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  1. If you're in Barcelona and want to say hello to or get local pointers from a resident eGulleteer, feel free to drop me a message. Oh, and if you get an extra spare seat at EB... ;-)
  2. Robert Gelonch changes his tasting menu every six weeks and very rarely repeats dishes. He really is driven to stay creative. His is consistently one of my favourite restaurants.
  3. If anyone's in the vicinity of la Sagrada Familia and wants to eat somewhere decent that ISN'T Alkimia, then Caldeni could be what you're looking for. One of Barcelona's bistronomic restaurants, it offers a set lunch for €21. Its chef/owner Dani Lechuga is the author of "La Cocina de la Carne" so its no surprise that the restaurant specialises in meat. My full review can be found here http://foodbarcelona.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/caldeni/
  4. I was in Seville last week and went on a tapeo with the food blogger and Seville tapas expert Shawn Hennessey (http://azahar-sevilla.com/). That, plus my other eating experiences there can be found here http://foodbarcelona.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/seville/ It's a gorgeous city and second only to San Sebastian for tapas crawls. Highly recommended.
  5. I interviewed Robert Gelonch last week for an article that will appear in Living Spain magazine. He's a passionate, talented guy and I wholeheartedly recommend his restaurant.
  6. eGullet fans of Formatgeria La Seu in Barcelona, of which I know there are quite a few, might like to know that they have opened a small bar next door to the shop, specialising in small plates of their wonderful cheeses, speciality embutidos and local wines. It's a great stop on a tapas crawl in the evenings and a nice place to have lunch. I believe Jordi Artal of Cinc Sentits has recently taken some journalists there so expect to see it mentioned in the American food press soon.
  7. Congratulations! You couldn't really ask for a better endorsement than that...
  8. It sounds like you did indeed catch them on a bad day -- although there's no excuse for days that bad in an expensive restaurant. There was certainly plenty to criticise when I was there but plenty to praise too. That desert was particularly poor but the ones that came before it were fine. I enjoyed my meal there -- overall --but probably wouldn't go back especially based on what you've said. My own meal lacked consistency and it seems that it's a major problem for them.
  9. Sidney's in Tynemouth is superb. The lunchtime menu is ridiculously good value, with 3 courses, coffee and drinks coming in at less than £25 a head.
  10. Last week we were staying out of Barcelona on the Catalan Costa Brava and wanted to go somewhere nearby for a special occasion. The only real candidate within taxi distance was La Cuina de Can Simon in Tossa Del Mar, a Michelin one-star that I haven't seen mentioned on here before. The restaurant was easy to find at the foot of the castle. The single, small dining room is very attractive and the staff, despite their extreme youth, were attentive and helpful. My wife and I both had the menú gastronómico. This began with "a coctail and some tapas of the day" The first food on the table was a very disappointing of trio of dried pork crackling, rice in squid ink and spaghetti snacks on sticks. These lacked almost all flavour other than salt and did nothing to set the tone for what I was hoping would be a memorable meal. They were followed with a melon and mint shot with fresh cockles This was better but still a lacklustre opener. It worked, in an unimaginative fashion, but lacked any kind of real punch. Next up came a salmon mousse with olive jelly. Again, it was... fine. Moussey. Salmoney. Very retro and well executed but nothing to get excited about. We then moved onto the menú proper, with a gazpacho marinera of crab (buey de mar), black trumpet mushrooms and pumpkin in what I believe was a watermelon gazpacho. I was really getting concerned by this point. The gazpacho was watery and insipid and again, while there was nothing wrong with the dish, there was very little to ignite enthusiasm. It was with a slight sinking feeling that we received the next course, a tartare-canelón de salmón. This was better. More depth, more flavours without losing any clarity. Next up was something described as raviolis de gambas (prawns) which were "stuffed with pescado de escama" (anyone who knows exactly what this might have been is welcome to help me here) "and trout roe". There didn't seem to be much going on in the way of raviolis or indeed stuffed anything in the dish that arrived but the ingredients were all there, squashed into a fishy lump. We moved onto the last of the "starters," cocochas de merluza (hake cheeks) in a pilpil sauce with white asparagus and poached quail's eggs This was more like it -- one of the evening's winners, subtle without being bland. Then the first of the main courses, ventresca de atún (tuna belly) with ribbons of potato and sauerkraut and flavoured oils. Finally, a knockout. This was one of the best dishes I've had anywhere. The tuna was first class, cooked flawlessly and accompanied perfectly by the other flavours on the plate which, in some of the oils and a disguised wasabi, offered surprises of a good kind. And now the kitchen had finally hit their stride, the good stuff kept coming. The second main was a steak tartare Superb ingredients, simply and effectively combined with a few interesting twists. It was also a welcome sight of red meat after a fairly fish-intensive meal! We moved onto desserts with a rich and delicious custard, caramel and cream cup, presumable their version of an almost deconstructed crema catalana then a palette-cleansing if eye-openingly citrussy cocktail of cointreau, lemon and orange before their plate of many colours which was a less successful combination of different jellies and textures and finished with some perfectly delicious chocolates to accompany our coffee. So from a less-than-impressive start the meal finished very strongly and was overall a success. I would certainly recommend La Cuina de Can Simon but not unreservedly. It's a one-star and that's probably fair if ever-so-slightly generous. You need to be in the mood for fish as it's certainly the dominant food group of the menu but that's understandable given the location of the restaurant and the amazing produce available to them. If you are in the area then it's certainly worth a visit but I wouldn't travel specifically to eat there. There was, surprisingly, no wine pairing with the menu so I had a couple of glasses of Somontano Absum Varietales 06 which was excellent value for money, plus a couple of other drinks. The 220 Euro bill for two was on the high side considering the fact that one of us was drinking only water but it's not outrageous for a restaurant of its class.
  11. Probably 2 or 3 years ago. It was still good then.
  12. A very reluctant, disappointed post, this. I've been a fan of Can Ramonet in Barceloneta for years since VSerna recommended it, but I have to mention the sad slide in standards recently. A booking a few weeks ago (made by me) was accepted without problems; when the guests arrived the restaurant was close for holidays. Today I went first hand to find out what was going on. The problems were shocking: a 30 minute wait between sitting down and someone taking our order; a 1 hr wait between sitting down and one of our first courses arriving -- the other disappeared into the ether and I had to eventually cancel; mysterious drinks orders added to our bill; a standard of cooking that while OK was in no way comparable with previous visits. I've had many good meals at Can Ramonet in the past, but it seems that it's succumbed to the touristification of Barcelona and gone into overbooking and rip off practices like the rest. Very sad. Avoid, folks.
  13. I know I've asked this before but does anyone know of a restaurant or even better a carniceria serving or selling beef of a comparable quality in Barcelona?
  14. I'll add a post I wrote on an older thread about another Roses favourite, Cal Campaner: This weekend I found myself in Roses without the phone number for Rafa's and with no way to book a table. Unsurprisingly, then, at lunchtime we were disappointed to find the place completely booked out. The lady working with Rafa (called Rosa I think) recommended Cal Campaner, on c/ Mossem Carles Feliu, 23 (tel 972 25 69 54). She said that it was "just like us, the same quality". So we trekked up the hill to find a tiny restaurant, typical of any barrio in Spain: football team scarves and posters, ancient decorations, lots of photos etc. Cal Campaner was also packed with families, not a tourist in the place, but when I said that we'd been sent from Rafa's they said they'd try to find a table for us later. I'm glad we waited: it was exceptional. We ate clams (almejas), baby clams, spiny sea urchins and oysters. Then we had sepia, rodaballo and gallo. The fish was shown to us before we ate, then quickly griddled. Then a selection of homemade desserts. We had wine, coffee, pan amb tomaquet... and the bill was 120 euros for 4 people. I thought they'd made a mistake but that really was the price. We saw a succession of delicious-looking fish dishes and paella coming out of the kitchen which left us happy, full but frustrated at not being able to eat all of it! The service was friendly and the customers were all having a great time. I had a brief chat with the owner, a very amiable man whose name I have sadly forgotten. He has pictures of "his good friend" Ferran Adrian on the walls, who he meets often with Rafa at the fish market. Cal Campaner shouldn't be regarded as a second-rate Rafa's: it is an excellent restaurant in its own right.
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