during our trip.

              Also, about Cinc Sentits reservations--we had the same dilemma, the solution is to just book something else as a back-up, and then cancel it if Cinc Sentits comes through. Given that you'll be giving two weeks cancellation notice I don't see that as a problem. Believe me Cinc Sentits was worth it--our best "modern" meal of the trip. I'll write full reviews as soon as I catch up a bit (just got home a few hours ago!)

            3. re: Searching4Dunny


              Fonda Gaig's clientele (especially on Sundays) is affluent, Catalan, multi-generational families. Yes, it's comfortable and traditional. There are group table settings, since they cater to families. In a nutshell, it's expensive Catalan family food.

              Alkimia is stark, white, with benches and smaller tables, lined up along a narrow room. It's very modern and so is the food. But not to the point that you are wondering about the ingredients. It still retains its Catalan traditional roots. Meat, fish, canelone in almond cream sauce (Yum) and some rice dish.

              Comerc24 is probably one of the most modern and molecular tapas-style restaurants in Barcelona. It doesn't belong in the same category as Alkimia.

              I try to pair my sightseeing with dining. For our first trip, we visited the Sagrada Familia and had lunch at Alkimia (just a few blocks away). This year, I'd like to try Libentia but I know very little about it. For your first visit, I would stick to the more popular places.

              Hola Yesi! I agree with you: planning is almost as much fun!

              1. re: Aleta


                I completely agree with pairing sightseeing with dining. We plan to visit Sagrada Familia on our first dat/evening in BCN and hanging around the Eixample. We are looking for something in that area for the first night.

                I am now considering Alkimia for dinner the first night, with Can Roca the next day, then a light dinner (Tapac 24?) after. For the third day we will tapas/pintxo hop in the El Born for lunch then go to a fun and lively spot for dinner (considering Comerc 24 or Tickets).

                With these revisions, Paco Meralgo would be dropped, as well as Fonda Gaig - but I have a feeling the itinerary will change a few more times before our trip!

                1. re: Searching4Dunny

                  After dinner at Alkimia, if you swing by the Sagrada Familia, you may see it in its illuminated splendor. It will be closed for sightseeing but the beauty of it will be a memory to cherish!

                  To comply with Chowhound regulations, I won't say anything more about travel-planning. You can get that info from other sources, like Tripadvisor.