Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Wilfrid

Barcelona Restaurant Recommendations

Recommended Posts

Thanks for all the responses. I did email Gelonch to inquire about reservations - I wonder if they will respond. I couldn't find an English version of their site at http://www.gelonch.es/.

They did respond to my emails when I was writing to the chef. But, just call them when you get to town; I don't think reservations will be that difficult to come by.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mig - I agree with WillinTO - the NYC jamon iberico de bellota pales by comparison to 99% of the stuff we had in Spain... what we get here is the supermarket equivalent to an artisanally made product that isn't really exported to the US - similar to our experience here with imported cheese - we never get the really small production stuff you get in Europe. I don't know if they're still open, but do a search for Jamonisimo - which specializes in artisinally produced jamon - their product is incredible and was one of the highlights of our trip. I keep thinking about bringing a cello case so I can smuggle a whole jamon back to NYC... haha...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

is it really true that good jamon iberico isn't imported to the US? what i had, i ate in a restaurant that i thought was a temple to Spanish food - at Boqueria on 19th street. Was i mistaken?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

is it really true that good jamon iberico isn't imported to the US? what i had, i ate in a restaurant that i thought was a temple to Spanish food - at Boqueria on 19th street. Was i mistaken?

That's good, but a lunch at Jamonisimo is something different altogether...

IMG_0395.jpg


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mig,

I am not certain about the US, but Jamon Iberico cannot be imported into Canada - at least not by suitcase wheeling tourists. We declared our small pack of sliced Iberico Belota that we had bought vacuum packed at the Boqueria in Barcelona. After consulting his computer, the Customs guy informed us that cured, but uncooked pork from Spain was not allowed into Ontario. I almost cried as he carefully deposited it in the garbage can behind his inspection station. Indeed, I probably would have cried, if I not wheeling away a half pound solid piece slipped into a running shoe in that same suitcase. :-).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just back from Barcelona.

Wonderful meal at Gelonchs place (http://www.gelonch.es/). Very friendly service. Food overall very good, sometimes I would have liked a little bit more contrast (either something acidic to take the edge of some sweeter mains or some more accentuated salt use). Very good desserts. And reservation by email was very easy.

Also went to Allium (http://www.alliumrestaurant.es/), small Slow-Food-place. Very simple, but also quite good. Of course not the level of Gelonch, though.

For tapas, I would like to mention El Xampanyet. Crowded, incredibly friendly and very, very good food. Probably not the cheapest place around, but very good quality and a lot of fun. Actually liked it much more than Ciutat Comtal which was good but for my far too "professional" for a tapas place. Just a matter of taste I guess. I preferred the Cava-pouring fun crowd behind the counter at Xampanyet.

(Many more places to visit... will need to come back... Gresca on top of my list, unfortunately closed on Sundays)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

is it really true that good jamon iberico isn't imported to the US? what i had, i ate in a restaurant that i thought was a temple to Spanish food - at Boqueria on 19th street. Was i mistaken?

You can get jamon iberico bellota but only from one producer up until very recently. There are also non-bellota grades of jamon where the pig's diet is either entirely cereal feed or a mix of acorns and cereal feed. The bellota designation is important!

Jamon iberico in the US is usually Fermin brand. The sales person at Despana explained to me that the Fermin pig is acorn-finished in the last 3 days of life (which surprised me), as opposed to being wild and acorn-fed for its entire life, like the 5Js brand. The 5Js brand has a lot more cachet.

What you had at Boqueria was likely regular jamon iberico OR possibly jamon iberico bellota, but both were Fermin brand.

Only in the last few weeks has 5Js (Cinco Jotas) brand been available in the USA (due to years it took for FDA approval). Only the paleta is available for now. The bellota is coming soon in 2012, as it takes much longer to cure.

The 5J's paleta is much more expensive than the Fermin jamon iberico bellota. The 5J's jamon paleta is $175/lb, hand-sliced at Despana. The taste difference is evident: the 5Js jamon is nuttier, sweeter, and much more luscious of a jamon than Fermin's.

If the 5Js paleta is already this good, I can't wait to taste the 5Js iberico bellota!

In Spain, you will be able to taste more producers, of course, as well as jamon iberico from different regions, different parts of the leg, etc.


Edited by kathryn (log)

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-seafood, especially octopus and shellfish (will definitely take the tip to sit down at the fish market in the Boqueria and eat whatever grilled freshness is offered - i do adore sardines!)

- all variety of pork and all kinds of braised meat

- regional specialties

- cheese and the Spanish dessert cheese-with-honey

- desserts in general

- sweets made by cloistered nuns

- good coffee (the monster must be fed)

my companion would very much love to find some excellent churros.

Do note: Spanish restaurants can have wacky hours. Some close on Sundays/Mondays.

In Spain, my favorite foods were pimientos de padron (small fried green peppers where the occasional one is spicy), grilled squid, grilled razor clams, poached octopus Galician style, fried croquettas of jamon, thinly sliced jamon iberico on its own, seared foie gras on toast, toasted bread rubbed with tomato and olive oil, chorizo, thick bittersweet chocolate with fresh churros, torrija (Spanish french toast), creme catalan (Spanish creme brulee), and cafe cortados. Many photos are here.

When I went in 2009, I enjoyed Cinc Sentits (our splurge meal - excellent), Quimet i Quimet, Cacao Sampaka (chocolates), Tapac24 (probably would be where I'd go now that Inopia has closed), Hisop (though Cinc Sentits was much better), Escriba (chocolates/pastries), La Granja (hot chocolate, Carrer dels Banys Nous 4) and the churreria a few doors down, and Cafe Viena (overrated by Mark Bittman in the New York Times but fine for a jamon sandwich on a tourist stretch of town). We didn't make it Jamonissimo.

Go to Paco Meralgo for your seafood fix. Great grilled clams. Best pan con tomate I've ever had. Excellent torrija. And they're open on Sundays (many Barcelona places aren't). And they take reservations. I've sent multiple friends there and they've always come back in love with the place.

I liked Bar Pinotxo in the Boqueria for breakfast/seafood as well. Garbanzo beans with blood sausage for breakfast! Croquettas! Breakfast/lunch only. We didn't get to try El Quim or Kiosko Universal.

Quimet y Quimet is wonderful; heartily second the recommendations. Be prepared to squeeze in and fight for a prime spot at the standing room only counter. The smoked salmon, yogurt cheese, and truffle honey montadito is a thing of beauty. We also liked the air-dried beef one (cecina) if you want something non-canned. All the toasts we tried were fantastic though; we went back twice in the span of five days.

La Granja for hot chocolate with a stop at the generic looking (but delicious) Xurreria for churros next door. La Granja is at Carrer dels Banys Nous 4. They will let you bring in the churros from the xurreria. La Granja also specializes in Melindros which are sort of like a ladyfinger.

La Pallaresa might be worth a stop, too, for their ensaimada pastries, a Mallorcan specialty filled with almond paste.

Escribà for fancy desserts and chocolates.

And the tap water in Barcelona strongly tastes of chlorine, just so you know.


Edited by kathryn (log)

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for all the recommendations. we leave on Monday!

i've successfully booked a lunch reservation at Gelonch - they were very responsive, even when i needed to change my reservation time.

so far it's the only reservation i've made.

is that crazy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

since there was no reply, i assumed no :)

we at lunch at Gelonch today. friend had the 52 euro tasting menu; i wanted the iberian piglet, so i had the 62.

1. strawberry gazpacho

amazing, ethereal.

2. tabbouli salad with "24 hour" Iberian sous vide pancetta, scallop, and prawn

scallop perfectly cooked.

3. cracker with tuna belly and olive foam (this was special to the more expensive tasting menu)

4. Waygu carpaccio with smoke, parmesean and spinach

presented with a dome for extra drama. the first bite was unpleasantly smoky; the rest was better.

5. cuttlefish taligelle with deconstructed pesto

one of the best things on the menu - actually had some acid punch to it, which the meal in general lacked

6. squid, quail eggs, chorizo and asparagus

incredible, so much umami in this dish. masterful combination of flavors. the tiny bits of asparagus were the most asparagusy i have ever tasted. squid was tender and delicious.

7. codfish with morels

neither my companion nor i could eat the fish in this dish. we both love cod but it did not taste good - i wondered if it might be off, to tell you the truth. we both scraped the morels off and ate them, though - they were extremely good.

7. 14-hr Waygu with salsify, lactose and beets

I'm not sure why you would sous-vide Waygu. having tasted this preparation, I would argue against the choice - the beef is so soft already. it also created an unwelcome, canned-beef flavor that both of us remarked upon at the same time. the rest of the dish was delicious, however.

8. suckling pig

as others have said, this dish is incredible.

9. desserts: various. a green tea foam cake stands out.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The gf (now fiancée) and I are going to Barcelona and Madrid for our vacation (now honeymoon).

Unfortunately our hotel always has to be central, and walkable to sights. For Barcelona, we'll be looking at the central old city (Barri Gòtic, El Born-La Ribera) neighborhoods; and for Madrid, maybe Los Austrias/Sol.

This means we'll be surrounded by overpriced, crappy tourist restaurants, but we ate well in Rome and Istanbul thanks to careful research, so I'm optimistic about Spain. We may stick to Eastern time so we can dine out as late as Madrileños, but then we'd have less daytime for sights, so maybe we'll end up living on tapas.

What puzzles me the most now is which cooking class to pick in Barcelona. We loved those in other travels. Tripadvisor favors one (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d611509-Reviews-Cook_and_Taste-Barcelona_Catalonia.html ), but its lowest-star feedback complains that there's not much hand-on cooking and the recipes aren't great. I'm trusting Tripadvisor less over the years. When overwhelmingly uninformed people pick the best-rated venues, they tend to rate them well no matter what, and I see self-reinforcing feedback of less objective praise.

So I'm googling for other Barcelona cooking classes. http://www.catacurian.com/2005_programs.html , despite its link, is current and looks like it has a variety of good choices. Of course, Google search results are victim to that self-reinforcing feedback too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Jkarph. Congratulations to you and your lady.

I can't help you with cooking classes in Barcelona, but I can recommend a hotel. Hotel Europark is in c/ Arago in the Eixample district. In one direction it's maybe 20 minutes' walk from the Sagrada Familia (fabulous, but book online to beat the queues), in another it's 10 minutes from Passeig de Gracia (and another 10 further on to Las Ramblas). There's one of Barcelona's wonderful markets just around the corner, and Gelonch (see other postings in this thread) is maybe two blocks away - we found it by accident!

We've stayed at the hotel twice now and would happily return. Inside it's modern and very comfortable; outside the buildings in the area are classic Barcelona. You're on a major road but the double glazing shuts the traffic noise out very effectively. We've found the staff very good on both visits (their English is great, if that's a consideration). The prices are fairly reasonable anyway, but have a look at the specials - there are usually discounts if you book early, or stay three nights or more. Some day we'll book into one of their penthouse suites for a treat, but in the meantime we've been happy in an 'average' room a couple of floors down.

Only one warning - the swimming pool is frigid!

Enjoy your trip.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still hunting for that perfect Barcelona cooking class.

As an alternative to the meh-looking top-rated TripAdvisor course at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d611509-Reviews-Cook_and_Taste-Barcelona_Catalonia.html , I've found:

http://www.golearnto.com/course/itinerary/858/spanish+cooking+course+%2b+boqueria+market+

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d2254518-Reviews-Espai_Boisa_Barcelona_Cooking_School-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d2178269-Reviews-A_Taste_of_Spain_Culinary_Day_Tours_Catalonia-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

http://www.catacurian.com/1_day_barcelona_cooking_class.html (or day trip at http://www.catacurian.com/2005_programs.html

http://www.foodietours.com/One-day-cooking-class-in-Barcelona.html

http://www.cellartours.com/spain/culinary-tours/barcelona-cooking.html

http://www.travelbar.com/spanish_cooking.htm

http://www.euroadventures.net/ViewProduct.asp?ProductID=1051&AF=52

http://www.oh-barcelona.com/en/blog/2011/things-to-do/entertainment/spanish-cooking-classes-1187

It makes me want to settle for room service. For instance, one of the five reviews of http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d2178269-Reviews-A_Taste_of_Spain_Culinary_Day_Tours_Catalonia-Barcelona_Catalonia.html , begins "As the owners of a small, family-operated bakery/restaurant," which reminds me of the planted reviews as documented in the article

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/technology/finding-fake-reviews-online.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/29/2002 at 8:12 PM, Wilfrid said:

Gourmet magazine had a brief complimentary note about Comerc 24, near the Museo Picasso, featuring the cooking of an E Bulli alumnus, Carlos Abellan.

I wonder if anyone has been there and has a view?

Thank you, and if the restaurant has been mentioned already on another thread, I apologise for my memory.

 

Yes, Chef Carles Abellan is quite amazing.   

Extraordinary signature tapas at the Borne establishment ..  

 

He also has a Michelin Star Restaurant at the Hotel "W" with views of the Mediterranean.

Higly suggested, however, reservations required. 

 

Hope you had a marvelous trip.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Beyond Taste said:

 

Yes, Chef Carles Abellan is quite amazing.   

Extraordinary signature tapas at the Borne establishment ..  

 

He also has a Michelin Star Restaurant at the Hotel "W" with views of the Mediterranean.

Higly suggested, however, reservations required. 

 

Hope you had a marvelous trip.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope he remebered the trip - it was 18 years ago.

  • Haha 2

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I hope he remebered the trip - it was 18 years ago.

 

 

Wow.   I am sure he would remember Chef Carles Abellan .. He is quite hard to forget and the Art Deco scenic set bistro - tapas bar is quite amazing too.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...