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An open letter to two esteemed members who are making their first trip to this, one of my three favorite cities, later this summer. Veterans might wish to skip the "obvious" section:   Obvious thin

On many trips to Barcelona, I stayed in an apartment rented out by its owner. I found it in the columns of a newspaper or magazine, and it was great value (they since sold it) - but it's worth lookin

Agree re the cava - it was awful.   The tapas was good though, and the atmosphere fun.   In terms of cost, a couple of poker players shouted our bill.

I'm with Rohan on location, if I were a tourist I would stay in the Eixample. Barcelona is small enough such that you can walk from the Eixample to the Barri Gotic or the Raval (where the MACBA is) in 15-20 minutes (and it's a NICE walk too). And if you don't like walking, buses are a terrific to see the city.


Foodwise I would not miss Dos Palillos, one of the best places that have sprung up in the city in the past 5 years or so, again, IMHO.

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I don't know if I said that but I agree anyway.


Other side of Via Laietana might suit you.

I had no idea that area uptown ( I have no idea what the nomenclature is, but away from the water) from El Born but still in the old town had a name.


That is Sant Pere, straight "uptown" from El Borne and between Via Laietana and Parc de la Ciutadella. Not a beautiful area either, IMHO.

If you were a tourist what neighborhood would you want to stay in? As a local are there any online sources (blogs, professional websites, etc) you recommend for info on dining, events, etc. English, Spanish - I could even entertain myself with things in Catalan if they are especially note worthy.


I think the locals all stay outside the city.


Last time we were near Placa de Catalunya, which is a quick stroll from the old city. (I guess that counts as Eixample). Thinking about it, the area just around MACBA isn't half bad either, but not a few blocks down...


I like Madrid much better though, so I'd discount my opinion.

Do you prefer Madrid because of the food or are there other reasons? Just curious.

Barcelona is beautiful - and, for me the sea was a big draw - but I find Madrid a much more natural, spontaneous city. I heard that the girl who sang at the start of Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona - which I haven't seen and which I understand was partly financed by the Barcelona City Council or Tourist Board - recently said in an interview that she's moved to Berlin because Barcelona has become too 'controlled'. Barcelona is still a great city, but I understand what she means.


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  • 1 month later...

three days in Barcelona, i think i'm still recovering from the intense pace and all that walking. and i started with a scratchy throat by had a full-on cold by the time we landed. thankfully they had some miracle euro meds and i was fine the next day.


SD, thank you for the Dos Palillos rec, it was just a couple of blocks from where were staying and perfect for the first night as i was still under the weather. we did tapas at the bar and while they were out of a couple of interesting things, the Jap Burger was really delicious. slider rather than burger, it was charred but still quite rare and well seasoned, with shiso, cucumber and ginger. we had a bunch of those. anything meat was really good, like the cantonese style iberico spare rib or bun with char grilled pork. shrimp and pork belly dumplings were underwhelming and perfectly nice shrimp were unfortunately marred by an awful goopy greasy sauce. overall very enjoyable.


favorite meal of the trip was the last one - dinner at Paco Meralgo. Orik, thanks for suggesting this, we LOVED it. the langoustines, clams, scallops, gigantic oysters from Galicia, and the most fabulous prawns from Palamos. we sat at the counter, as we usually prefer, right in front of those beauties and just started ordering all of those. had some vegetables too - delicious pajaritos (similar to calcot) deep fried with romesco, wonderful favas with morcilla and pork, excellent pan con tomate, good cod fritters. the one dish that didn't live up to the rest was the bomba with spicy sauce, a little sour and like from a different restaurant. finished with torrija de Santa Teresa, which was aptly described as Catalan french toast, very good. but the seafood was the highlight.


El Quim at the Boqueria was good but we were too cash poor to truly take advantage of the offerings. some great razor clams, snails with chorizo, morcilla. next time we'll be ready. and finally no one looking at me funny for having a glass of wine at 9am


Cerveceria Catalana is quite a scene for weekend lunch with people waiting for tables and counter seats. the hostess said to grab a seat at the bar - "and quickly" - so that's what we did after a short wait and stalking a couple of stools. the displays of calcot, asparagus and mushrooms were hard to resist (i usually fall for anything mushroom, asparagus or onion family), all were good, the mushrooms came with jabugo, there was more jabugo to follow. and excellent langoustines. letdowns: patatas bravas ad peppers with brandade. portions were pretty large here so we got stuffed pretty fast. tried trifasico (coffee with milk and brandy) - thank you, whoever recomended it, it was just what i needed.


there was more eating but i'll have to finish another time



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Hisop was another very good meal, the most high-end of the trip. had the tasting and the lunch prix fixe, both of which started with a couple of amuses: cauliflower cream with caviar (farmed in Spain) followed by chipirones with tiniest favas, ham and mint. both very good.


i don't remember which menu each dish was from but here's what we had - most of them can be found on the regular menu:


a little chewy octopus with romanesco puree and terrific calcot on puff pastry (i could have eaten a whote tart of that and be very happy)


very good risotto with foie and cepes


excellent hake with pea sauce, bacon, seaweed foam (very subtle) - great spring dish, even though i rarely get excited by cooked fish. interestingly, i'm seeing more and more hake on NY menus


turbot with black truffles was good, with some sort of potato liquid


venison with chocolate sauce, carrot mandarine puree (or coulis?) and some seriuosly oversalted cabbage. the venison was cooked beautifully and delicious on its own but the dish did not work.


spectacular cheese course - 9 cheeses, all but two Spanish, very generous portions. creamy, tangy fresh Catalonian goat cheese i loved, a fantastic taleggio, very good manchego, truffled sheep cheese, aged Catalonian goat taht wass terrific, very good livarot and wonderful Catalonian blue, followed but the extra potent creamy ones. the mountain one would clear anything in its way, powerful and lingering.


there was a dessert and some pre-dessert too, both nice but hardly competition for the cheeses. the meal was paired with Catalonian wines, which worked well.



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Imagine if Paco Meralgo could open in New York. It would be something of a hit. Of course, they'd need to bring all the ingredients with them.

Ushiwakamaru had Chiperones last friday. I asked excitedly if he got them here picturing myself becoming better acquainted w/ a deep fryer "No flown in from Japan". Hopes dashed.


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also, the beautiful modernist Escriba on Rambla (there are other locations)- one of my favorite pastry shops for their fantastic croissants (possibly the best i've had anywhere), bunuelos and crunchy sugar covered pastries filled with cream.


Vila Viniteca - possibly my favorite store in Barcelona. terrific wine store, where we picked up a few interesting bottles, including a white from Priorat and Quinta Sardonia, which i can't wait to try. great staff, they offered to show us the cellar and we tasted some wine made near Madrid. they own a food store across the street with more great meats, cheeses, etc. plus a few seats to eat and drink.


also, i happened upon a small open-air market of Catalonian products in Placa del Pi, a charming little square, on Sunday night. i think it was open till 8 or 9pm. lots of fantastic raw milk cheeses, also honey, some sweets, iirc. we managed to bring some cheese and honey home, although we ate the more powerful and oozy ones right away.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Very excited we're going back to Barcelona soon for a long weekend, our first time there in ten years. Looking forward to seeing how the place has changed. Thanks to this thread we have reservations at Cinq Sentis, Commerc24, Paco Meralgo, and Hisop. looking forward to eating, drinking, and walking a lot!

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Very excited we're going back to Barcelona soon for a long weekend, our first time there in ten years. Looking forward to seeing how the place has changed. Thanks to this thread we have reservations at Cinq Sentis, Commerc24, Paco Meralgo, and Hisop. looking forward to eating, drinking, and walking a lot!

We are leaving next Friday for a week. Quite excited as well.

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Seth & AB - have fun! eating, drinking and walking is the best, isn't it?


i don't think i mentioned Tapac 24 (more casual offshoot of Comerc 24). a bit of a mixed meal although a lot of it was very good (the wine, not so much). Another version of bikini (grilled cheese and iberico sandwich), this one with truffles and buffala, very good. also very good bomba with spicy sauce, fantastic croquetes de pernil (we ate a ton of those) and great fried artichokes. curry lamb skewers were ok. albondigas con sepia had a sour tang to them, eh. very good small fried baby hake. the McFoie was fine, nothing too exciting.

they are open all hours and every day, including breakfast iirc and convenient if you are shopping on Passeig de Gracia (it's just off it)


another place that's open on Sunday if you need breakfast or lunch (or dinner i guess too) is Bubo. hole in the wall but some nice tapas and desserts from the Bubo chocolate store next door. outdoor seating, too. the chocolates next door were quite good and many unusual flavors like pan con tomate, basil, wasabi, plus delicious salty caramel.


both are just behind La Vinya del Senyor in Placa Santa Maria, cute little wine bar we seem to end up in on every trip. it's tiny but with a massive selection of wines offered as tastes, glasses, etc. and pretty good tapas. anything meaty and foie was good.

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