visit to Barcelona - reasonably priced
Hi, my mother and I are travelling to Barcelona. We are staying in the Barri Gotic area of the city. We are not looking to spend more than 30 euros a meal and would prefer even less, though a great meal is definitely worth our higher end of the budget just not every day. For most lunches we were thinking of taking food to go from the markets though suggestions would be great. Inexpensive bakeries/breakfast in the area would be great as well. I know there are a ton of suggestions on the board and we are working our way through them. I'm a bit overwhelmed with the tapas selections I have found here. Any suggestions for our area specifically or within a mile of walking. Also, if you could let us know which of your suggestions we need to make reservations for that would be very helpful. We will be there over a weekend so suggestions for a Sunday would also be helpful.
Thanks so much,
We had dinner at Cafe de l'Accademia near Jaume 1 (Carrer dels Lledó, 1). It's fabulous Catalan food, and not expensive. They have 1/2 portions and bring 2 plates for sharing. We called on a Monday night at 9:30 and they told us to come at 10:30. We arrived at 10:20, waited less than 10 minutes and got a table outside. We had bouillabaisse (amazing soup with praws), cod with tomato and olives (so fresh), rack of lamb and squid (looks like spaghetti), all in half portions. I shared catalan creme brulee with my husband. And we had a bottle of white wine. Total came to 90 euros. They gave us a variety of bread and a dish of tiny olives. It's delicious and really fresh, the sauces are out of this world, it tastes like you were in a top notch restaurant. I am from Toronto and have to been to the best restaurants over there but haven't had dishes that tasted this good. Must be because of the freshness. Service was very good, and we chatted with the French couple next to us. Restaurant is not far from La Rambla (we stayed between Placa Catalunya and Liceu). By 11 PM there was no more lineup and the place started closing at 12:30 AM. People eat late here.
We had dinner at Cafe de l'Accademia last night and had a horrible experience. We called from a nearby bar and made sure they could take us around 10:30. Beautiful restaurant and outdoor seating area. I think they were slammed. The counter top bar inside was full of dirty glasses and plates everywhere. They were rude right from the start. They wanted to sit us inside but it was too hot and requested a table outside. That seemed to upset them. When I requested a glass of wine while we waited, I was ignored. When we sat down the waiter was not very friendly. They were out of the first couple dishes we ordered. They weren't apologetic about it. They seemed to think we should have known they had run out of it. We ordered a bottle of wine, 3 entrees and one appetiser to share. They brought out the 1 appetiser and 2 of the entrees together. The appetiser was terrible. Smoke eel on toast points was flavorless and looked like it was assembled by a grade schooler.
My girl had a pasta with 5 little prawns that tasted chalk like. My friend had a steak which he said was just ok. I never did recieve my entree. After they finished their food, and mine still hadn't arrived I canceled the order. I had really lost my appetite by then anyway. I had to go into the restaurant to pay because the waiter had stopped coming by the table. Back inside the restaurant, the pile of dirty dishes had grown even more. It was massive. One might think this is a communications issue but my girl speaks fluent Spanish (mine is a little rougher) and we've been to Spain a couple times before - most recently last Sept. - with nary an issue like this.
Below is a recent post on eating in the Barri Gotic.
For inexpensive places in central Barcelona (Barri Gotic, Eixample, Born, el Ravel, Barcelonetta, Lower Gracia), try Envalira, Goliard, Foxo Foguer, La Cova Fumada, Can Mano, Can Mao, El Convent, Ca Estevet, Can Jordi, Anima, Cardoner, Surrency (tapas), Bodega Manolo, Sant Joan. None are high gastronomic highlights but serve good everyday Catalan cooking. 30 euro for two will be tight but all of the above is doable.
Except for highend designer tapas restaurants, most (including all pintxos) do not take reservations. Paco Meralgo one of the few exceptions. Same for the above listed inexpensive places. Barcelona is easy by bus or metro, therefore don't resign yourself in the Barri Gotic. Sunday midday action is in Barcelonetta for seafood and arroz but some of the inexpensive places such as Can Mano and La Cova are closed. Many of the tapas/pintxos places in central will be open Sunday nights.
To watch your budget, consider making lunch your big meal of the day by having a Menu del Dia. These can be as low as 9 euros for 3 courses.
Some of the upscale restaurants also have lunch specials, so it's a good time to try places that normally cost 50+ euros at dinner. Gresca's menu del dia is 19 euros and Cinc Sentits offers one for 29 euros (weekday only, confirm with them by email).
If you go to Tripadvisor Barcelona, there's a list of tapas restaurants and a corresponding Google map. You can use the map to figure out which place is close to you.