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Monvinic is a new wine bar that has been getting some serious hype -- e.g. "the best wine bar in the world". I won't go that far but but is a nice place to have a glass of wine and some charcuterie, cheese etc. It combines a wine library, restaurant etc.

Some good wines by the glass but nothing really exotic. I had a Verdejo, an excellent young Priorat and a Ribera del Duero.

I chatted to one of the waiters for a bit and he said he would give me some recommendations for Rioja with a really good QPR. He went off and came back with a bit of paper with "CUNE and Rioja Alta" written on it.

...

 

We stopped at Monvinic for an after dinner quaff when were were in Barcelona last year. It was a fun place and I loved their use of a tablet for the wine list.

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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.

The gf (now fiancée) and I are going to Barcelona and Madrid for our vacation (now honeymoon).

 

Unfortunately our hotel always has to be central, and walkable to sights. For Barcelona, we'll be looking at the central old city (Barri Gòtic, El Born-La Ribera) neighborhoods; and for Madrid, maybe Los Austrias/Sol.

 

This means we'll be surrounded by overpriced, crappy tourist restaurants, but we ate well in Rome and Istanbul thanks to careful research, so I'm optimistic about Spain. We may stick to Eastern time so we can dine out as late as Madrileños, but then we'd have less daytime for sights, so maybe we'll end up living on tapas.

 

What puzzles me the most now is which cooking class to pick in Barcelona. We loved those in other travels. Tripadvisor favors one (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d611509-Reviews-Cook_and_Taste-Barcelona_Catalonia.html ), but its lowest-star feedback complains that there's not much hand-on cooking and the recipes aren't great. I'm trusting Tripadvisor less over the years. When overwhelmingly uninformed people pick the best-rated venues, they tend to rate them well no matter what, and I see self-reinforcing feedback of less objective praise.

 

So I'm googling for other Barcelona cooking classes. http://www.catacurian.com/2005_programs.html , despite its link, is current and looks like it has a variety of good choices. Of course, Google search results are victim to that self-reinforcing feedback too.

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The gf (now fiancée) and I are going to Barcelona and Madrid for our vacation (now honeymoon).

 

Unfortunately our hotel always has to be central, and walkable to sights. For Barcelona, we'll be looking at the central old city (Barri Gòtic, El Born-La Ribera) neighborhoods; and for Madrid, maybe Los Austrias/Sol.

 

This means we'll be surrounded by overpriced, crappy tourist restaurants, but we ate well in Rome and Istanbul thanks to careful research, so I'm optimistic about Spain. We may stick to Eastern time so we can dine out as late as Madrileños, but then we'd have less daytime for sights, so maybe we'll end up living on tapas.

 

What puzzles me the most now is which cooking class to pick in Barcelona. We loved those in other travels. Tripadvisor favors one (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d611509-Reviews-Cook_and_Taste-Barcelona_Catalonia.html ), but its lowest-star feedback complains that there's not much hand-on cooking and the recipes aren't great. I'm trusting Tripadvisor less over the years. When overwhelmingly uninformed people pick the best-rated venues, they tend to rate them well no matter what, and I see self-reinforcing feedback of less objective praise.

 

So I'm googling for other Barcelona cooking classes. http://www.catacurian.com/2005_programs.html , despite its link, is current and looks like it has a variety of good choices. Of course, Google search results are victim to that self-reinforcing feedback too.

 

there is no reason not to stay in l'eixample in Barca. I've stayed all over the generally touristic areas and L'eixample is by far the best. Its where all the restos you will want to go to are, but still a very easy walk down into el born/el raval/barri gotic. Not to mention its where all the Gaudi sights are and is much closer to transit to get out to more outlying sights.

 

Madrid is more like Istanbul/Rome where you have to make the tourist trap tradeoff - tho not as bad as those two cities because the tourist traps in Madrid are not as cynical as central Rome or Sultanhamet. Not to say BCN isn't cynically touristic -its almost becoming florence-esque. If that makes any sense at all. Try and see something at the Palau de la Musica Catalana. We just took the tour, but an amazing space.

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The gf (now fiancée) and I are going to Barcelona and Madrid for our vacation (now honeymoon).

 

Unfortunately our hotel always has to be central, and walkable to sights. For Barcelona, we'll be looking at the central old city (Barri Gòtic, El Born-La Ribera) neighborhoods; and for Madrid, maybe Los Austrias/Sol.

 

This means we'll be surrounded by overpriced, crappy tourist restaurants, but we ate well in Rome and Istanbul thanks to careful research, so I'm optimistic about Spain. We may stick to Eastern time so we can dine out as late as Madrileños, but then we'd have less daytime for sights, so maybe we'll end up living on tapas.

 

What puzzles me the most now is which cooking class to pick in Barcelona. We loved those in other travels. Tripadvisor favors one (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d611509-Reviews-Cook_and_Taste-Barcelona_Catalonia.html ), but its lowest-star feedback complains that there's not much hand-on cooking and the recipes aren't great. I'm trusting Tripadvisor less over the years. When overwhelmingly uninformed people pick the best-rated venues, they tend to rate them well no matter what, and I see self-reinforcing feedback of less objective praise.

 

So I'm googling for other Barcelona cooking classes. http://www.catacurian.com/2005_programs.html , despite its link, is current and looks like it has a variety of good choices. Of course, Google search results are victim to that self-reinforcing feedback too.

 

there is no reason not to stay in l'eixample in Barca. I've stayed all over the generally touristic areas and L'eixample is by far the best. Its where all the restos you will want to go to are, but still a very easy walk down into el born/el raval/barri gotic. Not to mention its where all the Gaudi sights are and is much closer to transit to get out to more outlying sights.

 

Madrid is more like Istanbul/Rome where you have to make the tourist trap tradeoff - tho not as bad as those two cities because the tourist traps in Madrid are not as cynical as central Rome or Sultanhamet. Not to say BCN isn't cynically touristic -its almost becoming florence-esque. If that makes any sense at all. Try and see something at the Palau de la Musica Catalana. We just took the tour, but an amazing space.

 

Thanks, Anthony. I hadn't considered Eixample seriously, since that nabe seemed mostly about shopping. On the other hand, good local restaurants are a plus. And maybe local retail hours means less clubbing noise.

 

Signed,

I Don't Care If 40 Is The New 30, I Go Home When the Next Generation Is Going Out

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Barcelona mavens might enjoy reading my Pink Pig Time Machine post on a visit to the city I made ten years ago. On the whole, it can hardly count as "recommendations," but I couldn't help noticing how little the menu at Ca L'Isidre has changed: the stuffed pig trotter with black truffles I ate ten years ago, you could order tonight.

 

This also features my unforgettable encounter with horse tartar.

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Has anyone mentioned the bread? We ate in a wide variety of places and, with one exception (Cal Pep)the bread was exceptional. Superb. I have a lot of errands to do today, but when I have some time, I'll post about our trip.

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Having been to Barcelona some six months ago - I have one recommendation: DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME. Unless of course, you're totally consummed with Gaudi.

Huh? I have been to Barcelona twice and adored it. Outside of Gaudi there is other great architecture and design, the Miro foundation, the Picasso museum, the maritime museum, the Gothic quarter. Very good food to be had, excellent night life. And, oh,yeah, the Catalan culture. It's a great walking city, too.

 

And, I've never had decent bread in Spain, either.

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Peggy and I were there in October. Peggy had been there before and loved it. After this time - not so much.

 

Was spat upon when I politely refused to give one of the many beggars money. Asking for information while shopping in a store, was virtually ignored and dismissed. The streets were filthy, even by NYC standards. And the side streets were populated by less than stellar citizens who were obviously baiting people and looking for trouble. There was a scene with two rival middle eastern sects, where one woman spayed an Islamic butcher with tear gas or mace.

 

We walked the city for about 8-9 hours and yes, some of the architecture was fascinating. The food, with the exception of the open air market, was mediocre at best (both lunch and dinner).

 

Las Ramblas is nothing more than an elongated Times Square with more hucksters than Barnum & Bailey. Most of the stores are Starbucks, McDonalds and (suprisingly) Burger King. Oh yes, there are the tacky souvenir shops as well.

 

As Peggy said this was not the Barcelona she remembered. It's a dirty New York City during the Dinkins administration without the civility or food. Diamond of the Med.??? - more like cubic zarconia.

 

I must add the other cities and towns were visited in Spain and Portugal were spactacular (Lisbon (great food), Seville (great tapas), Cadiz, Malaga, Cartagena, etc)

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As much as I love Barcelona, I can easily see how someone could have a terrible time there. All of Las Ramblas and increasingly El Born is filled with tourist rip-offs, there are a lot of panhandlers, and petty crime is pretty endemic..

 

 

ETA: I've also never had bread in spain that was better than acceptable.

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As much as I love Barcelona, I can easily see how someone could have a terrible time there. All of Las Ramblas and increasingly El Born is filled with tourist rip-offs, there are a lot of panhandlers, and petty crime is pretty endemic..

ETA: I've also never had bread in spain that was better than acceptable.

Yes, Barcelona is the only big city I have traveled to where someone attempted to grab my bag (this was in the late 90s). And avoid Las Ramblas is good advice. Still loved it, had a great time. I think you just have to have your street smarts dialed up a bit in a case like that. But that you can still enjoy what the city has to offer.

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