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Barcelona Reviews: Quick and Dirty

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Monday dinner at Alkimia. I've lost the conto, but it was our best meal in the five days we were there. Quiet, understated decor; discreet service; excellent wine pairings; and a refined "menu tradicions" consisting of multi-course creative variations upon Catalan cooking. Good value at €58.20.

Tuesday post-opera supper at La Fonda in Hotel España. Chosen because of proximity to the Liceu and its moderniste decor by Doménech. A remarkable room. The kitchen was closing, but one of us had a broad bean with sausage dish and three of us had scallops. All three were ill next day and my wife couldn't leave her bed.

Wednesday night at Tickets. We went, as many do, with suggestions from our waitress. Quite a show. Eleven or twelve "tapas" depending on how you count. I'd echo most of the comments here--the olives, the oyster, the airbags, especially the "viaje nórdico". Didn't care for the "patates confitadas" and weren't charged. Ordered the acorn-fed, 3 year aged ham: ok, but rather dry. The home-cured ham at Els Casals much better.
A Michelin-starred chef had earlier advised us about Tickets: worth a visit but "facile, facile, facile." I'd have to agree.

Thursday night we had a concert at the jaw-dropping Palau de la Música Catalana where we had, pre- and post-, decent tapas at their boisterous bar.

Friday night it was dinner at Coure; our chef-advisor had scored reservations here and, previously, at Alkimia--his two faves in the city. A warning: we were seated at the small ten-seater bar where, we discovered, the tasting menu was unavailable. That was possible only in the basement restaurant. So, à la carte it was and, again, the culinary impulse was variations on Catalunian themes: croquetas, banyoles, an excellent dish of peas--equal to those we had had at El Celler, and especially a dish of espardenyas-- sea cucumbers with artichokes. Quite reasonable: Seven courses plus a half of cava and a decent Martinet white for €188, four of us. The food was fine, but we rather resented being rushed from the bar to make room for
drop-ins.

A word about lunch: we had three of them at Cafe de l'Académia. Convenient to our hotel and touring plans, busy, consistently good. The bullabesa, the escudella, the carpaccios of veal and of tuna, the monkfish, the salads, and especially the cod in many ways were without exception, in their simplicity and excellence of ingredients, fine.

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