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Spain - Mallorca, SS, Bilbao and Barcelona

Monica | Sep 27, 201707:22 AM

I just came back from 12 days of amazing trip in Spain. 12 days isn't a lot of time to visit all of the major tourist sites so instead of stressing over that, my husband and I decided to concentrate on going to as many as restaurants as possible. Obviously, there are a lot of recent reviews of restaurants in Spain on Chowhound but I still feel obliged to do so because of all the helpful advises I received. Hopefully others will find my post helpful for their upcoming trips.

We spent 5 nights in Mallorca. What a glorious island..much bigger than I had imagined. My biggest mistake was not making the restaurant reservations thinking that Sept is not the prime high season. At the end, I couldn't eat at Es Raco d'es Tex, Es Moli Den Bou, Argos and Adrian Quetglas. They were all fully booked even with help of our hotel and Amex concierge service.
We ate some meals at the hotel called the Tapas bar. Nothing too memorable. Booked lunch at Marc Fosh which was a disappointment as I had a high expectation. We should have had dinner there. We ate at Clivia which was recommended by one of the Chowhounder and it was an awesome meal starting with the most tastiest olives I've ever have. Everything was exceptional. We also had a meal at Talent recommended by Amex which was a very good value but would not visit again.
A meal at Forn Nou in town of Alta was pretty good too but would not revisit.

San Sebastian-
Went so many pinxho places. The most memorable one was Bar Antonio. Everything we had here was amazing, we went again the next day for more. We especially loved the Spanish omelet, jamon sandwiches and various oil marinated sardine and anchovies. We saw more locals than tourists here.
We also loved Atari for grilled octopus(My husband's favorite dish of all), Borda Berri, Casa Urola and other places for numbers of dishes I can't even count. The ones I would not go again are La Vina(didn't find their cheesecake amazing as others have said), Ganbara and Zumeltzego Egosari were a bit disappointing.
And whoever recommended Maria Cristina hotel, he/she was right. The most amazing place ever! The bar, the room, the service...every single thing about the hotel was just amazing! I would LOVE to stay at this hotel again.

Bilbao-
Loved the La Ribera market for trying out various tapas. The only place where I saw barnacle.
Azurmendi- At the end it was a fail for me and my husband agreed too. To us, the restaurant was too gimmicky. Maybe the same reason why most molecular gastronomy restaurants failed in NYC.
Despite the high price, I thought that it didn't use enough exotic ingredients. It was sort of bitter sweet experience. The chef himself was a really nice humble guy who came out to say hello. We did the classic menu with wine pairing.

Barcelona -
Tapeo was expensive but had some really good dishes here. Beef sweetbread was an amazing dish. Their pork ribs were cooked perfectly but it was ruined by the sauce that was too sweet. I'd visit again.
Bar Canete- Veal sweetbread, foie gras, prawns...blood sausage...all great. Loved it.
El Xampanyet was disappointing.
El Quim de la Boqueria, our last meal was memorable as well...foie gras, pork sandwich, bloody sausage, baby squid all great!
After a disappointing meals at Azurmendi, I was a bit reluctant to keep our reservation at Disfrutar. At the end, we were glad we kept the reservation. It was a memorable meal and loved almost all dishes that were served. I can't believe I ate all 25 courses. We also did classic menu with wine pairing.

Ah as for the ham, we particularly loved Joxelito brand.

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