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May 22, 2011 12:05 PM

one must eat experience in barcelona-san sebastian-bilbao-la rioja-madrid?

Hello All,

My husband and I are taking a belated honeymoon trip to Spain in June. Neither of us has been to Spain and want to balance experiencing the country and major attractions with one "must eat" experience for each place we go. Not necessarily a fine dining experience--could be street food or a pintxos or a Michelin rated restaurant. We want to eat well, but don't necessarily want to plan all of our meals in advance and take advantage of stumbling on great finds (but also do not want to eat tourist crap food).

Our itinerary is:
Barcelona (3 days)
Drive to San Sebastian with a stop in Olite (other stops?)
San Sebatian (2 days)
Bilbao (1 day)
La Rioja (wine tastings 2 days)
Drive to Madrid (1 day)
Madrid (3 days)

Any thoughts on great eating experiences or places would be much appreciated. (And places to avoid and that could be okay in a pinch, near major museums/tourist locations).

Thank you!!!

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  1. Experiences in Madrid

    Ramón Freixa (2 Michelin stars)

    Vinos 11 aka Casa Dani at Calle Calatrava 11, La Latina. Authentic vintage taberna specialized in jamón, chorizo, cheese and escabeche (pickled tuna)

    Try the 'cocido' (Madrilenian chickpea stew) at Taberna de la Daniela, Calle de Jesús 7, near Plaza Neptuno.

    We adore the 'vermut de grifo' (vermouth on tap) Try it at "Casa Alberto", Calle Huertas 18, near Plaza Santa Ana; "Bodegas Ricla" at Calle Cuchilleros 6, near the Arco de Cuchilleros (suggested tapa: canapé de bacalao); "La Villa del Pescadito" at Calle Toledo 26, near Plaza Mayor, suggested tapa: boquerones en vinagre --anchovies pickled in vinegar--

    The hot chocolate con churros at San Ginés is a must.

    Shellfish! at Kulixka, Calle Santa Engracia 49, subway: Iglesia. Specialized in seafood: centollo (spider crab), langosta (lobster), cigalas (crayfish), ostras (oyster), percebes (goose barnacle)…

    Cordero asado (roast lamb) at Posada de la Villa, Calle Cava Baja 9

    5 Replies
    1. re: JuanDoe

      There is an awesome Galician Seafood place in Madrid. For me it is a must. Three of us split a "small" seafood platter and were stuffed. The nameo of the place is Ribeira Do Miño. It's near metro Tribunal (between Chueca and Malasaña) on Santa Brígida.

      Basically there are no reservations. You just take a number and wait with all the loud boisterus fun families. This is definitely not a tourist joint.

      My other must have dish is Fabada Asturiana (giant white bean stew with chorizo and murcia sausage). Two places that serve it are Casa Portal on Calle Doctor Castelo, or Casa Lastra near Anton Martin metro. Casa Lastra is a little less formal and cheaper than Casa Portale (but the latter is not too foo fooey either)

      1. re: jcmods

        seafood platter and white bean stew--yum and yum! thanks for all the great suggestions, chowhounds! keep them coming!

        1. re: ilovetoeatgoodfood

          Yes, go to either on an empty stomac h. TONS of food. And Doggie Bags do not exist, and would be viewed as kinda gauche anywhere outside the US. I should mention that Sunday afternoon is the best day for the Gallego place as it is family day. But any day is probably fine if you will not be in Madrid on a Sunday.

          1. re: jcmods

            PS, since no one mentioned the Tortilla, I say it is a must (every day unless you are getting a giant stew). These are available everywhere it seems but I think they make it better in Madrid. It is usually sitting at the counter so you can judge it before you order. It basically is a wedge of egg and potato omelet. Sometimes you can order a whole one made to order, but it is too much for only two people I think. Some places make it better than others, but none are bad. You can also order a Tortilla Bocadillo which is really delicious too (alll the bocadillo sandwiches are delicious and not too huge). Another street food to look for in Madrd would be Patatas Bravas from one of those chain's not a bad chain like McDonalds.

      2. re: JuanDoe

        these all sound delicious! my mouth watered with the mention of chickpean stew! can't wait to look into your suggestions!

      3. In Barca - make sure you wander the stellar Mercado -- a buddy and I literally ate our way through the thing, buying a slice of this or 100g of that til we were stuffed and blissed-out.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sunshine842

          I'll take a wild guess that the "mercado" you're talking about is the Boqueria. It is indeed a great place to visit when you're in Barcelona.

          By the way, Barça is the name of the football team. The city's nickname is Barna, but most people call it Barcelona.

          1. The original comment has been removed