May 7, 2007 | Travel Feature
My Barcelona Hot List
Pinocho (La Boqueria Market). Tapas breakfast, lunch - a must. The ultimate bar in a market! Listen, go early, 7 or 8:00 a.m., and watch. Or later. The best cafe con leché in the world, he separates the milk from the coffe! Also, the custard filled donuts. Amazing. Have a glass of cava, some pan con tomate, jamon serrano, maybe chickpeas with cod, or scrambled eggs with shrimp.
Fried crullers or sardines are breakfast at Bar Pinocho in la Boqueria. Photo: Steven Richter
Quimet & Quimet-Calle. Poeta Cabanyes #25, tel 93 442 3142. Standup tapas. The ultimate tapas place. Ask for Quimet, tell him you are friend of Jose Andres from Washington and let him do a platter for you! Small, small place, half of the customers are on the street. Best "latas" (cans) selection in Spain. Did you know that canning is an art form in Spain? Very expensive limited cans are released every year, and people hunt for them. Try los Peperetes, Paco Lafuente, etc. Clams, razor clams, "berberechos" with a red Vermouth and soda, and that's the perfect way to begin a day before going to lunch! Really very good.
Comerc 24. Chef Carles Abellan, Carrer Comerc 24, El Born area, tel 93 319 21 02. This is a stylish, hot restaurant, but also sensational food that they do in a kind of small portion (tapas) like tasting menu. A MUST. You should reserve before you leave. This was a favorite.
Santa Maria. Comerc 17, El Born area, tel 93 315 12 27. Frogs legs with ginger and soy. They call the menu tapas, but it's really a tasting menu. Not expensive and wonderful. Be sure to book, dinner busier than lunch. WE LOVED IT.
Tragaluz. Passatge de la Concepcio #5, tel 934 870 621. I think you would also like this place, with a ceiling that opens, more fashionable and sort of nouvelle Catalan cooking, not the best food in town, but mostly quite good. Great looking and chic.
La Estrella de Plata. Placa de Palau #9/13, tel 93 268 0635 fax 93 310 3850. Chef Didac Lopez-Amat. Another informal, but creative tapas place. You can have a table or sit at bar. Barcelonians prefer to sit at bar. This is typically Spanish, typically Catalan.
Cal Pep. Placa de les olles #8, tel 93 310 79 61. Tapas. What Seafood. If he's open Monday night, go then and go early, because they don't take reservations. Best to sit at the bar to see what fish just came in and order the way the regulars do.
Sant Pau (** Michelin). C/Nou, 10. 08395 Sant Pol de Mar, tel 93 760 06 62, fax 760 0950. Sant Pol de Mar, 45 minutes north of Barcelona. You can take a train from the Plaza de Cataluyna in the middle of tourist Barcelona that stops right in back of the restaurant. Wonderful for Saturday or Sunday lunch. This is a Relais and Chateau I believe, like a two star country place in France. Carme Ruscalledu's cooking is inspiring. Steven and I loved it. Not perfect, but very exhilerating. Her husband and host: Antoni Balam.
Ca L'Isidre. Calle les Flors, #12, tel 93 441 11 39, fax 93 442 52 71. Isidro Girones is the ultimate restaurant owner. Let him take you through the menu and enjoy foods fresh from the market. Tell him you are a friend of Gael Greene from New York, and Jose Andres' friend, whom he took to the market. Ask him to do you a special lunch or dinner of market acquisitions.
El Suquet de L'Almirall. Passeig Joan de Borbos #65 Barceloneta. Quim Marques, an amazing chef. While he can cook creative/modern cooking like no one, he centralize his efforts in traditional cooking. Amazing paellas, great Marisco shrimps and baby octopus right from the sea. Great seafood and power lunch scene.
Gispert. Sombrerers 23 (barri de la ribera) 08003 93 319 75 35. Dried fruits, nuts, candy, spices, etc. Fabulous old landmark shop to visit and maybe buy gifts.
Cacao Sampaka. Concell de cent, #292 (at the top of the Rambla Cataluyna ) tel 902 18 19 40, 902 18 19 40. Great place for breakfast. Fabulous chocolates to take home, exquisite packaging.