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Barcelona

Notes from Barcelona...

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Restaurants & Bars 7

Notes from Barcelona...

torta basilica | May 29, 2003 11:32 AM

Unfortunately only there for 2 nights, but thought I'd pass the following on:

We stayed at the Claris - cool, hip, sleek & I thought, over-priced. 450 Euros for a 'Jr Suite,' which consisted of the bed area with a 3 inch step down to the sitting area. Nice big bathroom, but teeny closet & view of side street. Nice rooftop pool area & we enjoyed the bar & restaurant '47.' Very small Egyptian artifacts collection, which is their big claim to fame.

Friends stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Arts Hotel & thought service & rooms were great, but not thrilled by location.

We stopped by the Majestic to have dinner our first night at Drolma, which looked beautiful & elegant, but filled with business groups in dark suits. Ended up leaving as way too stuffy & formal for what we were in the mood for. Don't know where we'll stay next time - have since heard good reviews of the Avenida Palace, but wish Barcelona had a better upscale hotel selection.

Much of this is re-capping what others have said, but... Lunch 1st day at Cap Pep - granite-topped seafood tapas bar, but really more of a restaurant. If you're not at the bar, you don't get fed, so you have to wait for a seat to open. Well worth being there at 1:30 when they open for lunch for 8, when they open for dinner. On plaza 1 block off back right hand corner (when facing it) of the old cathedral. Amazing food & great show as all is cooked right in front of you. Great vongole in a wine garlic sauce (no pasta, but good rolls to soak it up with), freshly sliced & fried calamari, giant gambas grilled in rock salt - it's all very good & fairly reasonable. Just don't get there a minute late, you'll be standing & waiting for a seat for quite some time. Placa des Olles 8, 93 310 79 61

Dinner that night at the 3 star El Raco con Fabes, 45 minutes out of town (actually took 1 1/2 hours between getting a taxi, traffic & finding the restaurant). Mixed reactions - I loved it, but hubby who was paying wasn't quite as amused. 70 E taxi ride there (& bell man had some difficulty getting someone to drive us that far), Degustation menu - about 12 courses 150 pp, I think. They do have a la carte, but, we'd driven so far... Most tasted absolutely great & unbelieveable presentations - a few misses - the foamy seafood soup served in a sea urchin wasn't all that good & we still haven't figured out which was the frog legs dish! Roasted lamb was too sinewy & under-cooked (and I like it med rare). Escargot done many ways was fabulous. Appetizers amazing, cheese tray had to have over 30 types, bread delicious, desserts were to die for & just kept coming & coming. If you go, ask for the 'old'room - much more atmospheric than the modern room. Had to wait 1/2 hour to get our promised ride home with their food procurer who had been rousted out of bed - 60 more Euros. Left the hotel at 8pm & got back at 2am. If you are a true foodie, this is worth it - I loved every moment. If you aren't, or worried about what the bill will be, don't go. We figured with taxis, meal & wine, almost 600 E for 2. Sr. Santamaria came around & chatted with everyone - was a once in a lifetime experience for me, a never to be done again experience for husband. Carrer de Saint Joan 6, Saint Celoni, Fax 93 867 2851 - reserve well in advance.

We boarded the Silver Whisper the next afternoon (wow even better than our last Silversea cruise & I didn't think it possible!) & even though dinner with all drinks, wines, etc already included, since the ship wasn't sailing til 11pm, we decided to get back off & hit Cal Pep again. It was even better the 2nd time - don't miss this place!

Food on Silversea generally was excellent - Austrian chefs & wonderful range of selections.

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