Paco Meralgo, Barcelona, 11/13/16

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Paco Meralgo is a reasonably large place with two rooms of small tables, bar seating on two sides of the kitchen and bar seating around some of the walls. We could not get a reservation so we showed up when they first opened hoping to get one of  the unreserved seats at the bar.  It turned out they did have a table available which does give you a bit more room, but everywhere here seating is tight.  Service is friendly and efficient but it doesn’t have the feel of a place to sit and linger over your meal.  Nevertheless, it does serve some tasty food with a large selection to chose from.   Continue reading

Can Solé, Barcelona, 11/13/16

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Exterior

Can Solé is a good sized place with two dining rooms downstairs and additional dining upstairs.  I didn’t go up to see the size of the room upstairs but a lot of people headed up there. In fact the place was full; I overheard several walk-ins get turned away – so do get a reservation.  This place dates back to 1903 and still has the feel of a family run operation-which a wall of photos attests to.  Not all the staff were fluent in English but we had no trouble communicating and their enthusiasm for the dishes made it easy to make selections. Continue reading

La Taverna del Clinic, Barcelona, 11/12/16

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exterior

La Taverna del Clinic is a medium sized place with a modern feel and decorations consisting mostly of wine, liquor and champagne bottles. There is a long counter opposite a series of tightly packed tables.  Nice personalized linens and clothes set a more formal tone. It is a good sized menu with plates to share or small portions and a tasting menu. With a 10:00 pm reservation we thought it might be winding down but it serves the late crowd with the tables and bar filling up soon after we arrived. Our server was friendly and helpful and spoke good English.  We didn’t want a lot but did want to sample some of their best items.   Continue reading

El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, 11/12/16

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El Celler de Can Roca was on the top of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” in 2013 and 2015, slipping to #2 this year. It still is a total dining experience, not just a meal. Located a short train ride from Barcelona, Girona is a tourist heavy town with shopping and tours of the locations where the popular TV show “Game of Thrones” has been filmed.  The restaurant takes a cab ride from the train station, as it is not right in town.  In an ivy covered building with a lovely enclosed patio is the very modern dining area.  As expected they have tons of service people and yet they overlooked the fact that one of their service carts  (which are located throughout the dining space) was located so close to our table
that they had to bump into me every time they opened a door or bent down to get something.  It was a very odd thing for a restaurant of this caliber, but they either noticed or heard me talking and pretty soon the cart was moved enough that we could both be in the area without colliding. Continue reading

Sense Pressa, Barcelona, 11/11/16

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Exterior

Sense Pressa is a small place with walls lined with wine and spirits.  There are only about 6 tables so reservations are a must and well worth the effort to get one.  Owner José Díaz keeps a close eye on the dining room and seemed to know many of the customers.  The menu is available in Spanish, Catalan and English and luckily he and his son Victor are there to help you pick just the right selections, however Victor speaks much better English.  In addition to the menu listings there may be specials of the day. Victor also is the wine buyer and was most helpful in that department. It was a thoroughly delightful evening in their house.   Continue reading

Bar Cañete, Barcelona, 11/11/16

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Exterior

Bar Cañete is primarily counter seating, some facing the open kitchen, and a couple tables in front and back.  They offer a menu of plates to share and a couple of specials for the day. The staff were helpful in choosing what to try, if we only wanted to try a few plates.  They also helped pick one of the many wines by the glass to go with the food.  Everything was good but not as spectacular as the reviews had made me think it would be. Nevertheless it was a nice experience and the chef was observant enough to note that we had already ordered shrimp and so she left it out of the sweetbreads order, so as to not duplicate.   Continue reading

Gresca, Barcelona, 11/11/16

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Exterior

Gresca has about a dozen tables with a open kitchen in the back of the house. They offer longer tastings but at lunch they have a nicely priced lunch tasting menu with 2 choices for each of three courses. The friendly staff spoke good English but the majority of talk I heard was in Spanish.  One large mirror adorns one wall and otherwise it’s just ecru colored paint. Lunch had a full house of patrons.   Continue reading