Now that we’ve been back in Paris for a few days (and that the Christmas meal is over and done with) I just wanted to mention some of the main points from our final 2 days in Barcelona.
On the food front, we continued to test out the suggestions of our guide book, this time getting a 100% success rate
Arrived at 14hrs, service pretty poor (that is, the head waiter wasn’t in the slightest bit helpful – he really didn’t want to let us have a “menu estival” and a selection of tapas at the same time), but the food was a real experience…not always great, but always interesting. Overall cost was excessive at 120€, but given that we felt as though we’d been taken on an interesting 2 hour culinary journey, it didn’t bother us so much. The outstanding “taste” points were : chocolate with salt and olive oil, black rice with razor fish, caviar with tuna tartare and egg yolk, oxtail and truffle with a cauliflower écume, morrel and razor fish ravioli. I’d recommend it, for lunch – insist on sitting in the area which looks onto the open kitchen…..as always, it’s interesting to see how they work.
The team suggests a short menu (3 starters, 3 mains, 3 desserts) with 1 drink (wine or soft drink) and bread included for 13,50€. I wouldn’t say that the food was excellent (desserts were v. basic, but the mains and starters that we had were decent), but they were good, honest dishes with efforts on the combinations (coconut and squash soup) and presentation. Right next to the wonderful food market “La Boqueria”, it makes a very cheap place to chill out and fill up. The view ain’t great, however, given that it looks onto a scruffy carpark, and I wonder how it would be when it is very cold and raining (even though it was a dull, cool day, we ate outside, as did everyone, and I didn’t see a great deal of space inside). The products can’t be top notch, but I’ve eaten in much more expensive restaurants where the products are probably of the same relatively low quality, but the cuisine has been much poorer and the bill much bigger (money going into a better location and fancier view – I’m thinking particularly of the restaurant “Agua”).
On the tourist visit front, Gaudi remained the top visit…this time the Sagrada Familia and the Casa Milà (Pedrera). I spent a couple of hours at the MACBA (Contemporary Art Museum) at the end of a rainy day – ticket for 3 exhibitions 7,50€ which is valid for 1 month. So, good value, just shame that I didn’t understand either the permanent or the Joan Jonas exhibitions, but enjoyed the one covering American and French modern art in the 1950’s.
On the shopping front, my wife thoroughly appreciated the chain of shops “Desegual” (it’s not spelt like that but it’s close….I think !) – very spanish.
A lovely city and worth a second visit – maybe when the weather is a bit better, though !