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camdan

Recommendations for a trip to Spain

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Hi,

Does anyone here have recent dining experience at Arzak, Akelarre, Can Roca, Mugaritz or Etxebarri? I may be in Spain for a couple of weeks in late August and may well try to go to one of these. I'm leaning towards Akelarre or Can Roca from what I've been reading. What's good these days?

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can roca gets my vote i ate there not too long back and i honestly believe it is 3 stars in the making,i will be eating there next month to get my fix :wacko: , arzak is also a very special place to eat though i have not eaten there this year,heard great reports from fellow chefs who have though more so than mugaritz, but its quite a distance between roca and arzak

Hi,

Does anyone here have recent dining experience at Arzak, Akelarre, Can Roca, Mugaritz or Etxebarri? I may be in Spain for a couple of weeks in late August and may well try to go to one of these. I'm leaning towards Akelarre or Can Roca from what I've been reading. What's good these days?

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Last year I had the pleasure to dine in all the restaurants that you have mentioned. I would choose Mugaritz, Can Roca and Etxebarri. You cannot go wrong with either. My last meals at Akelarre and Arzak were disappointing and just ok, respectively.

can roca gets my vote i ate there not too long back and i honestly believe it is 3 stars in the making,i will be eating there next month to get my fix  :wacko: , arzak is also a very special place to eat though i have not eaten there this year,heard great reports from fellow chefs who have though more so than mugaritz, but its quite a distance between roca and arzak
Hi,

Does anyone here have recent dining experience at Arzak, Akelarre, Can Roca, Mugaritz or Etxebarri? I may be in Spain for a couple of weeks in late August and may well try to go to one of these. I'm leaning towards Akelarre or Can Roca from what I've been reading. What's good these days?

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I was thinking Mugaritz, but the abundance of coal, clay and sheep feet sounds a little off-putting.

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We ate at Arzak and Mugaritz in April (there is a thread with my thoughts). Both were outstanding, with Arzak being absolutely incredible.

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We ate at Mugaritz last month and it was superb. Flavours were stunning and every single dish on the tasting menu was innovative and perfectly executed. Service was relaxed yet totally professional and staff were passionate and knowledgable.

I have eaten at Arzak and think it is also excellent but for me, the overall experience in Mugaritz make it a cut above the others.

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My head is spinning. I'm probably thinking Can Roca still.

If we go we're going at the end of August though, and apparently half of the country is on holiday then, I don't suppose anyone knows if this will mean the closure of any of these places?


Edited by camdan (log)

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I'm with Lenski, have eaten at all 5 and Can Roca, Mugaritz and Etxebarri would be my picks. If you do Mugaritz and Etxebarri you will get two different but equally memorable experiences. Don't really get that option down at Can Roca.

I'm off to Mugaritz again next week, and the July menus look amazing. Take a look on the website. Am currently trying to put together the menu I want - they emailed me and asked if I wanted to swap around any dishes from either menu.

On that note, Patrick_O - do you have any dishes on from the July menus that we should avoid or absolutely must have? Here are the two menus:

SUSTRAIAK 100 € + 7 % I.V.A

Silky KOKOTXA DE BACALAO served with an acacia honey emulsion.

Representing mini mozzarelas. BUTTERY IDIAZÁBAL CHEESE GNOCCI in salted Iberian pork boullion. Contrasting herbs.

CARROTS, ash and perfumed grains. A concentrated broth of sauteed squid and Arbequina olive.

Roasted bonito from the Bay of Biscay over sea chamomile and COASTAL HERBS.

Tradition, ocean and land: braised IBERIAN PORK TAILS and pan fried LANGUOSTINES. Reduced braising juices infused with Iberian “jamón”.

SELECTION OF EUSKAL HERRIA CHEESES. Artisanal ewe, cow or goats milk cheeses; abbey, monastery and farmhouse cheeses; mountain and meadow cheeses…

PRUNES. Warm and refreshing notes.

CARAMELIZED FRENCH TOAST enriched with cream and egg yolk. Homemade ice cream of ewe’s milk.

NATURAN 130 € + 7 % I.V.A.

ROASTED TOMATO SALAD, cool “chufa” milk.

TAGETE (Mari Gold) SOUP. Shellfish broth.

CARPACCIO accompanied by a sweet and sour dressing, D.O. Idiazabal cheese and vegetable splinters.

FOSSILIZED SALSIFY with briny roe and sea accents.

FILAMENTS OF CRAB with Jerusalem artichokes.

LOIN OF SOLE, under a salted seasoning of borage stalks and a reduction of the bones.

A PIECE OF MILK FED VEAL, ROASTED AND PERFUMED WITH VINE CUTTING EMBERS and fragments of thyme, cinders, salt and crisp radishes.

LOIN OF DUCK. Served with iodized compliments; crumblings and shavings of summer truffle.

RED FRUITS SERVED with an uncooked orange leaf soup.

SEVERAL SPOONFULS OF CLASHING CONTRASTS: heavy cream, sweets and leaves.

HAZELNUTS, FERNS AND VANILLA: hazelnuts and polipodium root powder with vanilla Ice cream.

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August may very well be a problem as many places are closed. All of the restaurants currently under discussion are worthwhile. Another that I will throw in the mix is Ferrero by Francisco Morales and Rut Cotroneo in Valencia. Paco is a disciple of Aduriz and is brilliant in his own right. My top meal of the year so far was by him this past January when he was still in Madrid at Senzone. Given that they are in a resort hotel, the likelihood that they will be open is high. If in the area of Valencia, Ca Sento is another not-to-miss restaurant. Valencia is a wonderful area in many ways that doesn't get a lot of play here.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Andy -- We had the Naturan menu in April and several of the dishes are the same as what you list. I would say the Carpaccio and Veal are dishes that I would strongly consider.

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Thanks - do you mean strongly consider making sure we have them? Or consider cutting out? I'm presuming the former.

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I'll second that..the carpaccio and veal were definitely standout dishes. I also thought the sole was spectacular.

The only dish that I probably wouldn't rush back for was the marigold soup.

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Thanks - do you mean strongly consider making sure we have them? Or consider cutting out? I'm presuming the former.

Make sure you have them. Sorry for the confusion.

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Got back from Spain last night, having done Arzak, Mugaritz, and Extebarri.

I found Extebarri to be the most special of the three, especially just taking in the scenery after our long lunch. The mountains surrounding Axpe are breathtaking. The smoked butter, smoked caviar, goose barnacles, and smoked oysters were out of this world. My husband said, "it smells like going camping" and was reminded of his boyhood vacations. We put ourselves in the hands of the kitchen, who, tried to kill us with kindness (who served us a large steak as the last course). I thought I might faint from happiness during the smoked caviar course. What they are doing is so unique, can you even find a similar restaurant elsewhere?

Arzak was also very good but not as daring as Mugaritz. Service was pleasant but a little harried due to a very large party that included rowdy children. Long pauses between the two dessert courses and also the petit fours. Getting to meet the father/daughter duo is nice, however. I was a little turned off by all the smoking towards the end, as the 4-top next to us chain-smoked cigars after their meals were done (we are not used to dining in smoky environments after living in CA and NYC).

But overall the food spoke to me a little bit more (foie on figs, poached egg on tomato soil, expertly cooked pigeon, perfect amuse, and the chocolate in strawberry broth dessert). The kitchen at Arzak seemed a bit more consistent while the concepts weren't as overtly clever as Mugaritz'. Slightly more satisfying but less memorable.

Mugaritz was also excellent but quite different. The food is very good, and playful, but there were some courses that did nothing for me (marigold soup was too bitter, kind of meh on the salsify, crab dish wasn't exciting). However, the overall experience put it over the top (atmosphere, service, facilities). A tour of the kitchen (I think they do this for every diner). Relaxing with coffee in the sunny terrace after lunch. Short walk through their herb/fruit/flower gardens. An extra dessert they sent out as a mystery, as they wanted us to guess what the ingredients were. I wondered out loud how long they would let us linger, as we were there for nearly 5 hours. Incredible, as a whole.

We had the Naturan menu and agree that the carpaccio and sole were spectacular (the sole reminded me of our last meal at Le Bernardin in NYC, the dish wouldn't have been out of place there). I also was pleased all four desserts we had - the "red fruits" salad, clashing contrasts, hazelnuts/vanilla/fern, and the mystery dessert ("raisin of the earth"). Surprisingly, didn't think the veal was notable aside from the preparation. I found it a little on the bland side. But everything else made up for it.


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

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I should add we were in the smoking section of Arzak as they told us the non-smoking section was fully booked (a common response it appears), though I'd requested a reservation 2 months ahead. (I wonder if their non-smoking section must be a single table.)


Edited by kathryn (log)

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

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Your post has got me so Excited, heading over there from NZ in September, wasnt going to go to Extebarri but will now, as will as the others, counting the days!!!

Got back from Spain last night, having done Arzak, Mugaritz, and Extebarri.

I found Extebarri to be the most special of the three, especially just taking in the scenery after our long lunch. The mountains surrounding Axpe are breathtaking. The smoked butter, smoked caviar, goose barnacles, and smoked oysters were out of this world. My husband said, "it smells like going camping" and was reminded of his boyhood vacations. We put ourselves in the hands of the kitchen, who, tried to kill us with kindness (who served us a large steak as the last course). I thought I might faint from happiness during the smoked caviar course. What they are doing is so unique, can you even find a similar restaurant elsewhere?

Arzak was also very good but not as daring as Mugaritz. Service was pleasant but a little harried due to a very large party that included rowdy children. Long pauses between the two dessert courses and also the petit fours. Getting to meet the father/daughter duo is nice, however. I was a little turned off by all the smoking towards the end, as the 4-top next to us chain-smoked cigars after their meals were done (we are not used to dining in smoky environments after living in CA and NYC).

But overall the food spoke to me a little bit more (foie on figs, poached egg on tomato soil, expertly cooked pigeon, perfect amuse, and the chocolate in strawberry broth dessert). The kitchen at Arzak seemed a bit more consistent while the concepts weren't as overtly clever as Mugaritz'. Slightly more satisfying but less memorable.

Mugaritz was also excellent but quite different. The food is very good, and playful, but there were some courses that did nothing for me (marigold soup was too bitter, kind of meh on the salsify, crab dish wasn't exciting). However, the overall experience put it over the top (atmosphere, service, facilities). A tour of the kitchen (I think they do this for every diner). Relaxing with coffee in the sunny terrace after lunch. Short walk through their herb/fruit/flower gardens. An extra dessert they sent out as a mystery, as they wanted us to guess what the ingredients were. I wondered out loud how long they would let us linger, as we were there for nearly 5 hours. Incredible, as a whole.

We had the Naturan menu and agree that the carpaccio and sole were spectacular (the sole reminded me of our last meal at Le Bernardin in NYC, the dish wouldn't have been out of place there). I also was pleased all four desserts we had - the "red fruits" salad, clashing contrasts, hazelnuts/vanilla/fern, and the mystery dessert ("raisin of the earth"). Surprisingly, didn't think the veal was notable aside from the preparation. I found it a little on the bland side. But everything else made up for it.

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August may very well be a problem as many places are closed. All of the restaurants currently under discussion are worthwhile. Another that I will throw in the mix is Ferrero by Francisco Morales and Rut Cotroneo in Valencia. Paco is a disciple of Aduriz and is brilliant in his own right. My top meal of the year so far was by him this past January when he was still in Madrid at Senzone. Given that they are in a resort hotel, the likelihood that they will be open is high. If in the area of Valencia, Ca Sento is another not-to-miss restaurant. Valencia is a wonderful area in many ways that doesn't get a lot of play here.

Currently writing from our room at Ferrero. The feast, in a couple of hours. Tomorrow, El Poblet.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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August may very well be a problem as many places are closed. All of the restaurants currently under discussion are worthwhile. Another that I will throw in the mix is Ferrero by Francisco Morales and Rut Cotroneo in Valencia. Paco is a disciple of Aduriz and is brilliant in his own right. My top meal of the year so far was by him this past January when he was still in Madrid at Senzone. Given that they are in a resort hotel, the likelihood that they will be open is high. If in the area of Valencia, Ca Sento is another not-to-miss restaurant. Valencia is a wonderful area in many ways that doesn't get a lot of play here.

Currently writing from our room at Ferrero. The feast, in a couple of hours. Tomorrow, El Poblet.

Sweet. I look forward to your report.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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have to agree with doc, valencia is a great city and ca sento is very nice balance to el poblet, as it is ingredient led not technique and we dined here the day after el poblet and was very much enjoyed

August may very well be a problem as many places are closed. All of the restaurants currently under discussion are worthwhile. Another that I will throw in the mix is Ferrero by Francisco Morales and Rut Cotroneo in Valencia. Paco is a disciple of Aduriz and is brilliant in his own right. My top meal of the year so far was by him this past January when he was still in Madrid at Senzone. Given that they are in a resort hotel, the likelihood that they will be open is high. If in the area of Valencia, Ca Sento is another not-to-miss restaurant. Valencia is a wonderful area in many ways that doesn't get a lot of play here.

Currently writing from our room at Ferrero. The feast, in a couple of hours. Tomorrow, El Poblet.

Sweet. I look forward to your report.

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Just wondering what the menu prices at Mugaritz are at the moment. Their web site is not displaying prices.

Martin.


Martin

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They were in Andy Fenn's post up above and look right to me as we were just there last week...

SUSTRAIAK 100 € + 7 % I.V.A

NATURAN 130 € + 7 % I.V.A.


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

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Thanks. I am going in August and I am looking forward to an interesting and hopefully very tasty lunch.


Martin

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