Begur, Regencos, Girona, Barcelona, Cadaques, Costa Brava Trip Report

Just wanted to share a report on our recent trip back to the Costa Brava. We stayed here 3 years ago and fell in love with it so we decided to come back for some relaxation and exploration. We ate pretty well this time and I figured it may be helpful for others visiting the area this summer and in the future.

-Restaurant La Calendula (Regencos) - Had a very enjoyable dinner here on our first night back in the area. Beautiful space in Regencos…a big portion for dining on their terrace but we opted for inside overlooking the garden on a slightly humid night. Amuse bouches of strawberry in beetroot, fried squash blossom leaves, some delicious bread, a bloody mary-esque welcome cocktail and another item I forget were a nice start. My wife and I had squid wrapped in squash blossom as well as a white asparagus starter with cream made with foie gras for appetizers. For entrees, her duck was cooked well while my galician steak was quite large and very good. We had a peanut and chocolate dessert that was nice but the petit fours and the complimentary champagne cocktail with st. germain were a great finish to a very enjoyable meal. Service was professional but friendly. On a Wednesday, only 9-10 couples were there. I’d recommend this place with no hesitation. Also worth noting was a well priced wine list…heavy on emporda. We had a delicious biodynamic bottle for 22 eur mostly with syrah that beat all other priorats and montsants we had during our trip. Emporda wine really has stepped up and is no longer the lesser wine from that area of the world. I believe dinner cost 110 eur.

-Occi (Girona) - Another impressive dinner in Girona, a real gem of a small city. Occi has been around for a few years and this was our first meal there. VERY good prices for the quality of food we had. Friendly and pleasant service as well. We had scallops with grilled vegetables with romesco sauce as well as a prawn carpaccio with a salad topped with shredded foie gras that was an absolute standout to start. Mains were a Girona veal topped with foie gras as well as well lamb chops with a honey sauce. A bottle of priorat as well for roughly 100 eur.

-Ca l’Adela (Begur, Sa Tuna beach) - This was a beachside restaurant in Sa Tuna that we visited twice in 6 days for lunch. We had fideua both times and it was pretty damn delicious. There’s 4-5 restaurants at Sa Tuna beach and this one was one of the lower priced ones. The service was absolutely atrocious and I had to go in to get our check eventually both times but at 16 eur/pp, I couldn’t care less.

-Sa Rascassa (Begur, Aiguafreda beach) - Another great meal here sitting outside in their beautiful stone garden. A bit more upscale than I recall from our last meal here with the fish being served by weight and meant to be shared. We had some starters including langoustines with garlic and a salad with arugula and jamon iberico. Entree was their signature grilled rascassa fish. With dessert, dinner was roughly 100 eur including a bottle of priorat.

-Bar Canete (Barcelona) - We decided to drive down to Barcelona for the day since we weren’t staying there this time around. We parked the car and spent the day all over Raval, El Born, Barrio Gotico. My first comment is that Barcelona has become overrun with tourists. I know thats a major complaint lately but wow…it really has become unbearable in these tourist parts. I’m aware we are tourists too but we travel often and do our best to act decently. We saw so many people taking pictures of everything, guys getting drunk all day long…it was awful. We also realized we really aren’t huge fans of the areas we visited. El Born is nice but we should’ve visited Gracia and some other parts but we only had a day here. Our dinner was at Bar Canete, our favorite spot for tapas. We had an early dinner at 8pm in order to go to Cruilla, a music concert. The Americans were there but by 830pm, it was 50% locals and 50% tourists. The food is as delicious as ever. We had ham croquettas, fried eggplant with honey, steak with foie gras, braised octopus (a bit too heavy on the salt for this one), scallops with bacon and a crema catalana for dessert. Delicious meal and a regular stop for us in Barcelona. The staff have so many tourists that the service feels very formulaic and contrived but I can’t fault them. It was one of our favorite meals on this trip.

-Compartir (Cadaques) - Big day of Dali Museum in Figueres, Cap de Creus and Cadaques. We ended up at Cadaques for dinner. A beautiful outdoor space, perfect for summer dining. They turned away quite a few people without reservations but we had reserved 2-3 weeks before with no problems. The patrons were 50% tourists and 50% locals. I wasn’t so happy with the amount of children there but it didn’t matter by the end of the night. We ordered 5 dishes…their deconstructed caprese salad (absolutely delicious), anchovies with pine nuts and honey that I loved, their signature tuna cannolini which was great and scallops and monkfish for entrees. The scallops were the highlight of the meal…the best preparation I’ve had in quite some time. The monkfish was a bit overcooked and tough…even for monkfish. Served with a modern take on a catalan recipe…I’d avoid it. Their hazelnut coulant for dessert finished the meal on a high note…the best dessert we had all trip. With 2 glasses of emporda and some bottles of water, dinner was a very reasonable 115 eur. I tried to find fault with Compartir but it really was excellent and a must dinner if you’re in the area. Several times we said that the chefs know how to cook. It was very apparent.

-Nu (Girona) - Ended our brief trip at Nu, a restaurant we visited on our last visit. I’ve read that Nu is not as good as it used to be but it was still quite enjoyable and much more packed than any other restaurant on a Monday night. We had more meat than seafood here but their scallops with iberico pork were absolutely delicious. Their beef filet with balsamic and truffle parmentier was also excellent. Service was good but definitely needs some refinement but everything was delicious as was the wine. 3 dishes plus cheese plate, 3 glasses of Montsant for 90 eur or so.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold