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August 25, 2010 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Where can we make out with Spanish boys and what foodie things can I not miss in Spain?

Next week, I will be in Spain with my foodie family. Specifically- Barcelona, Toledo, Seville, Granada and Madrid. So far, I've pinned down La Alqueria in Seville, and Mercat de la Boqueria, Alkimia, Cinc Sentits and Jamonisimo in Barcelona. What other foods/restaurants/bakeries/shops should we not miss?

My sister and I expect be staying out long after our parents have gone back to the hotel. We're both in our mid-20s, both single. We'd love some nightlife suggestions for any of the cities above.
posted by IWoudDie4U to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
What do you want in Madrid food wise? Its not as adventurous cuisine wise as BCN. Meat? Lamb Beef? Shellfish? whaddya want? Tons of great choice

BCN - add Gresca, Bar Mut, Hisop, Paco Meralgo if you are there on a Sunday (not worth it other days). I personally always go to Cerveceria Catalana on my first day but I'm not sure that's super interesting if you've been in Spain already for a while.

Jamonissimo is awesome but it is really just a place to sample and buy ham.

Granada - Los Diamanates and Bar FM. If you like Fried Seafood you're in luck.
posted by JPD at 4:14 PM on August 25, 2010


When you're in Barcelona, it's a 2-3 hour ferry ride to Ibiza, if you want completely insane nightlife.

Spanish boys, but also lots of UK folks on vacation.
posted by empath at 5:57 PM on August 25, 2010


(link nsfw, btw)
posted by empath at 5:58 PM on August 25, 2010


There's some good food to be had in Roses, even if you don't have a res at El Bulli.
posted by sanko at 6:16 PM on August 25, 2010


My favorite foods were pimientos de padron, grilled squid, grilled razor clams, poached octopus Galician style, fried croquettas of jamon, thinly sliced jamon iberico on its own, seared foie gras on toast, toasted bread rubbed with tomato and olive oil, chorizo, thick bittersweet chocolate with fresh churros, and cafe cortados.

Just don't expect big American style breakfasts with eggs and bacon and drip coffee except from your hotel's breakfast buffet; try a few pastries or a jamon sandwich with your cortado or cafe con leche. And the tap water in Barcelona tastes of chlorine while Madrid's was fine. Most Barcelona restaurants will offer you bottled, instead. I found Spanish restaurants season with vigor, so drink lots of water, and don't forget to eat some fruits and vegetables at some point! Finding a local market will help with this if you can bring some fruit back to your hotel/

It is quite easy to get lured into a mediocre, touristy spot, especially if you're starving and near a tourist attraction. For both cities, there's also a lot of touristy/iffy restaurants that cater to visitors with big signs ("WE HAVE PAELLA" sort of thing) and photographic menus. I highly recommend having a Time Out in your bag alongside a printout of Maribel's Guides, to avoid the tourist traps.

In Madrid, I hope you're staying close to the La Latina neighborhood where you'll find gorgeous winding roads, tons of young people, and delicious tapas bars packed with people. We loved walking up and down Calle Cava Baja at night. My favorite place was Txirimi (Basque style), then Taberna el Tempranillo, especially for their seafood specials. For cocktails, Del Diego was a ton of fun (lots of muddled drinks and showmanship) and a bit of a scene, albeit a bit older.

Museo del Jamón is conveniently located and does in a pinch (I find it hard to resist all that ham in the window). It's a retail shop with food counters. There's also the Mercado San Miguel, a beautiful, indoor covered market with both ingredients for sale and prepared foods. I really liked the chocolate and churros at Chocolateria San Gines, which some find touristy. But when we went to other places I always was disappointed later as the churros were pre-fried whereas at San Gines they always seemed fried to order.

So far, I've pinned down La Alqueria in Seville, and Mercat de la Boqueria, Alkimia, Cinc Sentits and Jamonisimo in Barcelona. What other foods/restaurants/bakeries/shops should we not miss?

For Barcelona, Alkimia is closed for three weeks in August (vacation), hopefully you weren't planning to go there until it reopened. Same with Cinc Sentits, they close for two weeks in August (vacation). I'd book as soon as I could. Cinc Sentits was one of my favorite experiences in Barcelona!

Also, Paco Meralgo is one of the few places open Sundays (great fresh seafood, pan con tomate, and torrija) and they also take reservations. I recommended it to a friend who went twice during a short trip.

Inside the Mercat de la Boqueria, I loved having breakfast at Bar Pinotxo (never made it to Kiosko Universal). Friends were also big fans of Mercat de Santa Caterina, but never got there.

Jamonisimo apparently has odd hours so if you plan to go, have someone from your hotel call to confirm they are open. A friend who tried to go on a Monday afternoon this past spring was sorely disappointed, even though they said they would be open.

When I went last year, I also enjoyed Quimet i Quimet, Cacao Sampaka (chocolates), Tapac24 (probably would be where I'd go now that Inopia has closed), Hisop (though Cinc Sentits was much better), Escriba (pastries), La Granja (hot chocolate, Carrer dels Banys Nous 4) and the churreria a few doors down, and Cafe Viena (overrated by Mark Bittman in the New York Times but fine for a jamon sandwich on a tourist stretch of town).

I wish we'd had time for more churrerias, Espai Sucre, Kiosko Universal, Cal Pep, maybe paella at Can Majo, a visit to the Boadas or Ideal Cocktail Bar, Cerveceria Catalana, Cremeria Toscana (ice cream), La Pedrera for a drink on the roof, or some foodie shopping for stuff to bring home at Colmado Quílez (definitely try to bring some goodies back home but mind the animal product limitations). Barcelona is basically foodie heaven.

Photos of Madrid and Barcelona. Have a great time!
posted by kathryn at 10:18 PM on August 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


I highly recommend Cal Pep in Barcelona for tapas!
posted by scose at 11:36 PM on August 25, 2010


It is quite easy to get lured into a mediocre, touristy spot, especially if you're starving and near a tourist attraction. For both cities, there's also a lot of touristy/iffy restaurants that cater to visitors with big signs ("WE HAVE PAELLA" sort of thing) and photographic menus. I highly recommend having a Time Out in your bag alongside a printout of Maribel's Guides, to avoid the tourist traps.

I can make it easier then that - don't eat in the old city in BCN unless you have specifically read about a place, and pretty much in all of the towns you are visiting any place that advertises "Paella"
posted by JPD at 3:35 AM on August 26, 2010


Boadas

Boadas sounds like it should be awesome - and atmosphere wise it's pretty entertaining, but the drinks are terrible. I ordered an Aviation and he looked up how to make it on his iPhone. Martini Bar in L'Eixample had the best cocktails we sampled.
posted by JPD at 3:40 AM on August 26, 2010


Cafe de L’academia – Barcelona
posted by adamvasco at 4:42 AM on August 26, 2010


For Barcelona, if you're looking for amazingly delicious food at insanely cheap prices, i recommend pollo rico (31 sant pau, about a 2 minute walk off las ramblas). the restaurant looks like nothing at all, just a gross and greasy lunch counter. but behind the chicken ovens you can go upstairs and there's a cute little restaurant setting. you should have pulpitos (grilled baby octopi) and pimientos del padron (fried peppers). it is incredibly inexpensive and incredibly delicious.

if you can spend a bit more money, check out catalan cuisine at origens. the food is all from different regions of catalunya and the menu is actually this AWESOME magazine where each dish has it's own map of the region where each ingredient in the food comes from.

For Madrid, my friend (who is from there) made this map. Lots of places to check out. I saw none of them, so I can't vouch for it personally but he's a local.
posted by andreapandrea at 4:43 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boadas sounds like it should be awesome - and atmosphere wise it's pretty entertaining, but the drinks are terrible. I ordered an Aviation and he looked up how to make it on his iPhone.

Well that's annoying. Cocktail fail! Skip Boadas unless you're just there for the atmosphere and a glass of cava, I guess.

Martini Bar in L'Eixample had the best cocktails we sampled.

I think we're talking about the same place. I have it in my notes as Dry Martini. Did it look like this? Lots of gin and tonics on the menu?
posted by kathryn at 7:18 AM on August 26, 2010


yep same place. Not up to NY standards I thought but good enough. I don't think the cocktail revival has hit non Germanic language europe. The upside is I also don't think it ever hit as low a bottom as it did in the US.

The Boadas guy reciting "un poco de maraschino" is something my wife says to me often.
posted by JPD at 8:35 AM on August 26, 2010


In Barcelona, try Txakolin for tapa in the upstairs bar. I've tried the restaurant downstairs, but apparewntrly it's quite pricey

The Taxidermista is pretty good, despite it being in the old town ; ).

Terrazza for outdoor nightlife
posted by fatfrank at 9:04 AM on August 26, 2010


Sevilla -- La Carboneria for early on (i.e. pre-3am); they have free flamenco every night around 10 or 11pm; stay til near closing ask the bartenders which club they're going to after work and they'll likely take you with them and get you in for free. probably a good plan at any bar. it's on a small side street w/ an unmarked red door, but your hotel should be able to tell you how to get there.

Anything on Calle Betis (just across the river in Triana) will be busy/club-esque, but tends to be 75-80% american students.

if you like snails, go to any tapas bar in Sevilla around 5pm and order caracoles - delicious!

(note - my info is 6yrs old, so may not be valid anymore).
posted by melissasaurus at 10:06 AM on August 26, 2010


Thanks everyone! I already have all my dinner reservations made for the places I mentioned, (woke up at 3 am to book the table at Cinc Sentits) so no worries about getting in.

Any other nightlife suggestions?
posted by IWoudDie4U at 10:40 AM on August 27, 2010


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