Paco Meralgo, Barcelona, 11/13/16

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exterior

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

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

Alkimia, Barcelona, 11/10/16

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Entrance

Alkimia is a little hard to find, marked only by a discreet sign by the door and dark interior. We ventured in and up the stairs to find no reception desk or person but obviously tables.  They have only been in this location since June, after taking a year off for a move from their previous location of 13 years.  There are two rooms upstairs, along with private party rooms, one of which serves a more limited menu. Everything is very stylized including the uniforms of the personnel, the dishes and the modern decor in the rooms, but the ornate ceiling shows the building’s age. In the main dining room with the open kitchen, there are 6 tables and you have a choice of two tasting menus or a la carte dining.   Continue reading

Restaurant Can Pineda, Barcelona, 11/10/16

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Entrance

Can Pineda is a small restaurant of 2 rooms with wine barrels overhead and photos decorating the walls.  The building started as a place to purchase wine and the barrels used to store the wines have long been empty but now serve as a decorative touch.  It has been a restaurant for over 100 years with the current owners in place for 45 years, a sister and brother team.  You enter into the smaller room that is mostly taken up with a bar/counter and pass through a short corridor filled with cases of iced down meats and seafood and cartons of fresh mushrooms and vegetables. It bodes well for the quality of the food to come.  There is a fairly large menu along with several specials of the day. Continue reading

Ca L’Isidre, Barcelona, 3/27/14

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exterior

This is small restaurant that has been around a long time with the same owner. A real ‘old school’ experience with elegant appointments even at lunch. The owner was in the room and came by to chat with all the guests and seemed to know some regulars. The waiter was delightful and helped us make great choices and find a delicious value on wine. Everything tasted fresh and was packed with flavor. Not an off note here and I’d definitely go back if ever in Barcelona again!

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Cinc Sentits, Barcelona, 3/29/14

Cinc Sentits exterior
Cinc Sentits exterior

A tasting menu at a smaller, quiet place that has Barcelona foodies buzzing. As with many of the Barcelona restaurants they have particular ways to eat many of the courses, like here’s 3 things eat this one first, etc or eat this with your hands. I understand the chef has a plan in mind but I didn’t care for the intrusiveness on my dining experience. Otherwise this place is quite good. The flavors were assertive and the foie gras was a standout with it’s wonderful pastry underneath. The restaurant’s name is to indicate that the chef wants to appeal to all five senses and he did a nice job.

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Pakta, Barcelona, 3/29/14

Pakta exterior
Pakta exterior

Another of Albert Adria’s Barcelona restaurants, a combination of Spanish, Japanese and Peruvian chefs to produce a Peruvian cuisine with a Japanese twist. It sounded strange to me but they make it work. There were some really good flavor combinations on the main menu but the dessert portion fell short with only the sweet potato donuts leaving you wanting more. The red

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41 Degrees, Barcelona, 3/28/14

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imprinted napkins

Another of the Adria restaurants named for the parallel of latitude on which Barcelona is situated. It is located in the same building as Tickets, and even shares the bathroom facilities, but is the darker more intimate half. It does have video screens and moody music but they are more in the background instead of Tickets ‘in your face’ atmosphere. 41 is a tapas restaurant till midnight at which time it turns into a bar.

Since the menu spans huge territories of taste, we opted to go with their drink pairings which I often do not care for but these were just right and they were gracious enough to

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Tickets, Barcelona, 3/26/14

Tickets exterior
Tickets exterior

Tickets is a hot reservation to get in Barcelona and is one of several restaurants run by Albert and Ferran Adria. It was my least favorite of the several that we visited. Here the atmosphere trumped the food. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad but too much had been put into the theme of being a an old-time movie theater. The staff was mostly helpful but didn’t look like they

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Cal Pep, Barcelona, 3/26 & 27/14

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entrance

This tiny little place packs them in! We lined up to be in the first wave of diners as the walk in business is all served at the counter. Bigger parties can reserve tables in a back room but you’d lose the ambiance there. Our first visit we sat right across from the cooking station and it was amazing how fast 2 guys could turn out wonderful tapas.

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