2024 European Food Crawl - Barcelona……Dinner at Michelin 1* HISOP

According to the authoritative and well respected Spanish ‘ Soles Repsol ‘ restaurant guide ( Spanish equivalent to Michelin and also based on a 3 stars/suns rating system ). HISOP is way under-rated and should deserve closer to a 2* ( or 2 Soles ) than just the current one.

Going through their website, the unbelievable sight of their only 90 Euro (CAD 135) all inclusive, 9 course tasting menu was way too attractive an offer for us to give it a pass. Making this place as one of our trip’s Michelin star destinations was a no-brainer!

The resulting memorable and highly enjoyable meal at this quaint and cozy gastronomic retreat was way more than what we expected. Creations using some interesting local ingredients were educational to us uninitiated outsiders. The dishes, refined and lovingly executed and artfully plated. However, the one thing that stood out the most, was how flexible and accommodating the chef was towards our requests! Replacing our cheese course with …of all things, a mind-blowingly delicious ‘ Grilled Pigeon ‘ dish……ah! that sauce!! And for my daughter, the gamey Lamb dish with a Galician beef Picanha and Chanterelle mushrooms alternative.

Besides the meal at Tokyo’s Michelin 1* Sputnik, this HISOP dinner must ranked as the most enjoyable and BEST VALUE 1* dining experience I have come across to date!..and to think of our current Toronto 1* recipients like Enigma charging $360 or ALO charging $285 for a similar number of courses……excluding tax and tips!! These make our Spanish experience an even better and unforgettable deal…and the latter more like highway robbery!!😝


My wife and I ate at Hisop when we visited Barcelona in 2013, and we loved it. Our other favorite was Cal Pep, which you should definitely try, even though it may not be the same as it was back then.


That’s an incredible deal for that level of food! We had an equally great experience at a 1* Michelin place in Lisbon that was frankly more affordable than more mediocre, non-starred places we’ve dined at in the US and elsewhere.


Great description of your meal and a great value!

I ate at HISOP many years ago, it must have been just after they opened (that same trip we dined at TICKETS on the second night after that restaurant opened). We liked both of those, for different reasons.

The funny thing at TICKETS was that my girlfriend and I were seated at the counter, next to two young women from Singapore. They were very interested in my back and forth conversation with our waiter, most of it in Spanish but I did get into very detailed comments about various menu items.
The two women seated next to me overheard that my name was erica, since I told it to the waiter.

When the pair left the restaurant, one of them handed me a folded note with something to the effect of “Oh my goodness, I believe you are ERICA from Chowhound…we were so impressed to be seated next to you and felt very honored!!”

First and only time in my life I ever got a “mash” note!!!

I also absolutely fell in love with CAL PEP on those early visits to Barcelona. The first time we just walked in and took a seat but just a few years later, people were lining up outside…I’ve never read anything about it since then and Ii wonder if it is still good. I won’t forget the tiny clams and my first taste of butifarra…I was just in heaven feeling as if I was really IN Barcelona…and they had another more formal place behind the bar which we never investigated.

Has all that changed by now??

Charles, great work here!!! One of these we have to share another dinner–you choose the place–Spain, I hope, but maybe even Toronto!! Great stuff.


GREAT tale Erica!!
Another chowmeet??!! Yes, I would love that!
BTW, Alfred, the Austrian who was part of our mini-chowmeet at Fu-Sing in Hong Kong came visit me last year with his daughter. We had a great ’ Chinese food ’ time…considering great Chinese food in Vienna is almost nonexistent!
As well, we drove all the way into Niagara wine country and ate at a place called ’ Pearl Morrisette ‘…the chef used to be sous at Paris ’ Septime’!!
FYI, my next posting will be the ’ buttock hurting ’ 4+ hours lunch at Disfruta!..even longer than the meal I had Eleven Madison Park years ago ( before the pure veggie day ). One of the reasons why we decided to skip eating at Asador Etxebarri …another 4+ hours marathon!..more agony than enjoyment!

Take care, chowfriend!

PS: Guess what? I still kept the slip of paper with your ‘10022’ address with me till this day!! email address using AOL.com! Wow!!
Those were the days!!

The Spanish Guide should be ’ Guia Repsol ’


Sep 2014 • Solo

I really don’t get all the hype about this joint. Food was tasty, service was robot like and it was full of loud obnoxious tourists. Luckily I didn’t have to wait for a seat or I would have been really peeved. 45 Euros for a small plate of clams(tasty) some calamari(good) some tomato bread(meh) and the highlight of my lunch Butifarra w/foie and beans(great) plus a beer. This is for 1…at lunch. There’s better."

This was my review from my lunch there in 2014 :sweat_smile:

Charles, yes those WERE the days but let them long continue.
You know my name, just use the gmail. Any trips planned for future yet?

Japan I hope?!

Things can change a lot in 10 years!

True, they could be worse :sweat_smile:

I agree with you completely about Cal Pep. Now it’s simply a tourist restaurant, which is a shame.
I used to rave about it many years ago, but I wouldn’t consider going back. There are so many other, better dining options in Barcelona these days.

I ate at Cal Pep a few years ago and it was great. The best meal in Barcelona I had was at Restaurant Windsor. I had a stuffed Pig Trotter, it was to me the best tasting dish that I have ever eaten.

Has Pep passed? He looked a little unwell about 12 years ago?

Another one I liked on that long-ago trip was PaComerAlgo…they taught me how to make a dessert with bread and melted chocolate skittered with salt flakes…

How is that one?

The big ticket for us, besides TICKETS, which was almost unknown to foreigners, was CINQ SENTITS…(?)
And there was LOLITA helmed by a well-regarded chef but I think that is shuttered. I imagine that I got all of these names from Maribel!!

And we went to Quimet y Quimet and it was jam packed with bros from the US…could not get out of there fast enough and I felt sad for the few locals huddled at the bar…what had become of their “local??”

Paco Meralgo is still going strong. It´s spelled that way, but many don´t understand the inside joke, “pa´comer algo” (for eating something). No, the chef’s name isn’t Paco Meralgo!

Cinc Sentits is as well, with now 2 Michelin stars.

Mil gracias, Maribel! So Pep shall be crossed off my list?
(No plans to visit Barcelona soon but now that coming and going from Spain has become almost a regular occurrence for me, I’m always thinking a few trips ahead…)

Truthfully, however, I have avoided returning to Barcelona for fear of the inundation of foreign tourists and digital nomads who seem to figure into the current scene now. I would only go in winter and even then… I still hunger to visit in and around Begur, and have not forgotten the episode when the late Anthony Bourdain ate at RAFA in Roses, a place I’ve rarely seen mentioned on this or any other food forum…

Spain encompasses so many food territories in one fairly small area…here I thought I’d “been” to much of the country. How silly was that thought. Believe it or not, I’ve just come across a crop of articles about Castilla La Mancha…This one is good, beginning in Toledo…with Eric Ripert narrating and includes mazapan (be still, my heart!), Manchego, and a few restaurants…

Yes, Castilla La Mancha also needs some exploring. We had a terrific lunch recently in Ocaña at Restaurante Palio with 1 Repsol sun, and there’s also Talavera de la Reina the terrific Raíces with 1 Michelin star. Plus many others yet to explore.

That’s a very good article BTW.

So many great food lover’s hot spots these days in Spain. It takes a lifetime to explore them.
I’ve been doing this for 53 years and have a long way to go (I started very early, as a young girl…)
It’s hard to keep up because new culinary hot spots are cropping up all over the country.

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