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Wilfrid1

Barcelona recommendations

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El Xampanyet has become pretty much a worthless tourist trap. You can get better cava elsewhere, the tapas are expensive and not that great, and the old locals are long gone.

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. :rolleyes:

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Silly -- see ginger milk's post above for the answer to that question.

 

Minor addition to the list: those wandering about the Eixample looking at moderniste buildings could do worse than grabbing lunch at the Cervesería Catalana (C/Mallorca 236), very close to La Pedrera. It's in the Time Out guide but at 3pm was packed, mainly with locals. Food poisoning of as-yet unclear origin had knocked out my by-then two travelling companions, so I was by myself. There's a restaurant space at the back and two bars, one very long one piled with tapas, particularly the variety arranged on little slices of bread; the other holding a miniature fishmongers, with huge platters of raw fish and seafood. I tried to get a seat at the bar but having loitered by a single diner for some time, I noticed that just as he was paying a small boy was also eyeing his stool (so to speak). The boy and I exchanged a pair of looks: mine said 'I'm awfully sorry but I think this is mine, I've been waiting for it for some time now', and his replied 'Sorry, sucker.' Not wanting to get into fisticuffs with an 11-year-old, I conceded gracefully. His mum looked proud, and I noticed him pointing at me and saying something; her reply was presumably something like 'never mind, at least you got the seat'. At least I hope it was.

 

I'd already put myself down for a table in case I failed at the bar, and now I was given one. You can still get tapas; you just point to what you want and give your table number and they bring it over (there's also a printed menu). The bruschetta-ey things were nice, and a plate of really tiny squid taken from the display and freshly fried were great. As you'd expect from the name, they have a large number of beers on offer, though I drank wine.

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Thanks K, missed it on account of getting into this thread too late.

Next time you're around, try Quimet i Quimet (I've plugged this place over and over on eG). They make tapas out of the highest quality preserved/canned stuff, swarming with locals, and a great selection of cava, wine and scotch.

Another good option for tapas (although more basque-style) is Taktika Berri, located in the Eixample, and somewhat close to La Pedrera. If you are early, you can cross the street over to El Xampany, a cava shop with a large selection and great prices, and you can try stuff on site.

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Xampanyet must have slumped in the last couple of years. It always used to be same owners and very reliable - yes, the cava is sweet stuff like Babycham, but I used to like the food a lot.

 

I had one night with a dodgy stomach in Madrid. And indeed, with tapas-crawling, you are left with absolutely no clue what the cause might have been.

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Thanks, S ... Quimet i Quimet is also in Time Out -- beginning to think it's not a bad guide -- although like the vast majority of tapas bars was closed on the one day, Sunday, I had free. Mind you, TO also plugs Mam i Teca in Raval alongside QiQ as one of the best places for tapas, and while that was a very nice little place with enormously engaging (and utterly fluent in English) staff, it had very little actual tapas on the menu ...

 

Speaking of the Raval, anyone stayed in Casa Camper? It looked rather more intruiging than the footwear company's adjacent restaurant, FoodBall, which serves, um, balls of food.

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Thanks, S ... Quimet i Quimet is also in Time Out -- beginning to think it's not a bad guide -- although like the vast majority of tapas bars was closed on the one day, Sunday, I had free. Mind you, TO also plugs Mam i Teca in Raval alongside QiQ as one of the best places for tapas, and while that was a very nice little place with enormously engaging (and utterly fluent in English) staff, it had very little actual tapas on the menu ...

 

Speaking of the Raval, anyone stayed in Casa Camper? It looked rather more intruiging than the footwear company's adjacent restaurant, FoodBall, which serves, um, balls of food.

I must have walked past Mam i Teca a thousand times, but I've never actually tried it. I think it's owned by the same people as Restaurant Es also in the Raval, which started as good value place with decent food, but it's been going steadily down-hill since. For what I've seen/heard , half of the kitchen staff leaves/gets fired every two months or so.

Someone over at eG stayed at casa camper and reported it being just ok, nothing out of the ordinary and a bit expensive at that. The food balls are just awful. My wife, for some strange reason, actually likes them.

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There's a thread in this forum, in which I indicated I had a good stay at Hotel Omm. It's very centrally located, and has a modern design bent. Plus a small outdoor swimming area from which one can view clearly the rooftop of La Predrera (sp). The rates at Omm should not be that much higher than Camper (although I have not stayed at Camper).

 

Restaurant Moo is reportedly (by my traveling companion, who is as reliable as I am in food reporting) not good. Fortunately, for that same meal, I was able to muster the energy to go to Alkimia. If you stay at Omm, do not eat at Moo.

 

We also had bad food at Casa Calvet, the restaurant in one of the less visited buildings designed by Gaudi. Interior has very limited areas that were done by Gaudi. Food was pretty bad.

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Restaurant Moo is reportedly (by my traveling companion, who is as reliable as I am in food reporting) not good. Fortunately, for that same meal, I was able to muster the energy to go to Alkimia. If you stay at Omm, do not eat at Moo.

Consensus seem to indicate that the Roca brothers stamped their name on the restaurant's brand and not much more. While the menu offers dishes from El Celler's previous years, execution is nowhere near.

On the flip side, I find El Celler de Can Roca one of the best and most interesting places to eat around here these days.

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Does anyone have a number for Ca L'Isidre? I have tried googling and international directory enquiries but they have nothing. However, I have seen so many spellings I'm not sure they (or I) were looking for the right thing.

This place really does hide on Google somehow. Strange.

 

Anyway, FYI, here's the website.

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For what it's worth - I was at Ca L'Isidre a couple of months ago.... it was my worst meal of the trip... I would HIGHLY recommend that you to to Gaig instead. Ca L'Isidre's over-priced for what you get. If you do, whatever you do, resist ALL temptation to order their "signature" dish - stewed kid shoulder. You'll end up with a hugh piece of bone and fatty meat...

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The Nov/Dec edition of Gault-Millau magazine has an article on Barcelona. The listed restaurants as Bonnes Tables (Good Restaurants) are:

 

La Cupula

Los Caracoles

Cal Pep

Gaig

Abac

Bar Celta

 

Hotels listed are:

Hotel Omm (see my recommendation above)

Hotel Neri

Dusquesa de Cardona

Relais d'Orsa

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The Neri is a very pleasant place in a great location, right by the cathedral. A small (20-something room) boutique hotel, with the advantages and disadvantages (don't expect miracle-working concierges) that entails. Gorgeous bathrooms.

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Los Caracoles seems out of place there, unless it's had a makeover. Cheerful, hearty traditional food, and usually overrun by tourists. I think it's where I had my first grilled calf's head.

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