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Barcelona and Madrid in May - please help narrow down my choices!


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Barcelona and Madrid in May - please help narrow down my choices!

arlenemae | | Mar 15, 2010 04:55 PM

My husband and I will be spending 4 days each in Barcelona and Madrid. We are in our early thirties and are looking to eat and drink well in these cities. We would like to have one "splurge" meal in each city, and fill the rest with tapas and reasonably-priced sit-down restaurants.

This probably goes without saying but I already tried (and failed) to get into El Bulli when they first took reservations in January (even before booking my plane/hotel)...*sigh*. However, I am hopeful that I will still eat very well when I get to Spain!

I've been scouring this board as well as other sources (Tripadvisor, NY Times travel guides) and I would appreciate any opinions on the below restaurants as well as some other suggestions on places I must have missed.

My list is a bit smaller since there seems to be a lot more resources and reviews, and these places came up over and over both in articles/reviews and from friends' recommendations:
- Bar Pinotxo (maybe i can go here for lunch?)
- Cal Pep
- Taller de Tapas (More of a backup...I know this place has gotten some flak on these boards, but I do remember having a good time here many years ago...but then I was in Barcelona to party, not eat back in the day)
- Cerveceria Catalana
- Comerç 24 (possible splurge meal)
- Cinq Sentits (possible splurge meal)
- Alkimia (possible splurge meal)
For now I'm thinking either Comerç 24 or Cinq Sentits for my splurge meal, but is Comerç 24 considered a splurge (to me, a splurge meal would be >$100/pp)? One thing I wasn't quite sure about is whether the "Festival" menu at 62,00 € is per person or not...if it's for the table then it may be reasonable enough so I can go to both. Any other must-try places?

I'm having more of a struggle since even here the recommendations seem to be all over the place. The high-end places here seem much more expensive so we will definitely only go to one place, and probably do tapas most of the time
- Txirimiri
- Taberna Temperanillo
- Juana La Loca
- Museo del Vino (seems like this would be a good place for trying out many different Spanish wines, so would probably go more for drinks than food)
- Botin (If only for the I love pig!)
- Combarro (any other seafood restaurants that are more affordable?)
- El Mollete (came highly recommended from NYTimes...authentic?)
- Casa Lucio (just wanted to throw another sit-down place in there)
- Sergi Arola Gastro (possible splurge meal)
- La Terraza del Casino de Madrid (possible splurge meal)
Since we will be there only four days...definitely need some help narrowing down this list. I also wanted to do a tapas crawl so I'm wondering whether I can do more than one place in the evening...are any of these close to each other or have other decent tapas restaurants close by? Is it worth it to book one of those tapas tours or am I better off trying to do it on my own? Also wondering if I'm better off trying more traditional places in Madrid since I would do more modern/molecular gastronomy type places in Barcelona. And where can I get a good paella?

Any tips/advice is highly appreciated!


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