The Summer Round-Up Part I: Barcelona – July 2011

Some of you loyal followers may have noticed that we’ve been noticeably silent the last few months.  This was due to a hectic summer schedule filled with work, travel, more work, an apartment move, more travel, Ramadan, and more travel.  We’ve finally settled back into Dubai and in the interest of expediency we thought we would give you a few highlights of our dining adventures over this time.  The following entry is the first in a series featuring our summer eating adventures and misadventures.

Barcelona happens to be one of our favourite European cities, offering great shopping, sightseeing and an abundance of Michelin star restaurants.  With only two days at our disposal we spent a lot of time planning our meals.  Barcelona currently boasts six three-star Michelin restaurants among the city’s vast food offerings.  Promptly upon check-in at our hotel we visited the concierge with a list of a few of these to see if we could get a reservation.  The initial reaction we received was barely concealed laughter but the concierge dutifully told us that he would try his best on such short notice.

While we waited to find out our food fate we decided to stroll through the city and do some window shopping.  Along the way we stopped for our annual pilgrimage to our favourite tapas spot – Ciutat Condal.  We’ve eaten there on our last four visits and it’s been fantastic every time.  The place is always busy and they don’t take reservations so you may need to wait if you want a table.  They also have a terrace in the middle of the Rambla Catalunya if you want to take in some people watching.  We always sit at the tapas bar (you need to be quick on your toes to get a seat here) and we order off the chalk board or directly from the prepared morsels that are sitting on the counter.  The food is delicious with literally dozens of tapas dishes on offer, the staff very helpful and welcoming, the beer and wine are aplenty and the prices reasonable.  We recommend that you drop by in the early afternoon after visiting Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia.  Some highlights include:  Veal medallions with baby green peppers and shaved salt, tortilla espaniola (Spanish omelet with potato), crab meat salad on toast, and prawns.

Tapas at Ciudad Condal

Returning to our hotel for an afternoon nap following a late, large and liquid enhanced lunch we were contacted by our concierge who informed us that he was able to score a last minute reservation for us at the highly acclaimed Saüc at The Ohla Hotel for the following night.  You usually need to book weeks in advance but we were lucky enough to pick up a cancellation.  It was going to be on our last night in Barcelona and we were going to definitely splurge, so we decided to have a casual dinner at Vinoteca Torres wine bar that evening just down the street from our hotel.  Torres is a very well-known Spanish wine maker and this little spot carries a wide selection of their wines that you can order by the glass.  The space is very cool looking and the menu offers a wide variety of traditional Catalonian dishes.  We had eaten there on a previous trip with somewhat mixed reviews but we like the fact that you can sample different wines and pair them with your dishes easily.  This ended up being a mistake as we were both noticeably ill the next day and ended up having to cancel our Saüc reservation at the last-minute due to what could only have been food poisoning.  Needless to say, we won’t be sharing any pictures of that meal.

Ciutat Condal Price:  Prices for tapas vary between 1.50-4.oo Euro.  Our lunch of 12 tapas, bottle of wine and water totalled 50 Euros.

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