Where to Eat and Sleep in Spain!
January 1, 2012 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Simple question: Where do we need to eat and sleep in Madrid and Barcelona? We are planning a summer trip to Spain (4 nights in Madrid, 2 nights in Barcelona, 1 night in Girona). The Girona portion of the trip is set -- dinner at El Celler de Can Roca for an extravagant birthday experience. What we need are suggestions for restaurants and hotels in Madrid and Barcelona. (We're also planning day trips to Segovia and Toledo, so you could include lunch spots in those places if you'd like.) A few notes: we are fairly sophisticated dinners, but we also love simple, straightforward food-of-the-people. Our hotel tastes run toward contemporary/modern, but we're not opposed to something classic -- we just want to avoid international chains. Thanks for any/all suggestions!
posted by tmharris65 to Travel & Transportation around Lake Forest, CA (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Years ago while in Barcelona we ate at a restaurant called The Grill Room in the Barri Gotic. Their specialty was grilled meats. I think they may have unusual hours, however. On our second trip to Barcelona a few years later they were only open a couple of the days we were there.

There was also a place called Sinatra which served pretty good tapas. I'd recommend it so long as you can tolerate Frank Sinatra music and movies playing non-stop.

Unfortunately, I have forgotten which hotels we stayed in.
posted by nickthetourist at 10:16 AM on January 1, 2012

The 5 Rooms hotel in Barcelona was fantastic when we spent a few days there last year (warning: Flash-only site). You can't be more centrally located. The owners are wonderful and the hotel is spotlessly clean, modern and comfortable.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:47 AM on January 1, 2012

"simple, straightforward food-of-the-people" -- make sure you drink some horchata while you're in Barcelona. This is a completely different drink from the pale imitation made out of rice and served in Mexican restaurants.
posted by escabeche at 11:48 AM on January 1, 2012

At least 6 or 7 years ago this place called Can Paixano (also called "La Champagneria") was quite interesting. We just had champagne and bocadillos (sandwiches) with very little standing room.
Some random blogpost (not by me) about it: La Champagneria
posted by debagel at 12:03 PM on January 1, 2012

Recently in Barcelona we had a great meal at Pla. Also,good, inexpensive tapas at Tapas 24 -- well beyond most other tapas we ate.

We stayed at the Hotel Gran Ronda, which was quite good for the money we paid. It's a LITTLE out of the way, but as Ramblas-loathers it worked very well for us (and we could in fact walk there).
posted by kestrel251 at 4:17 PM on January 1, 2012

Oh yeah -- in Barcelona I've had two great meals at Cal Pep. It's no secret to tourists at this point, but that doesn't make the food any less good.
posted by escabeche at 6:54 PM on January 1, 2012

I studied in Barcelona very briefly.

My favorite "iberico" tapas place (cured meats, cheese and wine) was Bodega la Tinaja. I was especially a fan of their pan com tomate - you basically had to do it yourself! People rave about el Set, which is right next door, but I admit I have never been. I think both restaurants must be linked.

Another tapas place worth checking out is Santa Maria. Note: it is conveniently situated right in front of the Chocolate Museum.

I know you probably don't want to eat Asian Fusion while in Barcelona, but Wushu restaurant had an amazing duck red curry. If you do go, I recommend having the salad as an appetizer. I dream of it to this day.

And I agree with debagel, La Champagneria is something to experience. The place is usually packed, so it's a great way to meet people!
posted by Milau at 7:32 PM on January 1, 2012

My hotel reviews, previously.

Food recommendations for Madrid and Barcelona.

In Barcelona, especially, try to get into Tickets or 41 Degrees by the Adria brothers. The closest you may be able to get to El Bulli now that it is closed. Your long lead time will help as they take reservations online weeks in advance.

I hope you consider a side trip to the Basque country. Truly foodie paradise. The stuff last meals are made out of.
posted by kathryn at 7:40 PM on January 1, 2012

Two summers ago we stayed at Fashion House Barcelona and were very happy with it. I've recommended it to friends IRL and here on AskMe, and have had reports of similar satisfaction from those who decided to stay there. It's clean, reasonably priced, and well-located (within spitting distance of a metro stop) and the staff are friendly and helpful. One caveat: most of the rooms don't have a bathroom attached, so unless you booked the suite, you'd be using one of the bathrooms (toilet/shower) down the hall, but I found that they were always clean and there was always one available when needed.

And around the corner, you can go to Casa Alfonso to eat delicious tapas.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:48 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

My husband and I had a great time with Jo of The Barcelona Taste. She took us to four or five different out-of-the-way restaurants. By the end of the night we were stuffed and had learned at lot about Barcelona.

On our tour, one of the places we stopped was for Basque pintxos at Irati: Cardenal Casanas, 17, 08002. We went back there several times while we were in Barcelona, and I highly recommend it.
posted by Joleta at 9:39 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm in Madrid right now. You should stay where we're staying, the Hotel Urban - chic, boutiquey and right in the center.

Madrid is a great city to walk in. There's always hidden finds around the corner. Even here in the touristy Puerta del Sol area, I'd recommend grabbing some sherry at La Venenzia. Walking into this place feels like stepping back in time.

Grab Churro and Chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines. Touristy yes but they do serve the best churros in town. There's also lots of good snacking to be done at the Mercado San Miguel including Galician oysters, more sherry, vermouth, Spanish cheeses, Burgers made out of Spanish cows and pigs, and so on. A great place to taste your way through Madrid in one place.

For neighborhoods, dont miss La Latina and Malasana neighborhoods. Just packed with things to see, eat and do.
posted by vacapinta at 1:31 AM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I just visited Madrid and Barcelona. While in Barca, I stayed at the Fashion House (at the suggestion of Hurdy Gurdy Girl! Thanks!) and it was indeed, awesome. Gigantic clean room, nice staff, easy check in and out, and even though we supposedly shared a bathroom, I never saw any other guests. So it was like having our own. And our room had its own sink for washing up which was really convenient.

I know you asked for hotels but.... while in Madrid, I stayed at the Artistic B&B and it was incredible. The most beautiful little bed and breakfast ever. Each room is decorated differently, the breakfasts are generous and delicious, and the couple that owns the place are the kindest people ever! I cannot recommend it highly enough. Seriously, just look at the pictures of the bedrooms. You will fall in love. Also, really, really cheap (I think it was like, 65 bucks a night!)
posted by silverstatue at 8:24 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

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