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Lisbon-Porto-Barcelona trip report

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CMACDC Nov 2, 2011 06:55 AM

We had some great meals on our recent visit -- our second to Portugal and first to Spain. I browsed some of the reviews here ahead of time and also talked to some locals upon arrival, and here's what we got. Nothing we had was very trendy, but it was all solid.

In Lisbon, we made a beeline to Bonjardim for their frango churrasco -- I am addicted to their piri-piri sauce, which you apply there with a paintbrush and which our waiter described as "Portuguese Viagra." I only wish the fries and salad with it were better. We also had it at Pedro dos Frangos in Porto, and the fries there were absolutely spectacular.

I am a little embarrassed to say we also ate at Solmar, which is a bit of a tourist trap. But we enjoyed the old decor with the fish murals and their lobster rice, which was an enormous amount of food for two people.

In Porto, our best meal was at O Muro, right on the waterfront. Not much atmosphere, but we had an outdoor table with a phenomenal view. We had another massive serving of seafood rice -- which was only something like 14 euros -- and the service was quite friendly. We also liked Restaurante Escondidinho, which was far more fancy and had one of the best dessert carts I've ever seen, And we took a day-long Douro River cruise that, to our amazement, featured totally delicious roast veal for lunch.

Finally, in Barcelona, we were happy to discover that our hotel off Placa Espanya wasn't very far from Rias de Galicia, one of the top-line seafood restaurants in town. I had one of the very best dishes of my life there -- huge scallops with breadcrumbs sauteed with tiny bits of onion and Spanish ham. My wife had four enormous shrimp that tasted like lobster. Another nearby spot we liked was Portonovo, which had excellent and extremely cheap tapas.

In continuing our quest for reasonably priced tapas, we stumbled on Segons Mercat in Barceloneta and consider it a real find. It had the best gambas al ajillo I have ever had -- so good we ordered it a second time. Our other memorable meal was at Oleum, the restaurant at Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) -- excellent grilled tuna.

Can't wait to go back.

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