I spent a lot of time reviewing the Spain Chowhound board for places to eat. Thanks to everyone who contributes. Here is my trip report:
Cerveseria Catalana – two visits (Carrer Mallorca 236)
We went here the first evening since I didn’t want to get us booked for a long meal. As it was a Saturday evening the joint was jumping. We put our name in for a table but then got two seats at the bar and the guys stood. We got a pitcher of sangria and just started pointing at the Montaditos on the counter in front of us. The salmon were great as were the one with jamon & padron peppers but the ones with foie and blue cheese were just eh. We also got fried artichoke slices, patatas bravas, some of the jamon, fried squid, grilled cubes of tuna with pomegranate molasses, and another artichoke which had been poached and then grilled. All of that with another half pitcher of sangria was €65.55.
We returned to Cerveseria for lunch on the following Saturday around 1pm and got a table pretty quickly. Another pitcher of sangria (it was just easier to differentiate between the two tapas places we went for dinner by what we drank) of course another order of the artichoke slices, pan tomato as well as plain bread, patatas bravas, cockles, a special of artichokes with jamon, the Montaditos with salmon, skewer of duck breast, duck liver and peaches and a baked scallop dish. With two bottles of water the total was €63.45
Paco Meralgo (Carrer Muntaner 171)
We had visited Paco Meralgo twice on our last visit. It is a great place for Sunday evening. Much calmer than Cerverseria Catalana
We got a bottle of Cava (Rovellats Imperial €20.15). We of course ordered the fried artichokes, an assortment of grilled veggies, a plate of jamon, pan amb tomaquet, razor clams, baked baby scallops, and octopus with carmelized onion (meh). We had to order the Obama croquettes which the waiter described as made with squid in so black like Obama. Also the waiter overheard us talking about tuna and asked if we liked it. When we said yes he told us about a special they had with raw tuna marinated in soy and sesame oil- yum oh boy!! He brought over a slab of the most beautiful tuna and it was good!!! The total for all this including a bottle of water was €91.15.
When we left Paco Meralgo we went across the street to the gelato place we had eyed on our way to dinner. Cremeria Toscana (http://cremeria-toscana.es/) was wonderful. The flavors we had were pear (best ever), lemon, raspberry, Strachattela, banana and dark (and I mean dark!!) chocolate. There is another shop in Barri Gotic (I think) on Calle Princesa. On our last night in Barcelona 3 of us hiked up to get another round of gelato. Since it was about a mile in each direction you know it has to be good gelato!!!
Bar del Pla (Carrer Montcada 2)
With the concert on Monday evening at 7pm we need a place nearby for dinner. I found a mention of Bar del Pla on Chowhound and was able to make a reservation for 10pm. We were early for the reservation which was no problem and were seated in what we referred to as the international room which was no problem. We had a bottle of Cava, pan amb tomaquet, eggplant with honey and lime (meh), seared tuna with cherry sauce, patata brava, a refreshing salad (hey that is what it is listed as on the menu) which had nuts, oranges and cherry tomatoes, their house marinated salmon (very good) and crispy beef with foie gras. It was a very good place to dine after a concert. The bill including a bottle of water was €69.55.
Martini (Montjuic near the cable car station)
This was our vacation so we started lunch with a bottle of cava. The funniest thing we did was order the potato chips and laughed when they brought a bag of potato chips and a bottle of hot sauce. We explained that that wasn’t what we expected. We order patatas which were thin like potato chips and very good. As usual we ordered fried artichokes and a plate of jamon. One English translated menu said fried squid and the other said fried hake which is what it turned out to be. The waitress recommended the ham croquettes which were very good. Not something we are used to so each time we ordered them was due to someone’s recommendation. With a bottle of water the check was €83.00
Cinc Sentis (Carrer Aribau 58)
This is another repeat from our last trip. Since the menu changes a lot I will just mention the highlights.
One of the amuse bouche was their take on the pan am tomaquet which was topped with dried tomato.
An appetizer dish with salsify and wild mushrooms and a porcini mayo
Foie Gras on a thin pastry with caramelized leeks and chives (my BIL wanted to know if he could come back and have 6 courses of just this)
Wild Bonito with smoked eggplant served with a smoked cava!!
The two desserts – one with lemon (cake, cream, rind and sugar) with cava gelato and the second with salted caramel gelato, cookie crumbs, apples and caramel sauce
My DH and I routinely go for multi course wine dinners so didn’t have as much difficulty as my Sis & BIL. By the time we got to the main courses they were flagging. We had gotten a special appetizer of an oyster which none of us like since it came with a foam of sea water which made it kind of low tide tasting. This was our big splurge meal with 2 bottle of water and the wine pairings came to €596.
We managed to snag 4 seats at the counter of Pinotxo and felt like we won the lottery. Two very nice ladies from Australia moved over so we could sit together. Small world time- the couple sitting next to Sis was from Brooklyn and the woman had gone to the same high school as my BIL. We ended up ordering things that we saw other eating- it sort of became a wave, the people next to Sis ordered chick peas, so we ordered them and then the Australian ladies ordered them as well. In addition to the chick peas, we got shrimp which were grilled with the head on (fabulous!), cold steamed mussels with marinated vegetable garnish, veal stew, white bean stew with baby squid, balsamic vinegar and squid ink. We had 4 glasses of cava and two bottle of water for a total of €70
Tickets (Carrer Tamarit 74)
I had been reading about Tickets and wanted to go. I managed to snag table for 10PM on Friday night. I figured we should do the full “Barcelona late night” thing at least once. This was a fabulous and fun meal. We were seated in a corner which was a drag for me because I didn’t have a full view of the open kitchen but we could peek through a side door. At one point the chef there opened the blinds and we gave him two thumbs up and all the other kitchen crew waved and smiled.
There are too many dishes to remember (have to look at my camera for photos) but the highlights were two rounds of the liquid olives (amazing especially for olive fanatics like Sis and me), the mini-air bags of Manchego, the cannelloni made with avocado slices filled with crab and surprisingly to me was that my husband adored the orange salad with olive juice.
We had so much fun with the tweezers that we bought ourselves a set as souvenirs. Also the next morning while we were at the gift shop at ‘La Pedrera’ Sis and I bought the cookbook (even though it is written in Spanish) in order to try to recreate some of the dishes.
With two bottles of Cava and water (less the tweezers) the bill was €337. We were about the last table to leave and walked home around 1 AM.