This is my last post about Barcelona and El Bulli—thank you all for your patience as I recounted my trip in such great detail. For anyone who wants a quick all-purpose post that covers the bases, here they are: we stayed at (and loved) the Banys Orientals which was recommended by a reader, had the friendliest staff, and lovely music on its website. (They also helped us rent a car for our journey up to El Bulli.) In Roses, we stayed at the Hotel Coral Playa, which was recommended by Louisa Chu, and was a charming (and relatively inexpensive) option for those of you lucky enough to get a reservation at El Bulli. As for our dinner at El Bulli, many of you asked how much it cost. The answer is $1000 (about 700 Euros). That may seem outrageous, but I’d been saving since February so when it came time to order wine, etc, I didn’t have to be a cheapskate. (Without the wine, and without a tip–which, I imagine, is optional (though I left a nice one)–the meal could’ve been more like $700.)
As for the wine we drank, we let the sommelier handle that. He started us with two glasses of Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2005 (a Cava), then suggested we order a full bottle of white to drink throughout the meal (La Calma 2004). For specific courses, he brought out two other wines by the glass: Belondrade y Lurton 1999 and Finca illacreces Crianza 1999. For dessert, he poured Moscatel MR 2007. (I go into detail for the wine freaks among you.)
If you want to try for El Bulli reservations yourself for 2010, check this page frequently. When it’s time to e-mail them, be flexible: one strategy we used this time was to say, “We’ll come whenever at whatever time.” I think that helped.
As for Barcelona restaurants, to recap, we loved: Cal Pep, Paco Meralgo, Santa Maria, Bar Pinotxo, La Torna (in El Mercat de Santa Caterina). We liked Hisop, though it’s not essential, and Commerc 24 is good if you want a taste of El Bulli without having to get a reservation. As for the promised list of recommendations given to us by the staff of El Bulli, Ferran Adria recommends the following tapas spots: Inopia, Dos Palillos, Santa Maria, Comerc 24, Cal Pep and Tapac. He recommends the following for “Cocina Contemporanea”: Sauc, Abac, Alkimia, Moo, and Drolma. For “Cocina Tradicional,” he recommends: Cal’Isidre, Chicoa, Roig Rubi, and Hispania.
Now, rather strangely, I have to pack for another Spanish speaking country: Puerto Rico. I’ve been invited to the Puerto Rico Wine & Food Festival, and it was hard to say no. Any tips on where to go and what to do in Puerto Rico are greatly appreciated. Muchas gracias!
Dinner at El Bulli, The Greatest Restaurant in the World
La Boqueria & Mercat de Santa Caterina
Note: the picture at the top is at the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres, which we visited on our way back from Roses.