Barcelona Trip Report

Arrived later than expected, due to nightmare travel out of NYC Christmas night (didn’t take off until 4-something in the morning of the 26th). No food upon arrival at midnight therefore. Hungry as heck the next day, so had two full meals. Also, though I came armed with @mariacarmen’s wonderful list of bars and food, I just haven’t been able to deal with that scene this trip. (I arrived exhausted, and slept much of the first two days.) Looked in on that fantastic looking bar across from Tapeo that she recommended so highly twice, but it was teeming both times, with a line out the door, so I moved on…next time! This trip, I have eaten almost exclusively meals, as opposed to snacks. Also, am traveling solo, and need to mention here that there is almost nothing like the welcome at Barca restaurants for the solo traveler (in my opinion).

Can Majo in Barceloneta is a favorite of mine, and to arrive from 7 degree weather and be able to have lunch out on the terrace by the sea was worth it even if the meal wasn’t. (Spoiler–it was.) I love the baby clams I seem only to be able to get in Spain, and Can Majo prepares them simply with olive oil and parsley, very delicious. (Note, I seem to have been haphazard with photos.) Then they made me a half portion (served usually for two, but I was solo) of their amazing fideua with shellfish. (Fiduea, like paella, but with noodles instead of rice):

That night I ate at a restaurant called Slow & Low, just awarded a Michelin start, but I was excited by their mostly fish/shellfish tasting menu. It’s a no-choice 14-course menu at night (I think there weren’t quite 14, but plenty, a lot, not overkill). I did take pictures here…the food incredibly beautiful as well as delicious. Greeted by one of the chefs (from Mexico), who was running the food, he asked me if I would like to sit at the bar watching the kitchen. Well, yes…!

I was at the end, so also was able to watch his deft coordination of 14 dishes for lots of diners, eating at different times. Pretty incredible feat. Anyway, started me with a cocktail, a riff on a gin fizz/pisco sour kinda thing. It was gin infused with sage, some pineapple, egg white on top, flaky salt bits on top too. Not too sweet, not a “lolipop” @small_h. Really very delicious cocktail:

First course of “snacks” was maybe mackerel? with three different sauces, and the mochi had gorganzola and some kind of nut in it. Wow, the meal just went from there:

I should have taken notes, and I won’t bore you with all of the pictures, but some to give examples. This was an oyster (cut in half), with baby crispy tortillas in a spinach and (something else green) sauce, some aioli, toasted black sesame, a little olive oil drops, eaten with a spoon:

This was soba noodle in light broth with raw red shrimp, crispy chicken skin on top. Also, just delicious:

I could have lived without the meat dish. Perfectly good, but the other fish and vegetable dishes were really extraordinary, and then there was this second dessert, chocolate and hazelnut, just my kinda thing:

I have to get ready for my last dinner, so will come back…if there’s interest in the other Slow & Low pics, let me know, and I’ll upload them. This one, their “surf and turf” dish–the turf is chicken, the surf lobster claw:

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That looks and sounds wonderful. Such a great city to visit.
And there’s no such thing as too many pictures.

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Wow! I haven’t been to Spain in 27 years, and I still remember how good the food was. Also, I have sage and gin and egg white!

So very true! Great report, thank you, keep them coming!

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Love your report -. More please!!

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ninkat,
Add me to the fans of this trip report!
Can Majò has been a favorite of our for rice dishes for quite some time.
And now I must add SLOW & LOW to my dining list.
More please!

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Bravo! Can Majo and Slow & Low are now on my list of places to try when we go next time! Thanks for a great report, glad you enjoyed.

and yes please, share every morsel!

Wow, okay! Heading to Paris for New Year’s but will post the rest when I arrive there. Had two more incredible dinners.

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Weirdly, I was thinking of you at almost every meal and how much you would enjoy the Barcelona food scene.

Other pictures from Slow & Low:

This was some kind of lightly poached (?) fish with fancy mushrooms (chanterelles?) in some delicious sauce, again best eaten with a spoon.

This was the meat dish. Again some delicious mushrooms and the gravy also yum. I didn’t quite understand why the rice crispies, but have to admit that they were fun to eat, a different texture, and I’m guessing that’s why.

This was something else toward the beginning. Can’t for the life of me remember what it was, but I know I enjoyed it.

This was a vegetable dish. I can’t recall what the little cake item was, but it was wasabi sorbet, some roe on top. Sorry, just can’t recall exactly. But as you can see, lots of variation in the dishes. Playful. Fun. Delicious.

This was the exceptional (to me) red wine I drank with that meat dish. I very much enjoyed the white I drank also, but didn’t get a picture. He started me with a pink bubbly wine, he said wasn’t cava. Not really my thing, wine with bubbles, but I played along, as it definitely felt festive that he opened the bottle for me.

I snacked on pork ribs with honey mustard, leeks confit and patatas bravas for lunch the next day at Tapeo in Born. I love those ribs and potatoes; the leeks were a new one for me, served with a sauce made of black olives. Liked that too.

Dinner was at Suculent, where I had never been. Again, there was a warm welcome from the maitre d’, who again sat me at the end of the bar (no kitchen, but lots going on there). Welcome drink nearly put me away…not really my thing (some vermouth cocktail). Again, I chose to eat a tasting menu; I chose the classic one:

A word about this. I spend a lot of time saying I don’t like tasting menus. Usually there are several items I don’t really care for, and often it’s way too much food. I ate tasting menus at all three of my nice dinners in Barcelona (two by choice), and loved them all. Didn’t feel over full either. After giving this some thought, I think it is because Spain is so committed to this idea of tapas/pintxos, and it’s not really about “small plates,” like I think of tasting menus. Rather, I appreciated how each course that I ate was a beautifully composed dish; and that the whole meal also flowed in a way that made sense to me. I still remember the first pintxo I ate when I landed in San Sebastian many, many years ago at a restaurant called A Fuego Negro (now closed). I wish I could remember what it was, but I do remember that it came in a little pot, and had a few different ingredients, and wasn’t just a “taste” of something, but rather was a small whole “course.” I do love eating that way, and I think the restaurants I ate at in Barcelona were all examples of each dish being a mini course, a fully realized plate. Just extraordinary to me what they can turn out of relatively small kitchens.

Okay, to Suculent. I could have lived without the desserts (not uncommon for me), the meal, wow, not a clunker in the list, and most just blew me away, including this:

Fresh anchovy, not fishy at all. I asked for (and got) some rustic bread that I used to sop up that sauce. @small_h, I was definitely thinking of you when I ate this!

This was the best croquette I’ve ever eaten. I would go back and ask for three of these. Duck. Seriously.

They gave me a little plate with this dish so I could have a place to put the shrimp head carcasses after I had sucked the juice and whatnot out of them. I didn’t get a great picture of that avocado, but it (like every element of every dish here) was perfectly ripe, beautifully green and delicious. I love a good avocado, and with these shrimp, just delicious. @small_h?

I had no idea what a “Maitake” was. Turns out it was an incredible mushroom.

Here’s the white I drank with all of that (pretty sure I liked it):

Here’s the red I had with the rest (really enjoyed this):

@small_h you may not want to see this one:

Who would think to serve steak tartar with bone marrow??? No toast points necessary. Delicious! And those potato puffs, also yummy.

I happen to love stingray (always thought it was the same as skate, which I also love, but not).

This was good. But not as good as the little piece of stingray I asked to substitute the fish course on my last night’s tasting menu in Barcelona. I’ve had that stingray before, and I almost didn’t order the tasting menu, because I dream of it. It comes there on a plate with nothing else, and it is one of my favorite restaurant dishes anywhere, anytime.

It’s a restaurant called Capet, and I first went there in 2017. Last night when I ate this first dish in the tasting menu, I pulled out a picture of the appetizer I had the first time I went there and showed it to the chef (still speaks no English and still cooking up a storm in the little kitchen, though now he has some help). Here’s the dish (Candied pumpkin salad with fennel and ricotta, and an anchovy, two pics of this):

Don’t know why these are coming out sideways all of a sudden… Running to dinner now. Will finish this incredible meal later or tomorrow. This is probably my favorite restaurant in Barcelona though. I’ve been back several times, would eat anything the Chef puts on a plate.

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Looks awesome! Maitakes are aka hen-of-the-woods. You’ve almost definitely had one before.

WOW! That whole meal was only 60€?

Hen of the Woods, thanks! Knew I had seen it before, but didn’t taste like that, I don’t think. Going to have to think on that. Yes, @linguafood 60 euros, but I also had a couple of glasses of wine. Still definitely a deal for the meal.

That’s incredible! I’ll have to go back to Barcelona again soon :slight_smile:

Hi so just to finish my meal/tasting menu of 4 apps, fish course, meat course, two desserts (70 euro before wine) at Capet from my (now) recent trip:

This was artichoke in onion consommé with smoked eel.
Next, two photos of “Onion stuffed with bonito rillette, with carrot and saffron marinade and bottarga.”:

And so you can see inside:

And the final appetizer, “Egg cooked at low temperature with pil pil chanterelles and ground Iberian ham.”:

The aforementioned best ever I had stingray dish, with black butter, capers, and black garlic emulsion. I asked the Chef to substitute this for the fish in the line-up because I had had it before, and I had thought just to order this fish with some starter. He made a small portion for me to fit with all that I was eating, and I was grateful. It is as uber delicious as it was in my memory, and will be anticipating in the future!

The meat dish, muflon (I had to look this up; it’s a type of wild sheep) stewed in red wine and chestnut and macademia nut purée (I think Parmesan on top) was rich and delicious. A little gamey, and homey. I loved it with my glass of Rioja…

Dessert one was the house special take on lemon meringue pie, perfectly tart and sweet (but not too sweet):

And finally, something they called, “Chocolate and Vanilla:”

I took a couple of pictures of the interior of Capet, just to show what it looked like (there’s an upstairs too, where I haven’t been). But here’s from where I was sitting, looking out into the restaurant:

And here is Chef at work:

Finally, let me mention that I grabbed lunch standing at the counter at Cova Fumada in Barceloneta. Open for breakfast and lunch only, no sign outside, really nothing decor, and often you just have to eat standing up. First time I wandered in, I had arrived jet-lagged in Barcelona and for some reason turned completely around and up early, like 9 a.m. (this is Spain after all). There’s a blackboard with the day’s catch. That day, the non-English speaking server (part of the family that runs the place I later found out. I didn’t have a clue what to order, so he did for me…brought me a plate of fresh grilled sardines and two pieces of toast, one con tomate, the other con aioli. A glass of mulled red wine and some other alcohol in my coffee (I was eating at a picnic table with a bunch of guys who looked like they were grabbing breakfast before work, and they were eating and drinking the same), and I was ready to go back to bed after breakfast! Place stays open through lunchtime, or whenever the fish runs out, never for dinner. It’s about as opposite from Can Majo as you can get, and fish preparations are not fancy, but to me, it’s also a must stop place in Barca.

When I was there last week, there was a non-English speaking Barcelonian at the end of the counter, and an young Irish guy (from somewhere near Shannon) in between us. Both the Barcelonian and I ordered the artichokes (seasonal special and very tasty…I took no pictures here because I was using my hands to eat!) along with our fish feasts (mine was baby clams and scampi) and we each got three half artichokes to the order. Well, the Irish guy had never seen an artichoke, had no idea what he was looking at. So the two of us showed him what the two halves looked like as a whole, but still no dice, no recognition. Well, we each gave him a half, and I explained how he needed to eat it (they were babies, and had the choke cleaned, but still needed outer leaves to be scraped with teeth). Took him a minute, but he got it just fine, and I have to say, watching the joy of that discovery on his face was a special experience and one of the reasons I love to travel and especially with a food focus. He was off to meet his wife in the Pyrenees for New Year’s and it makes me smile to think of his describing his artichoke experience to her!

[End of report, sorry long]

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Now I am curious where you had tasting menus before as I never had tasting menus which were just “small plates” but fully composed dishes and a logical flow of dishes throughout the tasting menu

I think this is a fair point! The tasting menus I have had recently have been pretty exceptional. I’m thinking though of places in Paris, for example, when it has felt like too many rich courses, put together with seemingly no thought, and where I left feeling like I was birthing twins and in a food coma. I had a meal like this at Pavyllon in Paris in June of last year, for example…I don’t think you’d find a tasting menu in current New York (where I live) that would come close to the creativity, beauty, tastiness, of any of the three restaurants I ate in in Barcelona. The cost would be mostly something like 3 or 4 times higher, and just not nearly as exciting. I ate the long tasting menu at Granite, a newly minted Michelin one-star restaurant in Paris, and the meal absolutely was exciting and dishes beautiful and delicious. I didn’t leave feeling like I had over-eaten, and I loved the experience (sat right by the open kitchen). But the meal was expensive (I don’t grudge a penny, mind you) and just not food I could eat every day. Perhaps I am explaining badly, but I do think the Spanish, well the Catalan and the Basque cooks really get this right in a big way.

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Barcelona has long been one of my favourite eating cities in Europe. Food is affordable and available all day long, meaning you can walk into a tapas bar at 3pm or 5pm and have proper food in a buzzy vibe. And restaurants offer everything, from homely traditional food, to super fresh seafood, and to innovative tasting menus, you have it all there… :slight_smile:

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Loved my trip to Barcelona. So many good restaurants and friendly people