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Rick Steve's Barcelona recommendations

h
hobbess Mar 25, 2013 01:24 AM

I'm going to Europe for a vacation with some Rick Steves' guidebooks
but I wanted to get some feedback about his recommended restaurants for Barcelona in 2012.

And, if I know whether or not I can trust his restaurant recommendations for Barcelona, it'll give me some ideas if I can trust his restaurant recommendations for the other European cities I'll also be visiting.

In general, what do you think of his recommendations:

Lunch near Ramblas:
Taverna Basca Irati
Restaurant Elisabets
Cafe Granja Viader

Near La Boqueria Market:
Pinotxo Bar
Kiosko Universal
Restaurant la Gardunya

In Barecloneta:
La Mar Salada

In Barri Gotic:
Cafe de l'Academia
La Crema Canela

Tapas on Carrer de la Merce in Barri Gotic:
La Pulperia
La Plata
Tasca el Corral
Sideria Tasca La Socarrena
Cerveceria Vendimia

In Ribera District, near Picasso Museum:
Sagardi
Sagardi Euskal Taberna
Taller de Tapas
El Xampanyet

In Eixample:
La Rita
La Bodegueta
Restaurante la Palmera
Restaurant Flaunta
Cinc Sentits

Tapas Bars in Eixample:
Quasi Queviures
Ciudad Condal Cervecceria
La Tamoia

And, he also recommended turron at Casa Colomina, Churros con Chocolate at Granja La Pallaresa, and homemade chocolate at Fargas.

I'm not expecting this list to be the best possible restaurants in the city. But, I'm looking for good, tasty food that's going to be near the tourist attractions.

With limited time, I'm not going to go see a tourist attraction and then make a separate trip all the way across the city for lunch if there's no nearby tourist attraction near lunch spot.

Are there any places on this list that stand out as really good, or something to avoid at all costs?

  1. d
    debbiel Mar 29, 2013 07:00 PM

    I've eaten at a few of those places.

    I've been to Cafe de l'Academia several times and have always had a very good meal there.

    Pinotxo is fun and good food.

    I'm not much a fan of the dining at Sagardi, Taller de Tapas (though I had morning coffee there several times and service was always fine), or El Xampanyet (though they were very, very, very nice to me when I fainted there while they were quite busy).

    2 Replies
    1. re: debbiel
      caganer Mar 30, 2013 08:11 AM

      I think El Xampanyet is one of the best places in town for a visitor to explore Spanish canned seafood, though that's not for everyone. The son of the owner (the bald guy) knows canned seafood as well as anyone - he led a tasting of various aged cans from his collection (seriously) at Vila Viniteca last year.
      It's also a good place to try vermouth the Spanish way.
      (and yes, the family that runs the place are really nice)

      1. re: caganer
        d
        debbiel Mar 30, 2013 08:56 AM

        Yes, I've read and heard raves about the canned seafood. I should always qualify my statements with, "I don't like seafood." That just takes a lot of the El Xampanyet experience away. One of the issues I had might have been timing, too. Both visits to that spot were in May, and it was just packed with tourists, and not particularly pleasant ones. I should have checked it out again on one of my November or January trips.

        The fainting episode: We were standing at a table in the middle of the place when I started going down. My husband caught me enough to soften the fall to the floor. He said immediately folks from behind the counter came out and helped him to carry me out to the cooler air outside. Someone on the staff took my purse and kept it safe while my husband freaked out a bit. They brought cold water and food out to me and a drink for him. Then brought a chair out for me once I was done lying on the ground. A very generous and kind response.

    2. s
      sushiman Mar 28, 2013 03:18 PM

      Bar Canete That is all you need to know.

      1. sunshine842 Mar 28, 2013 12:54 AM

        From the standpoint of finding it in a Rick Steves book:

        We actively avoid any place we find that has a Europe Through The Back Door sticker -- whether it's accommodations or a restaurant.

        While he does a great job of handholding and explaining the ins and outs of European travel, we have overwhelmingly found his recommended places to be the lowest common denominator of overpriced, overtouristed rubbish.

        Even a blind chicken finds a kernel of corn from time to time, so I'm sure there are some good restaurants in his lists....but sorting the good from the bad takes somebody like SnackHappy.

        1. SnackHappy Mar 25, 2013 09:42 AM

          Hello, hobbess

          Here are my impressions and suggestions for you. I'll go through them on by one. I'll skip the ones I don't know much about.

          Lunch near Ramblas:
          Taverna Basca Irati: Decent pintxo bar. It's owned by Sagardi Group and is pretty much the same as all their many other Basque Taverns in the city.

          Restaurant Elisabets: Never been but it gets mentioned often. It's more of a bar than a restaurant.

          Cafe Granja Viader: I love this place so hard, but they are closed at lunchtime and don't serve much lunch-type food. I would go there for a snack, Their chocolate is good and their desserts are great.

          Near La Boqueria Market:
          Pinotxo Bar: Excellent choice, breakfast and lunch only

          Kiosko Universal: Also very good

          Restaurant la Gardunya

          In Barecloneta:
          La Mar Salada

          In Barri Gotic:
          Cafe de l'Academia

          La Crema Canela: Always struck me as a tourist trap. It's run by a large restaurant group with a central kitchen for all its restaurants. http://www.grupandilana.com/es/restaurantes

          Tapas on Carrer de la Merce in Barri Gotic:
          La Pulperia: I think they mean Bar Celta. It's a great place, they now have another fancier looking branch in the Born.
          http://www.barcelta.com

          La Plata: I love, love, love this place. This is a real deal Catalan tapas bar. They only serve four dishes and their speciality is pescaditos, fried small fish.

          Tasca el Corral

          Sideria Tasca La Socarrena: Great place for a quick stop, Asturian food and cider, orujo, etc. Kind of a dive, but great fun.

          Cerveceria Vendimia

          In Ribera District, near Picasso Museum:
          Sagardi: Good pintxo bar and Basque restaurant.

          Sagardi Euskal Taberna: I think they mean Euskal Etxea. It's run by Sagardi and is basically the same as their namesake place.

          Taller de Tapas: Touristy, but ok. I would go to the one on Rambla de Catalunya in Eixample.

          El Xampanyet: My favourite bar in Barcelona.

          In Eixample:
          La Rita
          La Bodegueta
          Restaurante la Palmera
          Restaurant Flaunta
          Cinc Sentits

          Tapas Bars in Eixample:
          Quasi Queviures

          Ciudad Condal Cervecceria: Meh

          La Tamoia

          And, he also recommended turron at Casa Colomina, Churros con Chocolate at Granja La Pallaresa, and homemade chocolate at Fargas.

          I've never bought anything from Casa Colomina, but you should definitely try some turrons.

          I would skip the churros at La Pallaresa and have one of their other treats. The Suis is a must, though.

          You can find a lot of info on these places if you search this forum. You'll find info on other interesting food places as well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: SnackHappy
            h
            hobbess Mar 27, 2013 09:59 PM

            Wow, thank you so much.

            That was much more helpful and informative than I was expecting. I was just expecting something more general, more of a general impression of those restaurants as a group to know how much I could trust Rick Steves restaurant picks.

            1. re: hobbess
              caganer Mar 28, 2013 05:35 AM

              Basically, if you've posted here, you probably care to much to risk winging it or trusting any books. I think you'll be happy if you spend the time researching and compile your own list. I'm still kicking myself for meals missed by travelling unprepared with tasteless companions (not to say yours will be that)

              It helps to remember Steves' expected audience are sight-seers, not food tourists - we've all met those weird people for whom a full stomach equals a good meal, or worse, see food only as fuel. Just "OK" is usually good enough for most people and, unfortunately, he's writing for them too (I wonder if he is one of them).

              So, I think whether Rick Steve's recommendations are sound depends largely on the place in question - it's harder to find a bad meal in Barcelona than a good one in Bratislava. Travel enough and eventually you'll find yourself hungry, tired and willing to eat chicken kiev at a train station cafe, that's when Rick Steves will save you.

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