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Barca, Costa Brava and Madrid report

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Chow Friends.
Just returned from a week in Barca, Begur and Madrid. Would like to re-pay the favor of all who have contributed.
(Alas, we never made it off wait list for Cellar de Can Roca and had to cancel reservations at Hisop, which I’d picked after much consultation on this site. We were too long at Sagrada Familia, which was magical in its own way. Ours was mostly a “small plate” tour.)
In Barcelona - made it to both Pinotxo and Cal Pep - both were great shows and yummy food. Highlight at Pinotxo (where we were lucky and snagged seats toward end of lunch at 2:00) was cod with garlic. At Cap Pep, had to wait out the first seating (with some wine) after arriving at 7:45. The staff was very welcoming; they will assemble a menu of tapas based on your desires (and restrictions). Both places had super fresh ingredients, cooked well – but nothing terribly artful.
Based on previous threads here we made it to Paco Meralgo and I must admit to being disappointed. We arrived early and found seats at the window counter. The staff did not seem happy to have us there. Most of the food was under-seasoned. Did not feel like a “destination” meal.
If anyone is heading to the Costa Brava we had two very nice meals: Sa Rascassa (Aiguafreda)– very fresh fish cooked wonderfully in an ocean side setting and then at our hotel at Galena Mas Comangau (Begur). There was a beachside restaurant at Aiguablava that looked hopping and delicious but that closed 5:00 just as we were ready to eat something.
Back in Madrid for a night we had a highlight night at Juanlaloca. They served delicious and, yes, artful tapas in a very comfortable setting (where we were also able to watch the World Cup finals). Outstanding torta espana and a dish of boletus (porcini) and truffles with egg over charred bread that was darn near a perfect dish. Excellent tuna carpaccio with saffron puffed rice and almond oil. Also in Madrid, I’d highly recommend a visit to Mercado San Miquel – totally fun concept where each vendor sells bites of her/his wares. Real fun if you have kids since variety is a plenty and don’t need to commit to much. Also had some lovely pinchos on C. Cava Baja. There are a number of appealing places along this hopping street.
Hope this is helpful and happy eating to any who are on their way.

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  1. very helpful post...thank you.

    we're staying at hostal sa rascassa in september and looking forward to it.

    1. From Barcelona to Begur - did you require a car or did you take a train? How many days would you recommend to stay at Barcelona/Begur? Thank you.

      2 Replies
      1. re: GCSanFrancisco

        Hi GCS,
        I would VERY MUCH recommend a car for the trip to Costa Brava. We took the train from Barca to Girona and rented a car there. Girona is an interesting and historic town. Admittedly, we decided to rent a car after we'd bought train tickets. I was very happy we had the car: Begur is a pleasant town but you'll want a car to get to the beaches and sites of Costa Brava. They have windy, steep roads - but not too far off from CA coast. One certainly could rent a car in Barcelona and drive up the coast which probably would be less expensive.
        Tough to answer question two: I think I could spend a lifetime in Barcelona. I think you could hit major sites (and bites) in 3 days but would be more satisfied with 5. Begur itself is only a day's worth but the Costa Brava and beaches are worth a few more. We were there only two nights and I'd add one or two more if I had to do it over - I'd head up to see the Dali sites in addition to beaching we did.
        Have fun,

        1. re: dloons

          im staying in barca for 4 nights and begur for 5...with a car rented from bcn airport (for begur only). figure we'll be in begur and beach towns but will spend a day in girona and perhaps a day in cadeques.