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I suggest folks who are interested refer to my previous posts here:
But here are some notes from my last trip to Barcelona in August 2019, and further down my current definitive restaurant list for Barcelona.
This place is superb, is all I can say. You must must go. Some of the standouts from the meal- patatas bravas (so Japanese, and a play on okonomiyaki), truffle flan (get one per person), egg yolk sushi (wonderfully simple), tuna tartar with soba (stunning and the broth was so delicate), Corrine sashimi (awesome and herbaceous), beef tartare, and pork cheeks. The only dish I thought needed any kind of tweak was the foie gras pie which I found a bit tough, and needed a few salt grains to overcome the sweet.
This is our fourth trip there and yet again, neither my husband nor myself could find a single wine by the glass that we liked, and this has been the case on every single visit so is a bit annoying. We ordered a few things we had had before and then some new dishes- we had the langoustine which was delicious, jalapeno and corn which is always great when you get the right bite, almond panna cotta which was so delicate and lovely, pork and shrimp sandwich that eats like warm yummy comfort food but like all their dishes is highly technical, shrimp tartar which I didn’t like, pesto risotto which I also thought was disappointing (could not taste the truffle, and tasted just like a nice pesto without much pine nut flavor but nothing out of the ordinary). Every time we come we have one or two dishes that are a bit of a fail, and then the rest blow our socks off.
Like Tickets, it is a massive mistake here to let the waitstaff pressure you into letting them pick your tasting course. They will charge you per item anyway, so best is that you customize your whole meal, or you will be disappointed. Some of the highlights- tamale with ricotta (a fantastic blend and Mexican, but needs some spice), guacamole with lettuce (also needed heat), bloody mary (the cocktail), oyster, scallop ceviche, bone marrow taco, tuna mole and almonds, ravioli of chicken, duck and foie in mole (the only dish we ate that I thought tasted truly Mexican), and pork tacos. The other dishes we had were bland, like the tomato salad, or desperately needed heat like the cochinita pibil. There was no real heat to any of the dishes, you need to ask them to get hot sauces to add for yourself.
Also, despite the great mezcals and tequilas that they have, the bartender really doesn’t know much about his collection. What was perhaps the low-point of the meal was when I saw he had two bottles from Empirical Spirits at the bar. I asked him to serve me one of them- he had literally no idea what they were or how to serve them. A real disappointment after I got super exited to see them there.
This was a great meal, the place is lovely, as are the staff and the vibe. We started with an excellent soup, a croquette with thyme that very thyme forward and fantastic, and then incredible roast beef, fish and veal cheeks, and a fab chocolate dessert. The eggplant and bonito dish was a bit of a disappointment, but all the other dishes just blew it out of the water. Can't wait to come back again soon.
Based on my previous reviews/meals and this most recent trip, this is my current definitive Barcelona restaurant list-
- Bar Canete- delicious traditional tapas place. If you didn’t book way in advance, you can usually go and wait to be seated at the bar, takes about 30 mins if you are only two and it’s not a busy night.
- Cal Pep- excellent tapas, some of the best in town.
- Barra Alta- a real cut above your typical tapas place.
- Monocrom- solid lunch spot.
- Quimet & Quimet- a Barcelona institution, but everything they serve is canned, and all on a toast that I don’t love. But still an institution.
More exciting, not too fancy:
- Teoric- fantastic tapas, need to book way in advance but so worth it.
- Yakumanka- really fun Peruvian, good ceviches, great cocktails.
- Mont Bar- if you want molecular gastronomy of the highest standard, and aren’t doing - Disfrutar or Enigma, you must do a meal here. A few of the dishes aren’t perfect, but the ones that are make you dream of them for years to come. The stracciatella is a must, but read my earlier reviews above for other menu ideas.
- Pur- very solid seafood and lovely space, delicious bar downstairs.
- Paco Meralgo- excellent but expensive seafood.
- Brugarol- really fantastic, need to book a few days in advance- book to sit at the chef’s counter. South African chefs that love fresh farm produce and add a Japanese spin to most of their dishes.
Tasting menus that aren’t too fancy-
- Agreste (used to be called Malahierba)- excellent place for dinner but you should request the tasting menu already when you book. Not hard to get a last minute booking.
- Nairod- wonderful tasting menu by an up and coming chef.
- Capet- wonderful tasting menu, one of the best.
- Mano Rota- South American chef doing magical fusion things.
Fancy, need to book in advance-
- Disfrutar- this is one of my favorite restaurants in the world, and one of the best tasting menus I have ever had, with many of El Bulli’s best dishes on the menu. If it’s your first time there, get their classic hits menu, if second time get their experimental menu. Plan to be there for 3-4 hours, and book way in advance.
- Enigma- this is more expensive then Disfrutar, and easier to book just a few days in advance. The bad- the decor and servers’ outfits. The good- the food is incredible, and the moving around throughout the meal really does elevate the experience. Between the two, it’s hard for me to pick one, but perhaps Enigma; which is a once in a lifetime experience.
- Tickets- it is an experience but not one I would choose over Enigma, though they have the same team behind them- Albert Adrià (elBarri group). If you want the theater of it all, then go for it but do not let them pick your dishes, that is a big mistake and you will come out not being pleased.
- Hoja Santa- also the elBarri group but this time doing Mexican. Just like Tickets in that some dishes are great, others aren't, and if they select the menu for you, you get some filler dishes that are a real disappointment. You need to take charge of the menu and select your dishes.
- Alkimia- very good if you go for the classic menu, but very odd costumes and interior.
I would not recommend Estimar, Gresca, Dos Palilos, and probably not Pakta (it was good but not stand out, especially if you have ever eaten in Japan).
- Rocambolesc- On las ramblas, a product of the Rocco brothers, and a real must.
- Dry Martini- good for a dry martini
- Dr. Stravinsky- excellent drinks, tough to get a table if you go after 10pm but it’s worth the wait
- Paradiso- fab bar, great drinks, also worth the wait
- Morro Fi- a solid chain of vermouth bars that serve their own artisanal vermouth
- Impur- very interesting cocktails, downstairs from Pur restaurant.
10 Carrer de Salomó ben Adret
220 Carrer de la Diputació
141 Carrer d'Aribau
17 Carrer de la Unió
8 Plaça de les Olles
4 Plaça de Cardona
25 Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes
207 Carrer de València
171 Carrer de Muntaner
2 Carrer de Funoses-Llussà
5 Carrer del Cometa
4 Carrer de la Creu dels Molers
163 Carrer de Villarroel
41 Ronda de Sant Antoni
162 Carrer d'Aribau
5 Carrer dels Mirallers
4 Carrer de Rera Palau
171 Carrer del Consell de Cent
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