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May 9, 2011 01:12 PM

Barcelona suggestions, please...non tasting menu

Will be staying 5 nights in Barcelona in June. Have been reading all the different suggestions for Tapas restaurants so will certainly try some. Looking for mid to upper range suggestions but prefer non tasting menu restaurants. Also, any "do not miss" casual restaurants would be great too.

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  1. Karen,

    Many of the restaurants known for their tasting menus would be happy to offer you a regular a la carte menu. However, once you add up the prices, you'll see why the tasting menu is so attractive. Perhaps you have stronger willpower than I; ordering just a main course (without appetizer or dessert) wouldn't put such a nice smile on my face!

    What do you mean by casual? Not requiring a reservation? Being under a certain price?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Aleta

      Yes, I see your point. We're definitely foodies and not "one course" people. Happy to make reservations but wanted options. Had looked into Gelonch. Can't get a table at Tickets. By casual I just meant non jacket, more relaxed. Up for suggestions. thanks!

      1. re: karensol

        For Tickets, you could attempt an early walk-in but I have no idea how long you would wait. I made my booking at midnight Barcelona time, exactly 90 days before. Here's some pictures in the meantime:

        Gelonch, Gresca, Alkimia, even Cinc Sentits (or one of the 3 star Michelins out of town). Barcelona is pretty tolerant and casual. Perhaps in the hotel restaurants you might see jackets at dinner. If there are a couple of men dining together and wearing jackets, they are most likely business people and not tourists.

        1. re: karensol

          PBSF has given an excellent overview of the Barcelona situation.

          I love Gresca's tasting menu. 9 items for 50 Euros. Or the mini-menu, which is 4 items for 50 Euros. If you order a la carte, each plate might be 15+ Euros. It's a bistronomic restaurant, combining less-expensive ingredients with great creativity in the kitchen, served in a rather spartan setting. No suit jackets required. Reservations a must.

          Encantadisimo's Flickr pictures display the various dishes plus the menu.

      2. By reading this board, one would come away with the impression that every sit down restaurant in Barcelona offer only tasting menus. That is not the case though the tasting menu is very popular for the modern Catalan places on this board. For just about all restaurants, one can order courses from the a la carte menu. I think there are advantages in taking the tasting menu: for variety and balance; easy decision making; some dishes are best eaten in small portions. In most places the cost of the tasting menu is about the same as ordering a three courses. It is not necessarily one will be getting a lot more food since portion sizes are larger ordering a la carte plus there are always some freebies thrown in.
        From my experiences, ordering a la carte is a good way to go at Drolma, Sauc, La Dama, Colibri though all offer excellent tasting menus, The food is modern Catalan with very little molecular technique; the choices in the a la carte menu are all fully realized plates with compliment garnishes, etc.
        In most traditional places, one will hardly run into a tasting menu: PLA, Fonda Gaig, Rias de Galicia, El Barkito, Cafe de l'Academia, Casa Calvet.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          Thanks for all the suggestions. I think we were also trying to have some non-molecular options. Some of those certainly seem to fit with that. What would you say are your top three? Thanks!

          1. re: karensol

            If budget is not a consideration, Drolma, La Dama and Sauc are all good. These are not traditional restaurants. The food is modern variations on traditional Catalan food without using molecular techniques. The three are different in terms of ambience, cost, service, etc. Before making a decision, search this board for more details on them. Nothing worst than taking a recommendation and later find out it does not match what one is looking for or expectation. One will not find typical Catalan dishes such as salt cod salad, coca, suquet, duck with figs, etc. in them. Great traditional Catalan cooking are getting harder to find in Barcelona.