Feedback on restaurant selections in BCN
Hi, we're visiting BCN in November and trying to firm up our restaurant selections. We're both visiting from NYC and are coming to BCN from San Se. We'd love to explore the BCN food scene with particular interest in traditional and modern Catalan food, tapas and seafood. We love good food and go out of our way to find the best. We'd like to keep most meals under $50 Euro per person but will splurge on one or two meals. Please give us your thoughts. Thank you in advance.
WED | Nov. 23 | Dinner | Ticket | molecular
THU | Nov. 24 | Breakfast | Boqueria Market: Pinotxo/Kiosk Universal| tapas
THU | Nov. 24 | Lunch | Alkimia | modern
THU | Nov. 24 | Dinner | PacoMeralgo | tapas
FRI | Nov. 25 | Breakfast | Boqueria Market: El Quim
FRI | Nov. 25 | Lunch | La paradeta (self-service seafood)
FRI | Nov. 25 | Dinner | Tapas Crawls: Quimet & Quimet, Cuidad Comtal, etc.
SAT | Nov. 26 | Lunch | Fonda Gaig (traditional Catalan)
SAT | Nov. 26 | Dinner | Tapas Crawls: Tapac 24, La Taverna del Clinic, etc.
Your plan looks pretty good, but your tapas crawls look very spread out. Quimet i Quimet to Ciutat Comtal is a 25min walk. Taberna del Clinic to Tapas24 is a 20min walk. The Eixample in general is not that good for a tapas crawl, since most places are sit-down restaurants and can require either a reservation or queuing at the door. The Born and Gotic are much better choices for a crawl.
As for Paco Meralgo, it's a good restaurant, but I don't consider it a destination. It's a very pleasant, tourist friendly place with good food, but it's not going to blow your mind.
Recommend Cinq Sentits for your splurge. We went to Alkimia and it was fine but we weren't wowed. Maybe just an off night, I don't think the regular hostess was there to manage the room. Personally we found the Boqueria to be overwhelmingly crowded...maybe in November it wouldn't be as bad (we were there in Sept) would consider 2nd breakfast at Mercat Santa Caterina instead (perhaps the cafe), a little less frightening.
I would also suggest El Born/Ribera for tapas/pintxos crawl. If you want to do the Eixample, there are good tapas/pintxos places on the first couple blocks of Rambla de Catalunya and the streets off of it that does not require too much walking. Just avoid the places on the lower Pg de Gracia.
I like Alkimia very much and there was a recent post on their 'bargain' lunch menu. Have not had it but it seems like a good value.
I don't think La Paradeta is open for lunch on weekdays.
If a self-service seafood place is something you really had your heart set on, there is at least one other option:
There's a place called El Peix D'or that opens at 1:00 daily. It's the same basic idea as La Paradeta but smaller, at least than the one in El Born. I haven't been in but it looks promising - a simple, bright and clean interior with a nice array of good looking seafoods.
It's in a nice residential area just outside or on the edge of Eixample (dreta) a few blocks from the Arc de Triomf, on the corner of Napols and Ausias March. Metro lines 1 & 2 stop nearby.
I'd definitely add Robert Gelonch to your list. If you search on the forum you'll see my comments - not enough time today to duplicate them. Whether here, or over at egullet, Gelonch gets great reviews. I am sure you won;t be disappointed. We had lunch at Fonda Gaig, as you are planning. My reaction was, good, not great". It gets billed as a more traditional Catalan place, and there were some Catalan dishes to be sure, but it felt like reasonably generic "fine dining" to me. It is a big business lunch hangout, judging by the clientele when we were there. Definitely go to QUimet & Quimet. It was one of the more memorable places from our entire trip to Spain.
Thanks for all the feedback. Looks like I have to go back and group the tapas crawl based on neighborhood. Really looking forward to El Peix D'or; will let folks know. As for questions in the air, I'm still torn as to whether or not we should go to PacoMeralgo? It's a birthday celebration meal but we are looking for something casual (vs. upscale) but amazing food. Looked at Robert Gelonch menu but having a hard time fully grasping it since it's in Spanish.
Then there's the question of Fonda Gaig. If we could only do one traditional Catalan restaurant, should it be it?
PacoMeralgo is very good at what it is, a simple casual sit down tapas place. It is not a place for amazing food. Fonda Gaig has very good traditional food in a upscale chic setting. Sadly, great traditional Catalan food is hard to come by in Barcelona. One of the best is Freixa Tradicio, about the same caliber and cost as Fonda Gaig. Might consider the less expensive Restaurant PLA in the Gotic (not their tapas place in El Born), or even less expensive is Ca Estevet. Couple of places in Sarria that I like are Canet and El Vell Sarria L'Arros; can eat at both for less than 25e before wine.