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Barcelona

Barcelona - Report

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Restaurants & Bars 19

Barcelona - Report

DaveS | Oct 25, 2005 04:46 PM

This is my first post here, but as I culled this site for info prior to my visit to Barcelona, I felt that I should share something about my trip. Hope I do ok, I've never actually written something like this.

Overall, I can't complain about the experience I had while in Barcelona. But I will complain about one experience, and I'll get that out of the way. This past saturday, a night which we hadn't planned on being back in Barcelona, my wife and I ended up at La Dama, Diagonal 423. I picked it out of Frommers as they highly recommended it and it was Michelin starred. How could we go wrong. Ok. So maybe some more experienced foodies on this site can let me know who I shouldn't be trusting, Frommers or Michelin? The service, while overly solicitous, completely failed to cater to my wife's dietary restrictions, even though the waiter and Maitre D' had said they will gladly accomodate her and make whatever changes necessary. The Maitre D' clearly understood the restrictions, so it wasn't a language issue, as he immediate saw the problems after the plates were placed on the table, they just didn't communicate effectively with the kitchen. In addition, in the end they couldn't adapt beyond giving her plain grilled fish. Clearly not an adept or creative kitchen. And the food that we did have was nothing to write home about. My Sea bass entre was over cooked and had an un-inspired sauce that I cannot even recount. Maybe the place just wasn't our style. More old world. But for what they charged, we should have gotten a lot more in terms of service and food.

The best meal was at Comerc 24, Carrer Comerc 24. We could not do a tasting due to my wife's dietary restrictions (so far only Thomas Keller at Per Se and Dan Barber at Blue Hill Stone Barns have created tasting menus just for her, Per Se has set the bar for us in that respect and many others). But starting with the fun snacks before the meal - potato chips with balsamic foam, popcorn powder, curried rice - everything was delicious. Beautiful cod simply prepared with some vegetables and accopanied with a sweat onion sauce. Tiny pressed sandwiches, my wife had the vegetarian ones with Asparagus and cheese (I forget what kind), I had the ones with Jamon, Mozzerella and Truffle, which to me is just cheating. The Kinder Egg, a simple dish similar to ones served elsewhere (The French Laundry for one) with a hollowed out egg filled with eggy, custardy, truffly goodness. And I ended with a foie gras and lentel concoction. Delicious. For dessert I had the really quite wonderul Chocolate ice cream with olive oil, sea salt and bread. Definitely have to start serving that one at home. The waiter who was also the Sommelier offered some wonderful wines by the glass for me, especially the dessert wine, a late harvest garnacha, which went perfectly with the dessert. Just the right amount of sweetness.

We also had a wonderful dinner at Cinc Sentits. I saw many raves about it around here and elsewhere. It was definitely quite good, though as we did not do the tasting, I imagine we missed out on some of the experience. My wife and I both had a delicious sweet potato veloute to start (hers without the bacon, mine with). Then I had the lamb. It was good, but a little bare on the plate all by itself. My wife raved about her salt cod. The woman who waited on us was an native english speaker. She was quite helpful and matched some delicious wines with my food.

For my wife's birthday we dined at El Principal, Provenca 286, a beautifully designed space from the Tragaluz group. The service was very good there as well. The food was good, not as good as the last two, but still quite enjoyable. Of course, right now I can't recall what we had. But we didn't leave unhappy.

Other dinners - Citrus, Passeig de Gracia 44, a less ambitious place with nice views of the Passeig de Gracia. I wasn't so happy with this one. Not so great service and middling food.

Senyor Parrellada, Carrer Argenteria 37 - The restaurant at our hotel (Banys Orientals in El Born). Quite good and pretty reasonable food. I started with a simple sounding dish, haricot verts en papillot (or however they said it in catalan). Basically green beans cooked in a tin foil tent. Cut open and out comes a wonderful smell. The green beans were cooked in a delicious creamy and truffle sauce. For an entre I had the Lamb with 12 heads of Garlic. Tender and delicious braised lamb.

Lunches:
The best - Cal Pep. Sat at the counter, let them know what my wife could and could not eat. Said yes to everything they offered, and ate very well.

Madrid-Barcelona, Carrer Arago 282: Very good and very reasonably priced restaurant. Huge local lunch crowd with a line out the door by 2/2:30.

Also on the Same block, La Rita. Simlar price range and almost as good quality of food. More tourists, but still plenty of locals and lines out the door by 2:00.

La Rosca, Julia Portet 6. Super basic place recommended by Frommers. It was empty, with just 3 other locals chatting it up and enjoying food and wine. Very inexpensive. I had the entrecot. No coplaints. My wife had a baked sole I believe, she said it was cooked just right and simply seasoned. Very friendly host. Ask for a glass of red wine, he'll just give you a carafe, eye ball what you take and under charge you anyway. I think I payed 1,10 Euro for 2 or 3 glasses.

We took a side trip to Cadaques. Had a non descript meal at our hotel, Hotel Rocamar. Had a decent dinner the next night at Cuatro, I believe it was called. Right in the middle of the harbor on the strip of restaurants. It looks pretty new and has a very contemporary and cosmopolitan feel. The menu was a mix of simple and somewhat ambitious. I started with just some hummus, which was quite good. And then I had the braised wild boar, which came with mashed potatoes. The composition was quite inconvenient, they were each in a tiny little dish with barely enough room to cut the boar. But it was already in farely small, tender pieces. Needs some work, but not bad.

I guess thats about it. Hope this is helpful to someone.

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