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Good combination of food and atmosphere in VAL and/or BCN

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This is kind of a spinoff from the $$$ in Valencia thread:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785066

I'm looking for a great meal that doesn't cost an arm and a leg as my payback for being the travel agent on this trip. I'll be traveling with a male friend but there's no romance involved, thus we'd like a place that's fun, exciting, hip, whatever. Just so it's not all quiet with the two of us gazing into each other's eyes. We'll be in Valencia April 30-May 2 then Barcelona until May 6. I sent an email to Hisop in Barcelona to try to get a reservation but couldn't quite tell from their site if they fit the atmosphere, prices weren't too insane. I'm not super into molecular gastronomy but it might be nice if there were an option or two. Just want well made food with a wow factor in a lively environment. I'm moving late on this so obviously a place we can get into 3 or 4 weeks out.

Oh and are there any other great bars besides 41 Degrees if that's impossible to get into? Thanks.

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  1. No one has a thought on this? I did make a res at Hisop on Thurs. May 3, which may or may not fit the specifications but sounds like it'll be good. Would be curious about a nice and fun place in Valencia earlier in the week or another Barcelona spot. Thanks.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      I ate a very good lunch at Hisop last week. Great value as I spent less than $200 for 2 lunch tasting menus and 1 wine pairing (50 euros each plus 25 euros for wine pairing). However, as exciting as the food is, the atmosphere in the dining room is rather quiet and reserved. The environment is definitely not "lively". It might be too late for a reservation at Tickets but the atmosphere there is probably what you are looking for.

      1. re: Joanie

        Joanie I wish I could be more help, but you might want to look into the restaurants along Valencia's Avda de Neptuno; this is one of several and their rice dishes garner pretty good reports. Should be pretty lively.

        http://www.restaurantelestimat.com/