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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.

Actually, I did email Cinc Sentits and Cellar de Can Roca (sp?) and got no answers at all, which is why I asked the hotel to help. I'm sure you're right though, that the places they suggested are where they think tourists would like to go.

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Actually, I did email Cinc Sentits and Cellar de Can Roca (sp?) and got no answers at all, which is why I asked the hotel to help. I'm sure you're right though, that the places they suggested are where they think tourists would like to go.

I'm surprised Cinq Sentits didn't email you back. I was there a year ago with only a weeks' notice, so it couldn't have taken them long to get back to me, maybe a day or two. Try them again - it could be busy because of the holidays - it's worth it :)

 

Although I normally make reservations myself, I booked Cellar de Can Roca through American Express because of the short time frame. Maybe you have a card with travel service benefits that could make the reservation?

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It turns out that both el Celler and Cinc Sentits are closed on Christmas, which is undoubtedly why I didn't hear back from them. I don't want to give them an undeserved repuutation for not answering their mail.

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As far as Arola goes, I very much like his Madrid flagship La Broche on the basis of two visits. Imaginative food, still rooted in recognizable Spanish traditions, and above all tasty. I haven't been to the Barcelona outpost.

 

A review of La Broche here.

 

ETA: There's an "Arola" in Madrid, so I assume it's a more casual version of what he's doing at La Broche, although I certainly recognize some of the tapas here. Click on the photos. Those patatas bravas are a marvel.

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Restaurant “Duck´s a la menta”

Never heard of it.

 

Restaurant “Mesón 5 jotas”:

Passable, not mind blowing.

 

“Taller de Tapas”:

I would do either Celler de Tapas on Universitat or Lonja de Tapas on Pla de Palau instead, much more interesting and better product.

 

Restaurant “Fernández”:

Never Heard of it.

 

I'm sorry to disappoint you Abra, but none of these places, as far as I know, are close in quality to the original options on your list. Have you tried the hotel restaurants like Moo, Drolma, Abac, EVO, Caelis? Those might be open and a good option. If not, then maybe one of Barceloneta's rice and seafood oriented restaurants (Can Ramonet, Can Majo, etc) or a product place like Rias De Galicia might work too. YMMV, as I don't know who's open on Xmas and who isn't.

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If the Boqueria Market is open while you are there, you must go to:

 

El Quim de la Boqueria

584 Mercat de la Boqueria

Barcelona

34/93-301-9810

 

serious breakfast buffs—vendors, foodies, the city's top chefs—gather at El Quim de la Boqueria (584 Mercat de la Boqueria; 34/93-301-9810; breakfast for two $22), Quim Márquez Durán's pocket-sized stand, where the stove is flanked by the extravagant produce that inspires his meals.

 

It is only open at noon.

 

 

And you must go to the Santa Catarina market if it is open.

 

Barcelona Santa Caterina Market recently reopened after a seven-year renovation by noted architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue. Underneath a theatrically undulating roof with 200,000 colored tiles are dozens of stalls run by Spain’s finest purveyors (look for the olive oil shop Olisoliva) and one of the city’s most happening restaurants, Cuines Santa Caterina; try the asparagus, grilled on a plancha, with romesco (Francesc Cambó 16; 011-34-93-319-5740 or mercatsantacaterina.net).

 

Have a great trip. I am jealous.

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I want to add a couple of additional places to the collective wisdom of the group. The only one of the cheffy restaurants we were able to go to was Hisop, and that was really excellent. The 48 Euro tasting menu, 60 with a really generous set of wine pairings, was a knockout.

 

For traditional Catalan, homestyle amped up a few notches, try El Glop on Universitat. If you're lucky enough to be there in calçotada season, get the calçotada menu and prepare to have a blast with the first course. For some reason the servers are almost all Asian, but don't let that deter you. I think that was a 22 Euro menu.

 

For even more homestyle, where you're likely to be the only tourist but some English is spoken, try Bar Restaurante Gloria down behind the cathedral on Plaça del Ramon Berenguer el Gran. A 14 Euro holiday menu brought me a dish of canelon with a crunchy fideo topping, a whole grilled dorada, a crema catalana, and half a bottle of wine. We were sorry not to have another chance to go back there.

 

El Mussol, next door to El Glop on Universitat, does nice fire-grilled meats and vegetables.

 

Oh, and trust me on this, avoid Celler de Tapas on Universitat. It was terribly bland and boring, way too expensive for nothing even remotely interestuing. Evidently they have another place that's much better, but that one is strictly touristical. Easily the worst meal of our trip, except for the Christmas Day "Chinese" place that had no ginger or black bean sauce in the house.

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Oh, and trust me on this, avoid Celler de Tapas on Universitat. It was terribly bland and boring, way too expensive for nothing even remotely interestuing. Evidently they have another place that's much better, but that one is strictly touristical. Easily the worst meal of our trip, except for the Christmas Day "Chinese" place that had no ginger or black bean sauce in the house.

 

A thousand apologies Abra, I haven't been in a long time and clearly it's gone downhill since...

 

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