Etxebarri and Barcelona questions
Hello - I will be in Spain next week visiting Madrid, San Sebastian and Barcelona with my wife. We were able to secure lunch reservations at Etxebarri for Sunday and are very excited about it. The only thing that I am worried about is that my wife is pregnant, and as a result has a lot of food restrictions. I'm wondering if it's worth going to Etxebarri, and paying the 120 Euros for the tasting menu, if she can't eat everything. I would appreciate feedback from anyone who has been there.
Also, when we are in Barcelona, we wanted to do at least one nice dinner that showcases the cutting edge cooking that Catalan is known for. I deliberated between Hisop, Commerc 24, and Alkemi ultimately making a reservations at Hisop. Is this a good selection, or are the others bettter? Again any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks so muck for your help!
Since some of us may not have gone through a pregnancy, it would be helpful to state what food restrictions your wife has. With some information, posters will be able to give some feedback on Etxebarri.
As for Hisop, Comerc24 or Alkimia, it is not one is better than the others. All three are good but are somewhat different. For whatever reasons you've chose Hisop, it is probably good enough for you to make the reservation. I would stick with it.
Absolutely. With regard to food restrictions, she can't eat the following: raw eggs, uncooked unpasturized cheese, rare meat, cured meats (no jamon!) and raw seafood. I think that the a la carte menu may be the way to go in this case.
In BCN, I chose Hisop b/c I wanted to go to a restaurant the showcases the Barelona food scene, in a fun and lively environment (not a sterile stuffy one). Also, the Michelin star did not hurt. I read a post that you wrote that said that Comer 24, or perhaps Gresca may be better for environment. Is that the case?
One can definitely order a la carte at Extebarri. If your wife's diet restricts her to eat only well done seafood and meat, they can cook them to such. I am not sure how enjoyable that would be. Beside the restaurant's technique with the fable grill, the other primary reason to eat there is for their excellent ingredients.
Hisop, Comerc24 and Alkimia all have one star in the current Michelin guide. None that I would consider stuffy.Hisop and Alkmia are both small, rather low key with a simple minimalist decor (to some might be sterile) .Both only offer tasting menus but they will substitute if there is a diet restriction. I would let them know when making the reservation. The cooking style is similar; I find Alkmia a bit more refine, Hisop a bit more rustic. The food at Comerc24 is more molecular and present in a tapas style. Instead of a tasting menu of five, six or seven fully realized plates., it's 'Festival of Tapa' tasting consists of about dozen small plates, many pull from the a la carte menu. Most of the plates are just three or four bites. There is lots of variations, from simple baby octopus a la plancha (terrific,: sweet, smokey and briny) to a complicated de-constructed version of suquet. One can also order a la carte from more than 20 items. There is no dessert menu; just a tasting several small desserts. The restaurant itself is larger with a high-designer decor. The service is less personal than the above two. If you want 'lively; it would Comerc24. Hisop is less expensive than the other two.
For Extebarri, given the diet restrictions, it's best to order ala carte. I posted a menu photo some time ago if you'd like to check it out. We ordered ala carte and we actually liked it more than the tasting menu...since there's some items that we wanted to try not on the tasting menu. We spent about $200+ for 3 people.
I was very disappointed at Alkima. The amuse bouche was uninteresting, Half the courses were forgettable and a lot of misses, one that sticks in my mind was an onion soup with truffles - it tasted like plain water and there was neither a smell nor taste of truffle. Many dishes that should have been served hot were lukewarm. I later found out that the chef has many new ventures and I wonder if the last of attention and poor quality were due to this.
Hisop, on the over hand was a pleasant surprise. I almost canceled as I had been to St Pau the day before and was afraid it would be a let down. No - it was OUTSTANDING, with generous amuse (three I think - it was last month and I didn't take notes) with one so good and generous that it could have been a course on it's own. Really, really good inventive food that was prepared with obvious care and attention to detail.