Please help 2 nights in Barcelona late November
My husband and I will be in Barcelona on the 24th and 25th of November. This is our first trip and we'd like to have some memorable dining experiences. We'll be staying at W, which I realize is a bit out of town so we can take a taxi. We'd like to experience a traditional menu one night, and perhaps a steak house the other night. We'd also like to hit some tapas bars. I'd say our budget is moderate to moderate high for a truly spectaular experience. I've been searching and searching, but am getting a little overwhelmed. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Jade
Cuines Santa Caterina at Santa Caterina Mercado near the Cathedral across Via Laeitana was super. Uses produce from the market. Their great tapas bar opens around 9 am, open all day. You can have a drink before the restaurant opens for lunch or dinner. The grilled squid tapas were fab and only 5 euros for a nice sized portion.
My boyfriend is from Barcelona and he gets asked for restaurant recommendations all the time and below is the list he sends around. Hope this is helpful:
FISH: BOTAFUMEIRO (Gran de Gracia 81). Expensive but best fish restaurant in Barcelona. If this place is full or too expensive go to Big Fish (located at El Born)
PAELLA: the most traditional is the brasserie LES 7 PORTES (located in the Barceloneta). It has the best paella. It is also the oldest and most famous restaurant in Barcelona. If you want something less old school go for El Suquet de l'Armirall.
Grilled MEAT: PATAGONIA BEEF & WINE (Gran vía 660). Best meat and a best Argentinean wine lists. I prefer this to any of the London or New York steak houses.
To see a restaurant frequented by famous artists (Picasso amongst them) over the last century and eat typical Catalan food go to LES QUATRE GATS (Montaló 3 à Close to Plaza Urquinaona).
- Author Cuisine (by this I mean restaurants known for their chefs rather than for the restaurant itself):
- Can Fabes (20 min from Barcelona) Chef Santi Santamaría. Top 15 in the world I believe
- Abac (Calle Rec 79. In the soho of bcn or “El Born” à close to “Plaza de Triunfo”). Really Expensive.
- Raço d’en Freixa. (In“Calle Sant Elias”)
Traditional Catalan Cuisine:
- Casa Leopoldo (“Barrio de Cuidado”, close to “el Raval”). Cuisine specialized in shell fish y fish. The dishes depend on what is in the market. We call it “Cocina de Mercado”.
- Ca l’Isidre (in the “Barrio de la Boqueria”). Also cocina de Mercado.
- Pinocho: best between Tuesday and Friday. It is above the Mercado de la Boqueria. Uses all fresh produce from the market. You are basically served what Pinocho (the owner) wants. If you need to go on the weekend make it Sunday. The problem is that the whole market isn’t open from Saturday to Monday.
- Hoffman (Argenteria 74 à Close to Born, BCN’s Soho). It is a cooking school for chefs - Mediterranean Cusine.
- My favorite tapas place: Ciutat Condal (Rambla de Catalunya con Gran Via) - It is Mondadito Style Tapas
Thank you for the list of recommendations. Couple of updates:
Can Fabes: sad to report that the great chef Santi Santamaria passed away earlier this year. Read below re Abac.
Abac: it is no longer at El Born. About three years ago, it moved to a fancy hotel by the same name in Tibidado. Xavier Pellicer, who owned the original Abac, left shortly after the relocation and now heads the kitchen at Can Fabes.
Raco d'en Freixa: couple years ago, Ramon Freixa moved on to open a high end restaurant in Madrid. Racon d'en Freixa has changed its name to Freixa Tradicio and his parents are back managing it. Different concept with simpler traditional food.
Is "Pinocho" you are referring to in the Boqueria "Bar Pinotxo". The Boqueria is is closed only on Sundays and same for Bar Pinotxo. It is true tthat some stands do closed on Mondays also.
Definitely consider dinner at Robert Gelonch. He is an exceptionally talented young chef. The restaurant will be a reasonable cab ride from your hotel. On a recent trip to Barcelona, a meal at his restaurant was the highlight of our Barcelona dining - far better than the much more popular Comerc 24, and half the price! There are a number of reviews of Gelonch over on the www.egullet.com web site, many of which include pictures. The food is beautifully plated, imaginative, and very, very well executed. While it does not have the cache of the bigger name places, the food is every bit as good, or better, and the prices are supper reasonable. The servers speak excellent English, and the wine list is very reasonably price and great quality. You won't regret going and are likely to become a big fan. We did!
We ate at Gelonch last year based on recs from this board, but note that we were the ONLY PEOPLE in the entire restaurant all night!
The staff was very nice and told us that they had 2 couples booked and we were the only one that showed. The service was obviously great and it was funny to see the chef peeking out through this little window at us after each course was served, but we ended up wishing that the restaurant had just told us they wouldn't open for the night so that we could have rebooked somewhere more lively.
The meal was good but didn't outweigh the awkwardness we felt at being the only reason they opened that night.
This may have been an anomaly because I think it was sometime mid-week, but just so you're aware.
For steak, you could try Caldeni.
You'll probably get some more advice but in the meantime, keep in mind that the W is home to Bravo24. It's the newest restaurant owned by Carles Abellan, of Comerc24 and Tapac24. If the weather is bad or you don't feel like going too far, that's an option.
W is not out of town but on the edge of touristic Barcelona. It's walkable but boring so taxi or metro are better ideas.