Savory Spain & Portugal: 2006
When you take your tongue out sightseeing in Spain and Portugal, what are its favorite taste treats?
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I just returned from a trip to Spain. Visted Barcelona, Sevilla and Madrid. I tried to find some of Rick's tapas recommendations - really just took too long to track them down. I did want to make one recommendation for a Tapas bar in Sevilla. Best that I could find out of all 3 cities. Cerveceria Montditos www.cerveceria100montaditos.es Great - INEXPENSIVE tapas. Finally a place that wasn't over charging for marginal food. There are over 100 choices for tapas. AND, the beer and tapas are 1 Euro each. I was out the door happy - for 5 Euros. That included 2 glasses of beer. Getting to the bar is not easy as most of Sevilla is under road construction and it was muddy. Avda. de la constitucion 9, 41010 Sevilla 902/197 494. Enjoy!
Mission Viejo, CA USA Fri 11/24/2006
Spain tapas & wine tours
We had some EXCELLENT FOOD & WINES in Spain....BUT you won't find it in the touristy places. Same thing happened to us in Italy,,,places that are in the guide books get a demand boost, prices reise, local go elsewhere, quality drops. Key is good local info! We got the inside scoop on our fantastic private guided tour package in Spain with a US company called magical spain. Had tapas & art tour + winery day trip visit in Barcelona, In Madrid and Seville we had fantastic private cooking demo / class + meals. Later we did a private winery visit+ seafood feast in Jerez / San Lucar. Contact Richard or Daniel in advance as these guys are very popular and good. Try the web site first on http://www.magicalspain.com or phone + (34) 678 72 44 68. Not cheap but private top quality profesional service never is. HAPY EATING:-)
John & Britton Carlton
NYC, USA Mon 11/20/2006
Lisbon -- Bonjardim. An acquaintance recommended Bonjardim, especially the Frango piro piri, and it was perhaps the best chicken I have ever eaten. We loved it so much we went back a second night to have it again. Our waiter was excellent -- spoke enough English to communicate and was very friendly and helpful. Located near Rossio.
Austin, TX USA Sat 11/18/2006
Food in Spain
We were disappointed with the food in Spain. Especially the tapas. We ate at several of the tapas bars mentioned in Rick's guidebooks in Madrid and Barcelona. Most everything seemed bland. Although we did have good paella in Barceloneta at El Rey del Gamba.
A post below mentioned the water being refilled by tap water. I believe it. Much of the bottled water we bought or were served tasted like tap water, or even worse.
The Spanish have a lot to learn in regards to cooking from their neighboring European countries.
SF, CA USA Tue 10/24/2006
San Sebastian and Zargoza
Zargoza is not in Rick's book, but we stopped there overnight in between Barcelona and on our way up to San Sebastian. Zargoza has a wonderful atmosphere and GREAT tapas! It claims to be the tapas capital of Spain and I wouldn't doubt it! We ate our way through the town.
San Sebastian has wonderful seafood along the port. Fishermen come up to unload their catches and it goes right into the restaurants. Get there early, crowds are plenty to get a table! Sidra, an apple cider wine, is a must when in San Sebastian!
Chicago, USA Tue 10/17/2006
Still unpacking from trip to Spain. The one thing that was consistently good in Spain was the Tortilla (egg and potato). It appeared on a hotel breakfast buffet and made a nice accompaniment to the stronger flavors of the ham and anchovies of the tapas.
Also, the best restaurant value we found was in Cordoba, across the street from Hotel Gonzalez (good choice, Rick.) Across the narrow street there is an outdoor restaurant, called "Cafe Bar Juda Levi," that serves tourists on "tourist time." We were able to eat at about 6:00 p.m. and go back to the room and crash. Prices were as reasonable as we found. They even have a salad bar. It was too hot (early October) to eat inside so we paid more to eat outside. One poor waitress was working about 16 full tables by herself. We asked her about it and she said there was another waitress inside. It was funny because the next morning, there were 3 women in the hotel breakfast room making a big production over serving toast, coffee and orange juice to us and 2 other tables! (As we walked out the front door, the same waitress was reporting to work across the street.)
Houston, TX USA Sun 10/15/2006
Tapas Tours Madrid
Just got back from Madrid, where we had a fantastic Tapas tour with Adventurous Appetites (www.adventurousappetites.com). They took us to places we wouldn't have otherwise gone to and were very knowledgeable and informative about Madrid. A true walking and eating tour of Madrid, highly recommended!
Los Angeles, CA USA Sun 10/15/2006
Cooking lessons - barcelona
Fabulous cooking lessons - 1/2 the price of normal - great facility and tour of market. email@example.com www.coquus.es c/Ferrer de Blanes 7 080212
Houston, TX USA Mon 10/09/2006
My boyfriend and I just spent time in Barcelona and Madrid and the Lonely Planet recommendations were usually good. Be careful in Barcelona along Las Ramblas, we ordered orange juice and a coke and they came out with monstrous tumblers and when I commented to the waiter about them being too big he said no these were small! We spoke in Spanish too. Well, they charged us 9.50 Euros for each drink! We ordered paella all over Barcelona, too and it was very disappointing, very little meat and mostly rice. Typical paella cost about 7-10 euros and all you got was 1 or 2 shrimp, one or two mussels, 1 crayfish tail, and some squid maybe. Be careful, even if you speak Spanish, they rip you off.
Dothan, AL USA Sun 10/01/2006
Bottled water that wasn´t....
We´re in Barcelona and a restaurant, El Quatre Gats, was highly recommended. The food was great, but we witnessed the staff filling empty water bottles with tap water and serving them (and charging) as bottled water. We hope we don´t get sick....
Rocky and the Girls
Denver, CO USA Sun 10/01/2006
Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo
I would still eat at Crème de Canela, but would skip its sister restaurant, Les Quinze Nits. At Crema, my glass of good cava cost 1.60 euros.
With or without kids, I would check out the local versions of Starbucks, McDonald's, etc. They often have outdoor seating. It is fun to see the differences (beer and gaspacho at McDonald's, as well as what is familiar). Also they do not keep Spanish (late) dinner hours. (The McDonald's outside in Toledo-outside Madrid, was great.) Also in both Barcelona and Madrid, the chain Fresco is great for a salad bar lunch or for a picky eater kid. They are called Buffet Libre – because it is an all you can eat set up, for a fixed-low-price. There is self serve frozen ice cream- beware the one that is white is not vanilla. It is a plain yogurt flavor. There is only so much ham one can eat. (Check out that one flavor of potato chips you see everywhere is ham flavored!) I also noticed how some coffee places advertised they had to-go cups because that is not the Barcelona (or Madrid) style. They do not race to work, checking BlackBerries. They linger, standing, and yakking, and inhaling second-hand smoke. (Also do know that the famed potato omelet served everywhere in the mornings is not served hot, as I expected.)
NY, NY USA Sat 09/09/2006
In land Galicia, The Ribeira Sacra
If you are travelling to Galicia then here are three places in which only the locals seem to know about. Both are situated in an area known as the Ribeira Sacra. This is located on the banks of the rivers Mino and Sil. More information here. http://www.world66.com/europe/spain/galicia/ribeira_sacra
The first is Casa Pepe (0034 982 453 101), on the road from Chantada to Monforte (the road number varies but it is either signed posted as the LU553 or the CRG 21) It is just past the village of Pesqueiras. It is a churrasco, which means that the food (mainly meat) is cooked over a large open fire, with no flavourings! The meal will cost about 20€ for 2 persons including a bottle of house wine and sweet. Sometime there is someone who speaks some English on duty. The second place is in the town Chantada. The restaurant is called Meson Lucas and is located in the old quarter of the town. It is a bit more expensive than Casa Pepe but still proves to be good value for money No English spoken here.
The third place to eat is also in Chantada bar Bodegón O'Lar do Cepa (Calle Jose Antonio, 21, Chantada, 0034 982 440 535). It has pigs ears!!! Seeing them used as decoration, like bunting was new to me. I counted the salted ears of at least 16 pigs gracing the ceiling of the each one lightly swinging on its butcher's hook as we entered the room. They were interlaced with hams, chorizo and pork belly, but ear was definitely the favourite here. Red wine is poured from label-less bottles into traditional drinking bowls, which also adds to the atmosphere. No English spoken here.
We stayed in a local Casa Rural, (B&B) called Casa Santo Estevo, run by a Dutch/English couple. www.ribeirasacra.com for more information.
Reading, UK Fri 09/01/2006
Madrid - Great Roast Chicken
For the best roast chicken in Madrid, it has to be Casa Mingo...this place has been around for years and serves great food at cheap prices. The place is very rustic and you sit at long wooden tables with the local folks. The menu is pretty much roast chicken, chorizo and natural cider...great atmosphere and outstanding hearty food.
Ottawa, Canada Thu 08/31/2006
GREAT BAR AND FOOD IN NERJA
My daughter and I spent 2 weeks in Nerja for much needed R & R. We basically spent the whole day at the beach (Playa Cantarijan about a 15-minute car ride away) and came back to the hotel for a shower then we joined the crowds for the evening paseo. We are both hard-core foodies. Our favorite places to eat were Casa Luque on the Plaza Cavana. It's a bit on the fancy side but fabulous, with a great wine list and a beautiful terrace overlooking the water. Sometimes we would go there just for a bottle of Cava and a few fancy tapas (their croquettas and lomo de cerdo with blue cheese sauce were divine). Our favorite bar is Los Barilles, right on the Calle de Carabeo near the Balcon de Europa. The owner happily tends bar while his charming wife and son work the miniscule open kitchen. His sangria was the best we've ever had in Spain! Los Barilles offers only a few tapas and raciones. We loved the Chorizos al Infierno - our day was not complete until we had them. It is a chorizo on a skewer cooked in alcohol in a terra cotta pig. When done to your liking, you sandwich it between two pieces of bread - divine! The bar is very friendly and always full of activity. We met very nice people there and always felt comfortable. We miss it!
san francisco, ca USA Sat 08/12/2006
Pyaya in Barcelona (I know the spelling is not right!)
I will be going to Barcelona in April of 07. My boyfriend and I are big pyaya (sp?) eaters. Can anyone recommend a good resturaunt for that that is not to expensive? Your help would be appreciated.
Brooklyn, NY USA Mon 08/07/2006
EXCELLENT wine bar in Barcelona
EXCELLENT little wine bar in Barcelona: Va de Vi, at Carrer dels Banys Vells 16, in La Ribera, serves very good wines by the glass or the bottle. The staff were very friendly, and the setting is cool! Follow a drink (or two or three) there with some tapas at La Raval, around the corner on Carrer de l'Argenteria, and you've got a wonderful summer evening.
Huntington Beach, CA USA Fri 08/04/2006
We ate at La Fonda last night and found the service and the food quite lacking. The veal dish was inedible; it took them almost 40 minutes to take our order (we sat there without even anything to drink). The whole dinner took well over 3 hours with just a lot of waiting and they managed to serve my husband's appetizer with my dinner so I got to watch him eat his dinner. It may be cheap, but you get what you pay for.
Phoenix, AZ USA Thu 07/27/2006
Just returned from 10 days in Spain with my daughter. As always, Rick's books are a MUST. The Madrid Pub-Crawl was a delight. Note that the Lhardy tapas bar is next door to the Lhardy VERY high end restaurant---we were a bit confused. Highlight for us was 2 days in Arcos. We were glad to leave the hectic pace of Madrid and Seville. In Arcos, the "convent cookies" were wonderful, as was the sidewalk cafe in St. Peters courtyard---cars, walkers, ATV's motorcycles, and those of us eating, all in the same small space---it was such great people watching! Best food value in Arcos was Restaurante San Marcos. Had a 4 hour stop over in Ronda, and decided we could have spent another 2 days there. We loved the spectacular views, and great little eating extablishments where you really mingle with the locals. Chocolateria San Gines is a MUST in Madrid. We tried others, and there was no comparison. Recommend sharing one, however, as they are rich, and you can always order a second one if needed. If you are a horse lover, the horse show in Jerez at Yeguada De La Cartuja is a don't miss. Complimentary sherry and a GREAT one hour show! The cab ride out is a bit spendy, but it was about 20 minutes out of town. Some prices in Rick's 2006 book were already out of date, usually about 5 euro over what was stated in the book. Finally, in Madrid, we give the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum 3 stars. The impressionist collection is about the best I've seen. One surprising thing was the amount of graffiti. It seems to be everywhere with little or no attempt to cover it up. BUT, we had a dream vacation, and couldn't have done it without Rick's book. We like to travel economically, and staying in hostals he recommends, is both fun and reasonable. Hats off to you Rick Steves!!
Ft. Myers, FL USA Sun 07/16/2006
Just returned from southern Spain. Two RS recommendations were terrific: Restaurante el Ladrillo in the Albayzin quarter of Granada, and Los Teresas for tapas in the Santa Cruz section of Sevilla. Both were not the prettiest to look at, but loved the food. Had to adjust to different eating times, and in Seville taking your remaining dinner home makes for cranky waiters. And use cash. In Nerja sadly didn't discover the food at Burriana beach until the end. Never found a terrific paella - should have gone to suggested Ayo's. Final note: in Nerja loved RS recommended New Orleans Cafe, but they are moving the end of June to Berlin. Lucky Berliners!
Snohomish, WA USA Fri 06/16/2006
Salema garlic shrimp
Best food in 6 weeks on the road--Lorenco's in Salema. The camorones in garlic and the camorones gigantia (sp?) were fabulous. Just ask for shrimp and garlic!
Silverton, Oregon USA Sun 05/28/2006
Cooking Class in Barcelona
I just returned from a whirlwind trip through France and Spain. In Spain, I visited Barcelona, Sevilla, Toledo and Madrid. By far, one of the best things I did was take a cooking class in Barcelona. We learned how to make Paella, as well as three other dishes. The class takes about 3.5 hours, and I would highly recommend it, even if you are in Barcelona for a short time. I was there for only two days. The teacher is wonderful, and the food is delicious. You can find out more about it at: www.cookandtaste.net
los angeles, CA USA Tue 05/09/2006
Fun Spain Walking & Eating Trip!
Hi, we are two 55 year old youngsters and had a WONDERFUL trip to Spain in April - We did a 6 night easy walking & eating trip in southern Spain with a small group and ate some of the best meals I have had in ages. On our own after the trip we discovered that the tourist area food was far inferior to what we got with our local guides who know the hidden local places! They took such good care of us! We met numerous Spaniards like chefs, a winemaker, a flamenco dancer + on the cooking class learned to make a Spanish dinner and went to places we would never have found alone! Our guide, a 10 year resident, was American Dan O'Beirne (5*) from www.MagicalSpain.com . They are listed by Rick in the Spain book! Sean & Maria Healion + family
Sean & Maria Healion + family
USA Mon 05/01/2006
We just returned from two weeks in Spain and Portugal. We would recomend the following:
Avila: La Alcazba
Ronda: Restaurante Del Escudero/ From Rick - great Patio
Segovia: Jose Maria's /from Rick,have the suckling Pig and enjoy the presentation.
San Diego, Ca USA Sun 04/16/2006
peppered lobster at elpinlo in benelmadina yum yum
essex, USA Fri 04/14/2006
MUST-EAT in Madrid
Spent a summer in Spain and my highest eating recommendation if for LA GLORIA DE MONTERA in Madrid (Caballero de Gracia 10 just off Plaza de la Red de San Luis on Gran Via). It was recommended in my Lonely Planet and is a super-chic restaurant with the best gourmet food and wine-- I spent about $20 US total for several courses-- a steal-- and it's a happening place for locals, which says it all. Best place I ate in Spain!!! Find it!!!
Gainesville, FL USA Sat 04/08/2006
In Granada, there is a little neighborhood called Zaidin. My husband and I live here and it has the best little tapas bars for 1-2 euros apiece, plus free food because it's in Granada. Las Porras is wonderful, with fried calamaris, seafood, sandwhiches, hamburgers, all for free. Find the out of the way places, and you won't be sorry.
Granada, Spain Wed 03/15/2006
Restaurant Suggestions in El Born, Barcelona
First off, if you're staying near El Born, my suggestions may not be worth the trip unless you like small neighborhood restaurants. However, if you're in Barcelona and have not spent an evening strolling through the mid-evil streets of El Born, I could not recommend it enough. If the Ramblas is Time's Square then El Born is East Village.
I'll start with the best, Senyor Parellada. We eat there twice on a six-day visit. It was that good. It's not that the food is outstanding; it's just the whole package, ambiance, great local affordable wine, great service and no smoking. The address is: Argenteria, 37.
Second has to be Cal Pep. It is difficult to describe the experience; it's a little like the soup nazi crossed with some Italian hospitality. I realize this is contradiction in terms but like I sad, difficult to describe. As for what Cal Pep does do, fish dishes and more fish dishes but also some sausage. As for what he doesn't do, well, no reservations, no tables (everyone sits at the bar), no menus (except the one at the door) and no loitering. It's turn and burn place but the food is very, very good. Address is: Placa de les Olles, 8.
Finally, if you're dying for tapas, I recommend Taller de Tapas at Argenteria, 51 (I guess it's also referred to as l'Argenteria). It's good and worth the high prices. Cellar de Tapas, just as good but even higher prices.
Other suggestions are:
Origen 99.9% and Chese Me
Studio City, CA USA Sun 02/26/2006
Great Tapas in Madrid
I just spent three days in Madrid and, based on the advice of my AMAZING tour guide, Pedro Hernandez, I visited a fantastic tapas bar called La Trucha which is right off the Plaza Santa Ana. The place was full of locals and the tapas was out of this world!!
Montgomery, AL USA Wed 02/15/2006
Restaurante Cervejaria Fialho- Evora
Restaurante Cervejaria Fialho- Evora Why: Rick's book says this may be the best restaurant in Portugal and I agree. It is known in town as the Fialho. Excellent setting, friendly professional staff. They served us appetizers and drinks while waiting for our table(we arrived without a reservation and they were very accomodating). We sat in a beautiful Portuguese Country style room. Great diverse menu. Our party tried the Hare in wild rice, Wild Boar, Beef, Chilean Sea Bass and Octopus. Don't worry they have regular food as well. All were wonderful and moderately priced. Our group ate like Kings and drank excellent wine for about $200. This is a must if you are near Evora.
Pompano beach, FL USA Tue 01/31/2006