hi, we will be in Barcelona for New Years eve, we would love a great Tapas bar any suggestions, also your top 3 places for lunch or Dinner, then off to San Sebastian, love your input also, it is our first time, so any one have great accommodation, not too expensive would be great
Went to a fabulous restaurant/tapas bar at the Santa-Caterina mercado near the Cathedral off Via Laietana where they use fresh produce from the market. Had grilled asparagus and squid, absolutely delicious and lovely crema Catalan. The grilled squid at the tapas bar is slightly different, amazingly good. Open for lunch and dinner but I think the tapas bar opens around 9 and there are some great tapas available for takeout too, I took out the squid. Went to a tapas place at la Bocqueiria which was quite disappointing and overpriced, left hand side as you go In.
Right by the Cathedral, there is a place with daily specials, dishes are all well done, it's called Taverna Bisbe. 2 euros extra to sit outside, I think!
Here are my quick thoughts having recently returned from San Seb and BCN. In Barcelona, we loved Robert Gelonch. Search that on the board and you will see my comments in another thread. Wander over to egullet.com and you will see lots of reviews and pictures. (If you are looking for a romantic New Years eve dinner, that could be the place!)
For Tapas in BCN, you must try Quimet y Quimet - one of the most interesting, best Tapas spots we went to in all of Spain. El Quim de la Bogueria in the market is a good spot for lunch, but is priced based on it's popularity (avoid Cal Pep in the Born for exactly this reason if it is recommended to you), but if you stick with the lower priced dishes rather than the larger meals at El Quim, you will love it (with a glass or three of Cava of course!). There is another spot at the market, right at the front as you come in, that has an even better rep (Pinocho I think, but it is well discussed in other forum threads), but it was lined up when we went. Just don't go to La Boqueria (the market) on Saturday - it is a madhouse. Better to go around 11:00 or 12:00 on a weekday (not Monday) as it is less busy.
When in San Sebastian (ahhhhhh, San Sebastian!) we ate at two top end places - Mugaritz and Etxebarri (which is actually closer to Bilbao). Both are well reviewed here and on other sites, and both are FANTASTIC!.
For Pintxos in San Seb (Pintxos is Basque for tapas), our favourites on the traditional side were Bar Nestor (very, very traditional) and Gandarias (I dare you to eat just one solomillo, a little piece of beef tenderloin on a garlic rubbed toasted with a lightly pickled ancho slice on top - they are as addictive a crack cocaine). For more experimental/modern, Bar Zeruko and Fuego Negro are fabulous. You must stop at Zeruko for their La Hoguera - a thin piece of cod, served on a little brazier so you can smoke/cook it at your seat. Magnificent!. Everything we had at Fuego Negro was great too. Cuchara San Telmo gets a lot of buzz as well, but didn't impress us quite as much - which means it was only really great. Here is a great site to guide you through the myriad of other options: http://www.todopintxos.com . You will love San Sebastian. Between the Michelin starred places and the Pintxos bars, it is absolute food heaven. I truly believe it may be the best food destination on this planet of ours.
We were in Barcelona and San Seb last year in October, and you will find threads all over this board reviewing pinxto's places in both here, as well as the best Resto's.
Our favorite meal of all last year was our lunch at Extebarri (and we eat pretty well both at home in SEA, WA, and around Europe.. my BF is Parisienne French, and has taken me to many Michelin * resto's on our trips to Paris and surrounding countries..)
As for Hotel in San Seb, we stayed at Astoria 7, and thoroughly enjoyed it. A 'film' theme to the hotel, about a 10 minute walk to the seaside boardwalk, and reasonable prices and great breakfast included. You can find reviews I have posted by clicking my profile.
Right, I forgot to say where we stayed. In San Seb, we stayed at Pension Aida. Essentially we decided to economize on our hotel in order to splurge on meals (Mugaritz and Etxebarri). Pension Aida was absolutely fine. About a 8 minute walk from the old town where most of the Pintxos bars are- close enough to be convenient, far enough away to be quiet at night. (It is even closer to the Pintxos bars in the newer part of town). Rooms were large and comfortable. Staff were very helpful, including providing the names of their favourite Pintxos bars. Just make sure you get an outside facing room (we were in Room 3, which was great. 4, 5 & 6 all face outside as well. They are highly rated on www.tripadvisor.com. Along the same line, Pension Bellas Artes gets rave reviews, but is too far away from the old town for my tastes.
Was in Barcelona late Sept/early Oct. Best restaurant and tapas bar was Cuines Santa Caterina at the Santa Caterina Mercada, the market with the wavy roof near the Cathedral off Via Laietana. Had super tapas at the tapas bar which opens around 9am. Restaurant opens for lunch and dinner, closed in between but bar open all day. One lunch was delicious grilled squid and asparagus. Excellent crema catalana. Another lunch was some kind of ribs, very tasty. Also had some super fresh sashimi, 3 different fish, gorgeous presentation. A bad experience was Sukaldari at La Boqueria, left side, over priced and if I believed that was true tapas, I would have never tried another tapas!