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May 16, 2014 02:38 PM

Barcelona next week

Hi all,

Arrive in Barcelona next Saturday AM from Los Angeles, will be there for 5 days before heading to Paris. Will probably do one day trip to Penedes for wine tasting, but would otherwise love recs for Barcelona for Saturday-Thursday. I have the following reservations, which I'd love feedback on, as well as wandering/walk-in suggestions. We're staying in L'Eixample. I eat everything, but my wife does not eat meat (eggs/fish ok), which I think eliminates places like Cinc Sentits.

Saturday - Suculent.
Haven't been able to find much on here about Suculent. I'd like to have a reservation for our first night to help get settled. Is this a keeper?

Sunday - Dinner reservation at Barraca on the beach in Barconaleta. Leaning towards canceling this.

Monday - Day trip to the Penedes region, back by dinner time.

Tuesday - Tickets.
Completely lucked into this reservation. We had a Roca Moo res for that night, but will either cancel it or change to a lunch reservation another day.

Would like to go to Gresca, possibly for lunch. How far in advance do I need a reservation? We'll also probably do La Paradeta one night, or is it better for lunch?

Tapas places & Wine Bars on my list - Cal Pep, Tapas 24, Quimet & Quimet, La Cova Fumada, Bar Mut, Can Paixano, Ceverceria Catalana, Bar Celta, Paco Merlago, Monovinic, La Vinya del Senyor, Disset Graus, Nou Candachu, La Plata
Any feedback on prioritizing?

Other restaurants on my list - Hisop, La Palerma, Palermo, La Llesca (either location?, El Tossal (Haven't seen anything recent about this), Sandro. Would love some current opinions.

We're staying near Carrers Balmes & Valencia, any coffee/breakfast recs? We plan on going to the Boqueria, any other nearby markets?


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  1. Saturday: Suculent, never been there
    Sunday: Barraca on Barconaleta assume you meant Barceloneta; have not eaten there or anywhere else on the Maritim. That area is a recent development overlooking the beach. Great view if that is what you are looking for. Sunday afternoon is best for Barceloneta when it is lively and full of local families. Evenings are quiet. “Leaning towards canceling this" will depend on why and what else you have in mind. I like the old part which have some good places including Kaiku with view of the beach. Will need reservation if you want to sit outside Sunday afternoon. Evening can walk right in.
    Tickets and Moo: not much else to add since lots of info on this board and everywhere else.
    Gresca: generally, weekday dinner reservation can be had a couple of days in advance. If you are set on this restaurant, why not reserve now and not be disappointed. It is very good but no better than many other similar modern Catalan restaurants such as Hisop, Cinc Sentits, Alkimia.
    La Paradeta: same offerings and concept for lunch and dinner.
    You bucket list of tapas places and wine bars:
    On prioritizing: general comment is that none are destinations. If you are dong midday and sightseeing, go to places that are near where you'll be. Crossing town just to eat on one of them is just a waste of time and effort.
    Next will depend on what you are looking for: PacoMeralgo and Cal Pep are more of a sit down full meal type of places. I am not a big fan of Cal Pep, too expensive for what one gets and waiting in line for a seat doesn't appeal to me. I like Quimet & Quimet but as you've probably read, it is a post stamp size that serves simple tapas, almost all good quality canned and cured food; basically no cooking done. Monovinic is not known for food but for tasting of wines. If you want to explore wine, good. If you just want enjoy a glass of wine from an excellent wine list, go to La Vinya del Senyor. They offer a few simple tapas but the wine and the outside ambience is the big draw. Bar Celta is an old style Galician tapas bar that is slowly disappearing. Very basic and mainly for its simple seafood tapas. Very atmospheric in its own way if you want to explore that particular area of the Barri Gotic that also has Asturian cider houses. Better in the evening. I like La Plata and La Cova (both very simple), Bar Mut (very good but expensive and now discovered by NYTimes). I have not been to Tapac24 since they first opened a few years ago; one of the few places that is open for breakfast (also the Boqueria kiosks) if one wants something more substantial than coffee and pastries. Cerverseria Catalana, I’ll pass on. Haven’t been to the rest on your list.
    As for breakfast, locals go for coffee and a pastry, mostly stand up. There are loads of this type of places near your hotel, especially around Ramblas de Catalunya. I like Forn de St. Jaume on the first block of Ramblas de Catalyuna. There are branches of the excellent Escriba, one on Gran Via though might be a few blocks further than one wants. Both have seats.
    Nearby markets: near your hotel? La Concepcio, little further is Sant Antoni; most food markets are similar and with only four days in Barcleona, the Boqueria will more than suffice.

    12 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      The Bar Celta location on Carrer de la Mercè has closed and relocated to Carrer de la Princesa.

      1. re: caga tio

        Thanks for the news. Carrer de la Princesa, that is upscale and high rent. Hope they kept the lighting fixtures and countertops.

        1. re: PBSF

          They opened the Princessa/Comerç location a couple of years ago. I don't know when the one on Mercè closed, but for a while they were both open simultaneously. So it's unlikely they moved the furnishings.

          I only peeked into the Princesa location once and it looked a bit more upscale, but with similar decor. They have a dining room where you can reserve a table and they have some sort of tourist menu. The web site still talks about two locations.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            The Mercè location closed towards the end of April according to their facebook group. They have created a new facebook page, which includes information about the Princesa location.


      2. re: PBSF

        Thanks for all this!

        Between Hisop, Gresca, Alkima and Cinc Sentits, which would best for my circumstances, i.e. I eat everything but my wife does not eat meat. My sense from looking online at menus was that at Cinc Sentits & Hisop meat was probably unavoidable. I had been leaning towards Gresca given its many favorable reviews and as well as seeming to be a tad less $$ than the others (especially for lunch). Am I misreading something?

        1. re: VealParmGuy

          If your wife doesn't not eat meat and you wish to order a tasting menu, all the places you listed will accommodate her. Just let them know when you make your reservation. In the past, Cinc Sentits only offer set menus (no a la carte) but they are some of the nicest people in the restaurant business and would be happy to substitute for any food preferences, etc. It is more expensive than Hisop and Gresca but it is also more polish of a restaurant. As for the cost of lunch, can't comment since I have not been to any of them for lunch.

        2. re: PBSF

          Re: Barraca - my reasons for canceling would be
          1) Can't seem to find much else about it
          2) It's focus is paella, which I've since read is not a Barcelona specialty.
          3) I realize many things are closed on Sunday, but I assume from my wide list something else could go in it's place.

          1. re: VealParmGuy

            Since I haven't been to Barraca, I can't comment on the paella. From my limited experience with the dish in Barcelona, I won't order it. It always taste steamed and without much socarrat.
            Sunday can be difficult in Barcelona. I would go to Barceloneta for lunch, maybe Kaiku to share a simple arroz to start and then a seafood platter. It is one area of Barcelona that is lively Sundays. Parc Guell (buy advance ticket on line) and the Montjuic the others. For evening, make a reservation at PacoMeralgo (lots of seafood and non meat choices). There are quite a number of tapas/pinxtos opened Sunday nights around the Ramblas de Catalunya or El Born/Ribera. Nothing terrific but it is still fun if you just want to have something light to eat after Sunday lunch. A simple way to tapas hopping without investing too much. Just skip all the places on the Pg de Gracia.

            1. re: PBSF

              For Sunday afternoon, would you recommend Kaiku or Con Majo in barceloneta?

              1. re: NYCFoodNWine

                I haven't eaten at Can Majo in more than 5 years, therefore, not much help in that. Kaiku is good for what it is; for a Sunday afternoon at Barceloneta to enjoy platters of seafood cooked a la plancha.

            2. re: VealParmGuy

              Barraca is a rice and seafood restaurant much like all the other places on the seafront. Its focus is not paella. There's more to rice dishes than paella. I haven't been there, but I've read good things and I see no reason for not going.


            3. re: PBSF

              Thank you for La Vinya Del Senyor. It is right around the corner from the apartment we rented and will be our 'local' for the week! Fantastic wines and location plus the staff is very nice and knowledgeable.

            4. Cinq Sentis is fine for pescatarians; I think their best dishes are seafood-based. Lasarte is wonderful, and doable for a pescatarian.

              1. Thanks Everyone.

                For Saturday night, I made a reservation at La Palmera. Any thoughts on this versus Suculent? What about El Passadis del Pep?

                Sunday - PBSF, think I will take your suggestion and head to the beach for lunch rather than dinner.

                I'm leaning towards Gresca for our final lunch Wednesday, but at your suggestion I did email Cinc Sentits to get more information about lunch.

                Forn de St. Jaume looks great, thanks. Do you have a favorite pastry there?

                9 Replies
                1. re: VealParmGuy

                  La Palmera, Suculent or Passadis del Pep? choosing a place to eat always comes back to the reason for picking them. It comes down to if the place meets ones criteria in terms of type of food, ambience, service, budget, convenience, etc. Passadis del Pep is a very different type of place then the first two. I ate there with friends years ago. From my recollection, it has no menu, all seafood, very traditional, tables receive the same dishes. The cost depends on the number of courses. The desserts were crema Catalana and rice pudding with apples. It was not inexpensive but the quality of the seafood is high. Think around 60 euros per person including copious amount of cava and wine.
                  Favorite pastry at Forn de St. Jaume: I general go there for morning coffee and their breakfast pastries: almond croissant, beignet, coca. Those are best in the morning when they are fresh. Don't buy them in the afternoon as they are dry by then. It is not a high-end or to die for pastry shop but does a good job with traditional Spanish things, a good sweet goat cheese tart and hazelnut cake. Their cookies are good but skip the chocolates. There is a small counter for seating though not a place to linger too long. There are better pastry shops in Barcelona but most are take out only and do not pump coffee. There is a branch of Turris on Aribau between Rosello and Corsega that has excellent bread and good pastries but no seating or coffee. And there are couple of Bricafe (sort of Starbuck without the stigma) in the Eixample. Decent coffee, convenient, plenty of seating, very serviceable, and lots of locals. If you are down at the Ramblas, a beautiful branch of Escriba is near the Boqueria. Their pastries such as croissants and tarts are more French, lots of butter. There is a small seating area in the back and on a sunny day, few outside tables on the side alley (to avoid the crowd of the Ramblas).

                  1. re: PBSF

                    I'll add my voice to the Forn de Sant Jaume suggestion. They make a mean xuxo and I do believe they have a terrasse on the middle of the rambla.

                    Also, I think you mean Bracafe (Cafe Brasil) and not Bricafe. Serviceable is a good qualifier. There are much better place for coffee, but they are few and far between.

                    I'm not a fane of Escriba, but that's because the one time I went there we met with snooty service and mediocre macarons.

                    1. re: SnackHappy

                      Thanks for the correction on Bracafe; bad speller here. The xuixo at Forn de St Jaume is really good. We call them fried bombs. Also good ones at Forns del Pi on carrer Ferran.

                    2. re: PBSF

                      Saturday will be our first night, but I have no idea how jet lag will affect us so I'd rather not make it one of our big dinners. Passadis del Pep sounds great, but also probably not the best choice for those circumstances.

                      Beignets, croissants and coffee is a perfect breakfast. I just googled Xuixo, and they look amazing. Glad to know this is right nearby.

                      For Sunday night, Paco Merlago can only take a reservation at 10. I'd normally be ok with this, but we have to be up in the morning for a day trip to Penedes for wine tasting. They said they take walk-ins at the bar. Is that doable, or are we better off hitting up the Born for Euskal Etxea, Bar Celta, Disset Graus etc?

                      1. re: VealParmGuy

                        Bar seating at PacoMeralgo is great but it only has about 22 seats and no standing allow. Unless you go there early, ie, 7pm or before, most lightly you'll have to wait and it can be long, unless one is lucky.
                        Is bar hopping at El Born better? depends on how much energy you have. It is probably the best choice for Sunday nights when places are shut. There will be places open. Just stroll down c/Argenteria, around to Pl. and c/Montcada then up to c/de la Princesa. Alternatively there are number of tapas/pintxos bars around your hotel, mostly around the first couple blocks of Ramblas de Catalunya and about. If necessary, Cerverseria Catalana and it's sister Ciudad Condal are always open with plenty of seating. Food is ok but good people watching. This area is the best for Sunday night in the Eixample. The rest of the Eixample is quiet on a Sunday night, long blocks of not much happening. Since there is no reservation for any of them, just play it by ear.

                        1. re: PBSF

                          Great, thanks. Also, my wife is a big cider fan, what are Asturian cider houses you mentioned above?

                          1. re: VealParmGuy

                            Most of barcelona's sidrerias are on c/Merce in the lower Barri Gotic: Socarrena, Tasca al Corral, Casa del Molinero. One can order Spanish cider in just about any pintxos bars. One of the best, Taktika Berri is near your hotel. Also very good Basque food in the back dining room. Spanish cider is flat and very tart.

                            1. re: PBSF

                              Sidra isn't flat. Since it's naturally carbonated--you're supposed to drink it immediately after it's poured (el escanciado or txotx) in one drink--if you do, it's very bubbly. If you wait even a minute or two, the carbonation dissipates.

                              1. re: butterfly

                                Thanks, I'll have to drink it much quicker.