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Barcelona Good Value Eating


tjdnewyork
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My two biggest regrets from my trip to Spain last year was that I got sick and had to miss dinner at Can Roca and I was too full to fully appreciate Cinc Sentits. The photos and descriptions reinforce the latter

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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It looks beautiful enough to eat! I have reservations for the 15th October at Cinc.

Everything else is pretty much up in the air. I don't want to plan too much. It should be fun though.

Edited by raisab (log)

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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I don't want to plan too much.

Planning too little can be just as bad - or worse!

I agree it can be just as bad or worse, but as I am traveling this time with todos los ninos, I don't think some of these resto's are truly appropriate for this type of vacation. Food as an art is wonderful, but I want them to experience food as in "this is your heritage", at least on this trip. My husbands' and my grandparents were Spanish and we are 2nd generation Cuban, my children 1st generation American!

I will try making reservations at other restaurants later this week. If you have any other suggestions,as in where a typical Spanish family would eat out iit would be most greatly appreciated. Otherwise I have gotten some very good suggestions from Gulleteers and others. :biggrin:

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Hello everyone, this is my first post. I don't know if there's a separate forum for introductions so I'll skip my autobiography until I know :)

Raisab,

A very typical place to eat is La Esquinica on Avenida Fabra i Puig. It's a few metro stops out of the centre (Virrei Amat on the blue line) but all the taxi drivers know it.

It's a cheap, loud, crowded, fun tapas bar that has been family run and owned for years. My fiancee's family are from nearby and all the locals seem to go there regularly. It's certainly not high cuisine but if you get there early (before 9pm, 8.30 even better) you'll avoid the truly horrendous queues that develop.

Most people don't read the menu, if there even is one. Just point at what others are having or ask the manic waiters what they suggest.

The food is good and fresh, but I think that the ever-increasing popularity of the place has taken the edge off the quality slightly. The focus is on quality ingredients rather than preparation which helps. Some things, like the croquettes, are bought in but the waiters will always tell you this when you order. It's still worth a visit for the atmosphere alone.

Enjoy your visit!

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GeordieSteve,

Welcome to EGullet! That is exactly what I am looking for! If you can think of anything else, please do post it. Thanks!

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Okay I know I'm the major dissenter on this one and I do realize that I may have caught the place on a bad night, but I have to say that I didn't have such a great experience at Cinc Sentits. I went there back in March or April and if I hadn't read so many raves since then I probably would not return. Here were my gripes: the place is a bit Americanized, which make sense since I understand the owner or chef is from the US. Still, the solicitousness of the service was out of character with Barcelona, which some may consider a good thing but I considered a bit strange. Also there was an odd thing--I was there with a Spanish friend and the waiter didn't speak Spanish very well. He spoke English well, though. Sevice was very polite and friendly but operationally erratic. I guess I feel that part of why this place is making so many waves among foreigners is that it caters to them and reaches out to them in a way that many other places do not. But I'm not sure that makes for a great Barcelona place. The food was very good, that said, but for the price I thought the service kind of ruined it. I don't know...just my thoughts on one visit. I will try it again though.

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TJD,

The price, did you feel that it was expensive? When we dined there we told the Chef that he should raise his prices. I am not sure what you are using as your parameters, but I do not feel that based on price that it is out of line for that kind of restaurant. We had the Chef's sister as our server and she was very good. If one wished to be critical, I can see the "operational erratic" comment. Though overall, this is a family run restaurant and there is a charm in that. You did say that the food was very good, so give them another shot.

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Okay I know I'm the major dissenter on this one and I do realize that I may have caught the place on a bad night, but I have to say that I didn't have such a great experience at Cinc Sentits.  I went there back in March or April and if I hadn't read so many raves since then I probably would not return.  Here were my gripes: the place is a bit Americanized, which make sense since I understand the owner or chef is from the US.  Still, the solicitousness of the service was out of character with Barcelona, which some may consider a good thing but I considered a bit strange.  Also there was an odd thing--I was there with a Spanish friend and the waiter didn't speak Spanish very well.  He spoke English well, though.  Sevice was very polite and friendly but operationally erratic.  I guess I feel that part of why this place is making so many waves among foreigners is that it caters to them and reaches out to them in a way that many other places do not.  But I'm not sure that makes for a great Barcelona place.  The food was very good, that said, but for the price I thought the service kind of ruined it.  I don't know...just my thoughts on one visit.  I will try it again though.

Taste, in food as well as in service and ambience, is subjective. I would not dispute the fact that the restaurant is more international in style than a restaurant like Ca L'Isidre for example, or that the some Americanization hasn't been grated on the family's Catalan roots. Barcelona is a prime tourist city. More than that, it's a port city for Mediterranean cruise ships. Many of the best restaurants in town cater to tourists as do many of the ordinary out of the way restaurants. Last spring we ate at Comerç24, Abac and L'Olivé, the first two were as international in ambience as Cinc Sentits. At Comerç24, the waiter was pandering to a table of five loud and most informally dressed young diners from the UK. At Abac, the diners were all restrained, but there were a good number of Anglophones in the room. At L'Olivé, a good neighborhood restaurant serving more traditional Catalan food, one waiter was playing up to a very nmixed group of loud Americans who had evidently met on the boat. The afternoon we were at Cinc Sentits, business was relatively slow, so I don't have much to say about the typical crowd it may draw on a good night, but I think it's unfair to say it reaches out to foreigners the way other restaurants in Barcelona do not. Cinc Sentits may be short on local color, and even the food may nod a few times to international tastes, but in a way, that should make it less of a tourist destination. In fact, I might not recommed it to tourists who weren't gastrotourists.

I will admit that having followed Jordi's progress on the net, and in this forum to some extent, that I felt so at home as not to notice anything strange about the service, but I can't fault a friendly welcome and the ability to explain the menu and discuss the wine list in English. I once recall a thread here about avoiding restaurants frequented by tourists. I think I agreed that a tour bus outside was a bad sign, but that a preponderance of foreigners was not always a bad sign at a restaurant. The very best restaurants become destinations and draw a clientele worldwide. Cinc Sentits has been well reviewed locally, and gotten some good English language press outside this forum.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Still, the solicitousness of the service was out of character with Barcelona, which some may consider a good thing but I considered a bit strange.  Also there was an odd thing--I was there with a Spanish friend and the waiter didn't speak Spanish very well. 

I was at Cinc Sentits twice in early September. While the owners were certainly

friendly, the service was for the most part not that different from my experience

in similar restaurants in Barcelona (I also ate at Hisop, Gaig, and Espai Sucre).

My waiter was Spanish and spoke limited English; in fact, he had to run back

to the kitchen several times in the middle of describing a dish, to check on

the translation.

My favorite meal was at Espai Sucre; I had the 5-course all-dessert tasting,

which had a very nice variety of flavors and textures.

There were wonderful items at the other meals as well, though my heavy all-offal

selection at Gaig for lunch on a hot day was probably not optimal...

On a more traditional note, I also had very nice meals at Cafe de l'Academia and Agut

d'Avignon.

Bill, jonesing to return already

Edited by subliminalkid (log)
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I've ben in Barcelona for 7 years and I'm still learning. When I think of the money I've wasted on mediocre menu del dias that I could have saved and spent on great food it depresses me.

Anyway, I went to Quimet i Quimet tonight for the first time on the recommendation of many on here.

Wow.

We placed ourselves entirely in the hands of Joanna Quimet, who chose some simple wonderful food for us. A platter of smoked fish, then foie gras, then pate with setas and truffle oil, some croquetas, some cheese montaditos, each matched with an appropriate wine....

15 euros per person.

HOW have I missed this place? Phenomenal value. I'll be back - thank you, everyone who's mentioned this place.

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I've ben in Barcelona for 7 years and I'm still learning. When I think of the money I've wasted on mediocre menu del dias that I could have saved and spent on great food it depresses me.

Anyway, I went to Quimet i Quimet tonight for the first time on the recommendation of many on here.

Wow.

We placed ourselves entirely in the hands of Joanna Quimet, who chose some simple wonderful food for us. A platter of smoked fish,  then foie gras, then pate with setas and truffle oil, some croquetas, some cheese montaditos, each matched with an appropriate wine....

15 euros per person.

HOW have I missed this place?  Phenomenal value. I'll be back - thank you, everyone who's mentioned this place.

Geordie,

This menu is at lunch? It sounds wonderful!

Edited to add, I looked around the forum and found the recommendation under Barcelona recommendations. It is a tapas bar, sounds good, I will try it.

Edited by raisab (log)

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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I've just remembered another restaurant worth visiting if anyone's in the Sagrada Familia area. La Yaya Amelia (C/ Sardenya 364, tel. 934564573) is an old favourite. The restaurant is old fashioned and so is the food - bacalau, chuletones and the like take centre stage - but it's a pleasure to eat there and the wine list is excellent. They were awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand award a few years ago but lost it, I suspect, because they started to raise their prices. It's not expensive but the popularity of the area as a tourist destination has certainly affected things.

The owners have opened a second restaurant and delicatessen just around the corner on C/ Corsega. I prefer the original for the (lack of!) decor and the family atmosphere (you can expect the waiters to have one eye on the TV if there's a big football game on and you might get a free drink if the result goes their way!) but the food is the same in both. I suspect that this splitting of attention between the two locations is partly to blame for the slight drop in standards I've noticed in recent years - but that's not to say that it isn't still worth a visit.

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I am off to Barcelona tomorrow, but I jsut saw the weather forcasts! RAIN! Everyday! Should I jsut cancel? I just spent an awful weekend in Rome where it was pouring! Any suggestions?

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Restaurants tend to be quite dry. :smile:

Since we're having the driest year in the last 125 years, with serious drought problems all over the country, we're happy to get as much rain (gentle; no floods, thanks) as we possibly could.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I am off to Barcelona tomorrow, but I jsut saw the weather forcasts! RAIN! Everyday! Should I jsut cancel? I just spent an awful weekend in Rome where it was pouring! Any suggestions?

Yes! Cancel! Spain is horrible when it is raining, awful weather! That is why I moved from Cantabria to Minnesota.

Seriously, I believe your are traveling with your children, that could be a thing to consider. However, I do not think you should think about canceling a trip to Barcelona just because the weather calls for rain. There are too many things to do where rain does not play an important role.

Have fun

Alex

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Restaurants are quite dry, but I have to walk off that food! :laugh: We have had rain here at home for the past 5 days also, after an extremely dry year! Time for the rain jackets I guess.

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Restaurants are quite dry, but I have to walk off that food! :laugh:  We have had rain here at home for the past 5 days also, after an extremely dry year! Time for the rain jackets I guess.

I know some people consider Spain to be a bit behind in some European trends, but I'm pretty sure the umbrella revolution is here to stay.

We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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Raisa, you can always walk around the Boqueria. It is covered! :laugh:

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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Well, my trip had been postponed until the 4th Nov! Not because of the rain, but because 2 of our passports had expired! :wacko: We travel so often I hadn't bothered to check! Stupid me!

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Well, my trip had been postponed until the 4th Nov! Not because of the rain, but because 2 of our passports had expired! :wacko:  We travel so often I hadn't bothered to check! Stupid me!

No, lucky you. The weather is horrendous; some Metro stations are completely flooded and it's still raining. I hope it's better by November!

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