5 days in barcelona: report
In gratitude to the folks on this board who helped re planning our Barcelona trip, which we're (sadly) just concluding. We had a great time, w/ very good eating!
Alkimia was the highlight--perhaps one of the best meals we've had anywhere. We ordered the
traditional menu for 65 euros:
Game terrine with artichoke andorange
Rice with nyoras, saffron and fresh langoustine
Coast fish with ecologic vegetables
Baked chicken cannelloni withalmonds béchamel and freshsalad
Young lamb shoulder withpumpkin and mushrooms
Hazelnut nougat glacée withiced cherry and black olives
Roasted apple with chocolateand eucalyptus ice cream
Each dish was perfectly balanced, prepared, seasoned, conceived, executed! The service wasn't perfect (twice, glass/dish nearly whisked away where we had saved a sip/bite--and we needed to leave, which rushed the multi-course dessert performance--but overall, the servers were friendly and skilled in a professional way, save one, a petite blonde, who was a tad chilly). To say we have paid way more for way less good food is to speak in under-statement.
Escriba--a great bakery--I had a delicious, warm chocolate croissant and coffee for breakfast--and I bought two torrones, one w/ gold leaf, one custard-y--each cost a pretty penny (25+ euros)--but worth it!
Quim in the Boqueria was delicious for lunch--we kept returning (3 x). The padrone peppers were smoky and salty and had a nice bite. Also really enjoyed the grilled prawns and squid and the sardines in vinegar. An aubergine tortilla was a bit greasy--the trouble w/ aubergine. But a very good little "kitchen" and very fun scene.
Kaiku--went for Sun. lunch--scored a seat by the window on a gloriously sunny winter day, the sea dotted w/ sailboats and surfers--the fadaioa (sp?) was lovely, intensely flavored, almost too salty, but I loved all the parts (artichokes, mushrooms, seafood, crispy-at the-edges noodles)
Xocolleteria--a dive off Pssg. de Gracia and just up from Cafe Mut (possibly a screen memory, but I think it may have been next door to a sex shop)--i had never before this been a churros fan--they always seemed kind of leaden--but this guy served up churros that were amazing--light and crunchy and sugary, hot right out of the fryer--that and a thick hot chocolate perked right me up one afternoon, after some strenuous sightseeing.
Fonda Gaig--I had the canelon w/ meat filling--terrific, underscored--at once light and earthy. I still think about it. Perhaps we otherwise didn't order well; and we'd just arrived that afternoon from the US. My husband thought his baccalo was fine, but not great. And the two specials we ordered--guinea hen and meatballs--were again, good, but nothing to write home about.
Bar Mut--a similar experience--one great dish--in this case, filet w/ fois gras--tender and juicy, a perfect concept--steamed mussels were fine, but not special--the white fish was tender and moist, but hardly worth the 30+ euro price tag--and we were confused about the fourth dish, still don't know if we got it or something else entirely!
Botofumeiro--we got the 80 euro cold fish platter for two--it was delicious, but a bit exhausting/overwhelming--my clothes smelled of seafood; and i dreamed of peeling prawns that night--a San Francisco friend had compared it to Sam's or Tadich's, only better--I think I might flip that (not as good as Sam's/Tadich's)--and add that there was a lot of good shellfish, but in the end, Botofumeiro was just a little too tourist-y for my taste.
Again, thanks, posters on the Spain/Portugal Board. What a great food town Barcelona is; and what thoughtful, discerning posters are on this Board!
Thanks for sharing, Sundeck Sue. I used to love Tadich's cioppino when I lived in SF.
I had a great time at Alkimia and Kaiku too. At Kaiku, you must have had the fideua. Your sentiments about Fonda Gaig echo mine. We loved the canelones but everything else was just okay. Instead of allocating a precious mealtime in Barcelona to Fonda Gaig, I schedule a meal on the way in - or out - of town at Porta Gaig (Terminal 1 of the Barcelona airport). We had a fantastic menu del dia there this summer. For 30 euros or so, I had 3 courses plus a tall bottle of Estrella Damm Inedit, presented in its own wine-cooler. That's the beer developed for Estrella by Ferran Adria and friends. I'm not exactly a beer drinker but I finished the whole thing.