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Britain has now become part of Europe cheap flights and the Eurostar train can whisk you away to the centre of Europe in a few hours.
September is a great time to travel to Barcelona warmer than the UK.
Packed with culture and art there is also the fiesta de Merce which runs from the 24 till the 30 September crowd pleasing events such as firework parades with giants in local dress, dragons and loud music.
Running concurrently is a music festival featuring some of the world’s best artists taking place at various venues and squares around Barcelona.

I was there for different reasons, to sample the current hot restaurants and Classic ones too.
Barcelona is so diverse from medieval centre to Olympic village.
The markets are fantastic such great produce always inspiring and segrada famillia the unfinished Gaudi masterpiece is just jaw-dropping.

I stayed in the lower Raval well known for its drug related problems and seedy atmosphere, the council seems to be taking a brave step by bulldozing the worst areas and building public spaces it appears to work, it still can be a little edgy but I rather like that.
I ate a three different Michelin starred restaurants which were all good, two in particular came out on top Lasarte which started with the signature dish of smoked eel foie gras and caramelized apple terrine and finished with a chocolate filled with praline and salt I can not even begin to explain how good that was and there was only one.

The cram hotel a contemporary hotel in Exaimple contains Can Gaig a Michelin starred restaurant recently relocated from its original building as that was beyond repair. The Gaig family has been chefs for 130 years and Carles is the current incarnation.
Intimate describes well the surroundings of the restaurant deep

hues of red and subtly lit.
The tasting menu is recommended as it gives a wide selection of the kitchens skills.
Unfortunately one course marred the whole meal a belly of tuna perfectly cooked but salty beyond sense after a mouthful all that could be tasted was salt, it ruined the wine and it took two courses before I regained use my taste buds .
The meal rallied towards the end and redeemed itself.

At Abac I ate as one of the 8 courses smoked anchovy with garlic ice cream it almost brought tears to my eyes it was so good it had just been warmed through in the smoker so it was barely cooked just meltingly delicious, paired with a tiny Quenelle of roasted garlic ice cream and a thin wafer of toast just genius.
With Chef Xavier Peliccio at the helm, this restaurant continues to produce involving well thought out beautifully presented dishes, with a nod to old culinary traditions and recipes.
I was overwhelmed by the finesse creativity and flavours presented in his tasting menu I was lucky enough to receive an extra course of roast best end of suckling pig just perfect the cracking thin and crispy like paper.

I spoke with Xavier and visited His kitchens and was very pleased to see real stoves with no induction cooking.
I am a great believer in fine cuisine should be produced with heat, passion and hard work there was plenty of that going on in this kitchen.

Lasarte is an outpost of the chef Martín Berasategui The latest star in the firmament of Spanish haute cuisine housed inside the hotel condes a step away from the Pasaig de Gracia a small elongated room greets you along with charming bilingual staff styled in grey nero jackets.
There was great expectancy in regard to the eel and foie terrine I was certainly not disappointed, the smoky oiliness of the eel worked in complete harmony along with the tart freshness of caramelized apple .
Every bite was sad as I became ever closer to finishing the dish.
Restaurants at this level seem to get caught in a trap of over complication style over reasoned thought, the wine list here is a prime example .
A cork box was presented when opened it contained four more cork covered folders each containing a wine list, this was supplemented with a textural swatch evoking the mood of the wines contained within yet all wines were lacking in the needed information grape variety or even a tasting note perhaps!
The meal was peppered with culinary highlights the Ravioli of squid ink translucent pastry holding warm ink and seasoning stock eaten with shredded raw squid and a tumble of rice noodle all popped into your mouth at once to allow the ravioli to burst inside and mingle with the other ingredients was excellent.
A defining moment was with the coffee an inconspicuous chocolate contained a very fine praline and rock salt, which provided a shock to the palate there was a reevaluation of all thing chocolate happening here.
Presentation of the food, namely the finishing of the dishes erred towards twee most courses came with a jus or sauce which was added at the table which for me began to become a little tiring after several courses over complication rears its head again.
Lasarte is worth a trip if you are in Barcelona somewhat easier to reach than the parent restaurant, which is about 15 miles outside of San Sebastian, he also oversees the restaurant at the Guggenheim in Bilbao .

I challenge you to get bored with the food in Barcelona the market called la Boqueria is just awesome such wonderful fresh local products on display and good bars to eat at ,being close to the products makes all the difference octopus for breakfast on morning one pulpo galeggio boiled and drizzled with olive oil and paprika washed down with a glass of chilled cava
next day razor clams ,and the next tripe! Probably the best I have ever eaten.
For the traditionalists among us casa Leopoldo reigns supreme ,Barcelona is still a bullfighting city although the main bullring is being redeveloped, this restaurant is run by a family with a long bullfighting connection ,so of course you can eat oxtail here and being Barcelona there is good fish on offer too.
As my last meal before my return it could not be faulted.

All your shopping needs can be met here in Barcelona also lots of history and culture great wine. But the down side millions of tourists with that come s the pickpockets so one has to be on their guard.
Nonetheless as for dining experiences and they were many a weekend away here has a lot to recommend it, what are you waiting for?

Information follows
Restaurant Lasarte
In the hotel condes

Passeig de Gràcia, 73-75 · 08008 Barcelona Tel. (+34) 93 445 00 00 · Fax: (+34) 93 445 32 32 e-mail:
Can Gaig
C/ ARAGÓ 214 (Aribau Corner)
Telf: 934 291 017
Fax: 934 297 002
Tues-Sat 1:30-3:30pm; Mon-Sat 8:30-10:30pm
Carrer del Rec 79-89
LocationLa Ribera, Ciutat Vella

Metro: Jaume I or Barceloneta


Casa Leopoldo Calle Rafael, 24 Tel 0034 93 441 69 42

© 2009 paul hughes Contact Me