Heading to Barcelona and San Sebastien end of august. Suggestions please?
There are so many can't miss places to eat in those two towns that you'll need to refine it a bit. What sort of budget are you looking for? Are you looking for sitdown meals or just tapas and pintxos recommendations?
Personally I wouldn't miss Mugaritz or Akelarre in San Sebastian but you'll likely run up Eur 800 for two people across those two meals. Similarly El Quim, Sant Pau (just outside Barcelona) would be great choices but the latter is quite expensive too.
San Sebastian and Barcelona are the two most commonly discussed cities on this board so it is probably worth you having a search first and coming up with a list of places that people can give their views on - and so people will know roughly what you're looking for.
You will get much more helpful responses that way.
Just few tips about Barcelona:
Suculent, a hot spot in Raval for tapas and catalan new cuisine; Morro Fi, small venue to have a good vermut or negroni far from the touristic circuit. Embat, Caldeni or Gresca if you look for a great bistronomics with good value for money.
Barcelona - I second Gresca, Rafael Pena runs a great small bistronomy, lunch is far more than affordable, but the dinner is sublime. For tapas, Cal Pep or El Quim are great options (Cerveceria Catalana is slightly more upscale, but also good)
San Sebastien/Donostia - god! So much good food to choose from, kind of like being stuck in heaven IMHO (apart from the local wine). Although the top tier restaurants are very good (e.g. Arzak, Akelarre, Mugaritz) if you nly have one night I would try bouncing around between tapas bars in Parta Vieja (e.g. Foie with anchovy at Txeptxa or mushrooms at Ganbara). Take a look at www.todopintxos.com, although I don't agree with everything there, it is a good reference.
in terms of atractions i can tell you a couple i viisted that i thought were worth the time.
- MACBA museum (modern art)
- CCCB (expositions)
- Miro foundation (no photos allowed)
- Picasso museum (no photos allowed)
- Museum of art of Catalonia
- Caixa museum (free)
- Mies van der roeh (not sure if it is spelled like that) Pavillion (free if you see it from outside)
- Hospial Sant Pau (great great great and free from outside)
- Parc Guell (not sure if you'll have thetime but its worth the walk - free)
- Sagrada Familia (go early to avoid bigger lines)
- La pedrera
Well we did see a lot and we only used 3 our our 5 day stay to do all of this. it was intense, but we were able to see everything, plus many other expos of contemporary art.
now about the food:
- eat well in the luch time (menu del día ) for less than 10 euros, because in the evening the food is very very expensive (15 euros a person for the same menu sometimes)... in the evening we ate sandwiches and in the lunch period we'd eat better (or at least tried)
so for restaurants and food these are my 2 cents
- be careful with the paella they offer you, there is a type of paella that is frozen and many restaurants have them advertised, you can easily spot on the sign and remember that even though the prices vary from place to place, the crappy paella is the same frozen food (it can go from 8 euros to 12 near the beach). This goes for spagetti carbonara and bolognese.
- we found this amazing restaurant (sadly only on the last day of our trip) and it was the best food we ate while we were there: it is called TRA.BAL and it is located in Balmes 203, 08006 Barcelona (really look it up on maps before you go!). The menu for lunch was 8,99 and the food was exquisite! we ate a small piece of paella that was worth the whole paella we ate earlier that week on a crappy frozen place somewhere. The street is near the MACBA museum and very close by the ramblas and plaza catalunya. PLEASE look for this restaurant, i can't say enough good things about it!
- near the restaurant, a little bit up the street to plaza catalunya there is an amazing sandwich shop, with baguettes that are good for 2. they are big and they offer you a drink for.. 3.50.. and the quality is amazing, i am still dreaming of that small shop. sadly i don't know the name, the girl at the front of the shop was very very rude, but the food was so good we kept going there for the whole week and just ignored her!
hope your visit is good, we didn't find those many great restaurants, we ate at some traditional ones, but they were either too greasy, too expensive, or just plain frozen.
Thanks everyone! I'm definitely looking to hit up tapas places and smaller restaurants for a more casual, authentic feel. Budget also is playing a part as I'd like like to keep dining costs under 100 euro a day. I'd love to go Mugaritz or Arzak, but I just don't have the wallet this time around. I'll check out todopintxos.com.
I want to go to some amazing, non-"destination" places where I can really get an authentic flavor for Spain. That said, I'd like one (conservative) splurge meal. Do the nicer places do lunches? I've always found that to be a budget friendly option in NY.