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Apr 15, 2013 02:14 PM

Barcelona - are my two favourite places still great ?

Hello everyone,

I was last in Barcelona in 2007.

My two favourite places were Paco Meralgo for marvelous tapas ( though quite pricey, as I recall ) and La Paradeta (Born ) for brilliant value seafood.

I am returning in a few weeks and so wonder

- are these places still great ?

- where else would you recommend for traditional or modern Catalan cuisine ?

- where else must I not miss, irrespective of cuisine

We are staying near the cathedral but always happy to travel for great food.

Thanks for any help you can give.

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  1. I haven't been to Paco Meralgo since 2010 so I can't say anything about that. A friend who's opinion I trust went last year and enjoyed it very much.

    I did go to La Paradeta last september. Overall, I was rather happy with the experience, but I thought something was a bit off in the kitchen. This could have had more to do with the fact that it was the monday of Le Mercè, that they were open exceptionally on that day and sunday night and that the crew in the kitchen might not have been at the top of their game. A few items came out overcooked. Otherwise, it was the same as I remembered it. Still, great seafood at great prices.

    As for your other questions, I didn't go to many restaurants on my last trip there. I was so busy running around from one Mercè activity to another that I mostly ate in bars. I did have a great lunch at Goliard, although I'm not sure it's worth the schlep from the Barri Gotic.

    1. LOVED Paco Meralgo in Nov. '12. Here's my post.

      Our only other splurge meal was Tickets Bar but sounds like you too close in for that. How about their 44 degrees next door And I understand they/he have just opened another place. Enjoy.

      5 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        Thanks for this folks

        Do you mean 41 degrees - the posh cocktails place ?
        Has anyone eaten there ?

        Also see that Gelonch gets good write up.
        Anyone have any views on that ?

        Or Bar Mut ?

        Or new kid on the block Pakta ?

        1. re: willowan

          I ate at 41 Degees a few weeks ago - one of the best nights of my life! Everything about it was spectacular! It's not just a cocktail bar though (unless you go after midnight). It's a 41 course global journey that is designed to appeal to all the senses. Very expensive but completely worth it for the unique experience, stellar service and amazing food and drink that will have you smiling and laughing throughout the several hour meal. See my blog post for more info and tons of photos.

          1. re: ksyoung

            I loving you blog but I have a slow connection. Mind telling me what it cost pp?

              1. re: SnackHappy

                Thanks. I should have checked there.

      2. love both these two and have been there in the past 6 months, still great at what they do. Went to the Paradeta up near Sagrada Familia last time - perhaps a tad roomier than the one in Born, just as busy, buzzy and fun and seafood cooked a la planxa was beautifully done, not overcooked. Bill for 3 of us (+ 1 6 yrold) with tuna, gambas, squid, oysters, cockles 1 bottle verdejo and 1 ice tea was €60. Paco M gave fab squash blossoms ozzing mozzarella, tortillitas de camarones, sauted ceps, tortilla alcachofas (a bit dry), fab chipirons and rabbit sizzling in a cassola and groaning with garlic - but this was October so autumnal fare. As ever, it's busy/brisk, and the food fresh & fabulously tasty.
        Of course there are loads of other places, all extensively covered on these boards and elsewhere - fun to try out new ones?

        11 Replies
        1. re: Sue Style

          Hmm - this is tough as I am going with 3 friends who have never been before and I love both P and PC but did go to them with my ex SO so new places may be psychologically prudent !

          Any particular recommendations , given that we seem to have reasonably similar tastes ?!

          Genlonch ?
          Bar Mut

          both seem to be quite well written up...

          I almost went to Onofre last time I visted - is that any good ? Perhaps for lunch ?

          Oh and is anywhere particularly good for squid or octopus ?

          Thanks for any further pointers you can give !

          1. re: willowan

            had lunch [lonch?] at gelonch not too long ago and wasn't blown away - preferred Alkimia by far. Dunno Bar Mut or Onofre. In my experience almost anyone does a good job with squid; octopus a bit more iffy, can be rubbery. For tapas, excellent cava and a cool vibe, try El Xiringo down in Barceloneta...hope all lives up to expectations

            1. re: willowan

              You should do a tapas trek on Merce:
              Bar Celta, calle de la Merce 16 for pulpo-octopus
              Bar la Plata, c/Merce 28, sardines,peccadillos (only 4 menu items)
              La Socarrena, Merce 21, queso de Cabrales
              Take Princessa to Via Laietana to Merce
              Still, Paco Meralgo reigns for fried baby squid (txipirones frites)
              Tomato bread + patata bravos--best aioli!!! Close to La Pedrera if you want to combine the two. I still crave their patata bravos!

              1. re: RomeAddict

                I like your list of addresses on Carrer Mercè. those are some of my favourite places in Barcelona.

                I would make a few corrections to what you wrote: it's pescaditos and patatas bravas or patates braves in Catalan. Also Paco Meralgo isn't that close to La Perdrera. It's in another neighbourhood.

                1. re: SnackHappy

                  Yes, it its. Same neighbourhood (Eixample) and just 10 minutes walking.

                  Pescaditos -> Peixet fregit in Catalan ;)


                  1. re: catAlan

                    Not to get all finicky, even though that's exactly what I'm going to do, but L'Eixample is a district not a neighbourhood and Paco Meralgo is in L'Antiga esquerra de l'Eixample whilst Casa Milà is in La Dreta de l'Eixample.

                    And it's not just a line on a map. When you do the walk from one place to the other you do feel like you are going from one neighbourhood to another, notably when you cross Balmes. That being said, it's not a very long walk. Google maps puts it at 13min and 1.1Km.

                    1. re: SnackHappy

                      Thanks for this geography lesson of my city and my neighbourhood. I really appreciate your knowledge.

                      1. re: catAlan

                        Don't mention it. For a good while, it was my city as well.

                2. re: RomeAddict

                  Has Bar Celta moved to its new spot (off Merce) yet? I believe they were operating in both spots when I was there in January, but the plan was to move to just the new spot (because of an issue with the Merce building owner),

                3. re: willowan

                  Bar Mut is still great--see if they'll tell you about their 'secret' club around the corner, Club Mutis.
                  Check out Joel at for a half day cooking class.
                  Quimet e Quimet, 12-4, is fun for a Mon since the fish market is closed + buy some of their balsamic glaze.
                  La Cova Fumado, 9-3:30, 6-8:30, calle Baluard 56, Barceloneta, fried artichokes,Gambians,clams,calamari alla Planca
                  El Xiringo,also Barceloneta

              2. Dined twice at Paco Meralgo last week as I had saved our last trip day for a repeat of our favorite. Paco won! Best tomato bread, patatas bravos + fried baby squid in town!
                Best splurge meal was Cinc Sentis, foodie heaven. Foie gras app that's divinely memorable. Had the 7 course offering + it was flawless!
                If you're there the first weekend of the month, don't miss the Mercat del Art de la Planca de Sant Joseph Oroil--great art by local artists. The adjacent Fira Artesana, food market, has fab honey, cheese + nuts. Have lunch at Tallers de Tapas right there + enjoy.
                Fav shop was Gispert, calle Sombrers 23, since 1851, almonds from their 1851 roaster, saffron, choc, spices.
                Return trips were also made to Patisseria Hofman, Flassaders 44, framboise, almond croissants to die for.
                Gorgeous Hotel Espana, Sant Paul 9-11 has tours M-F at 12:15 + 4:30; renovated 1903 by Montaner
       for concert tickets, saw Verdi's Nabucco at the Palau de la Musica Catalunya...fabulous.
                Cool little oil/vinegar shop, Vom Fass, Cigne 14, has super gift packs. Owners Carlos + Phillip are terrific!!
                A day trip to Monserrat was fantastic, awe-inspiring views.
                LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Barcelona!!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: RomeAddict

                  Just as a reference for future readers, the Fira d'Artesans de la Plaça del Pi is only on the first and third weekend of the month and on certain holidays. I believe the Mercat del Art de la Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol follows the same schedule.