Acontraluz

Acontraluz is part of the successful Grupo Tragaluz. It’s situated in a pretty suburban area near Sarria and far enough off the beaten track not to be mistaken for a tourist destination. We have been here several times over the years for lunch.

It’s a pleasant, relaxing venue. You would normally need to book as it is popular with the well healed locals. It’s also not the easiest place to find.

Marks out of 10

Food 5

Service 5

Ambience 5.4

Update : August 2012 : What have they done with their web site – very weird : – Acontraluz

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Moments @ MO, Barcelona – Setting the standard

At long last we managed to have lunch at Moments restaurant. The delayed opening meant we missed the chance on our last visit to Barcelona.  We were pleasantly surprised by the  interior, as the Mandarin Oriental website does not do it justice. It is a beautiful room that is both stylish and comfortable.

We were greeted by a familiar face, Carlos formerly of the Foliage in London. One of our regular haunts. He presented us with a glass each of Carme Ruscelleda’s 20th anniversary Cava.  Without hesitation we decided on the tasting menu (125 euro’s ouch!) along with a lovely selection of wines by the glass.

The meal began with the famous Appetizers Micro Menu which consisted of four appetizers one for each season. We then had a very artistic dish based on “Miros Bird” the original which we understand hangs in Carme Ruscelleda’s restaurant in Tokyo.  This was followed by a very refreshing dish of cuttlefish and peas then a very moreish crayfish dish with morel cream. Next came an unusual but successful combination of flavours. Sea Bass with strawberry chutney.  There was a choice of main courses. Tuna Cheek or Iberian Pork. The Tuna cheek in particular was stunning.  We then moved on to the cheese course and two desserts simply named “Red” and “White”. We both agreed that the Red was our favourite as this was a standout dish and not just because it used popping candy!

We finished the meal with the Eight Pastry Divertimenti. A selection of Petit-fours presented on a three tier cake stand.

After the meal we were introduced to the head chef Raul Balam (Carme Ruscelleda’s son).  It’s always nice to be able to tell the chef how much we enjoyed the meal.

The restaurant is too new to have been awarded a Michelin star or should I say stars as it will undoubtedly pick up more than one in the not too distant future, it is certainly a rival to its 3 star sister restaurant Sant Pau in Sant Pol de Mer.

WARNING: Dining at Moments can seriously damage your appreciation of other restaurants. Every other restaurant, even ones you really rated start to look scruffy and unprofessional in comparison. The attention to detail at MO is second to none.

UPDATE December 2010 – Moments awarded a Michelin Star in the 2011 Michelin Guide. In my view they merit two. For more information, see :-

UPDATE November 2012 – Moments awarded their second Michelin Star. Saw that one coming!

Marks out of 10

Food 8.3

Service 8.2

Ambience 8.5

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Moo – Sensations

The Roca brothers 1 Star Michelin restaurant Moo is in the Hotel Omm. It is ideal for people with jaded palettes, as Moo is all about “sensations”.

We went for the gourmet tasting menu at 85 euros with 25 euros for matching wines.  We started with a visually stunning dish called the “golden egg” – an egg yolk in a gold caramelized shell served with what tasted like crushed cornflakes – the epitome of breakfast.  The next dish conjured up the sensation of being in a forest, this was delivered by the pigeon carpaccio with juniper ice-cream presented in a smoke filled glass cloche which when removed gave of a strong woody aroma.   After the “forest” we moved into the “orchard” – that sensation came in the form of a snow crab ravolli in a citrus sauce.

We finished on a high with the dessert, which brought back memories of being at the “Fun Fair” –  Candyfloss, toffee apples and nuts.  They used actual candyfloss (something we also had at Moo’s sister restaurant El cellar de Can Roca ) along with a beautiful “fake apple” –  a caramelized shell containing mousse. This was a really impressive dish.

The Americans at the next table were doing the usual thing of trying to get the food done their way, a real No No here. The Maitre’d handled it well, but when the food is effectively an art form you just don’t mess with it. It’s like telling Picasso to use less blue.

The dining  room is very artistic (let down only by the NCP carpark style wall, that we have mentioned in earlier posts). The plates used to present the food were unusual perhaps even unique – they included one signed by chef Ferran Adrià of El Bulli.

We returned to the Hotel Omm a few days later to eat in Moovida, where the menu is a lot more down to earth.

Marks out of 10 for Moo.

Food 7.2

Service 7

Ambience 7

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Bravo24 at the W – Whale watching!

Bravo24 is the signature restaurant of the W Hotel in Barcelona’s marina and has its own private lift in the reception area. We entered the lift expecting to be whisked up to the 24th floor but alas it merely took us up one level to the sun terrace.

The location (if you are having lunch on the terrace) stops this restaurant from being a “destination restaurant”. This is mainly because of its child friendly nature and the fact you are directly overlooking the sun terrace which provides a stunning view of Frank Gehry’s ‘Peix d’Or’ bronze whale sculpture and the not so stunning views of some of the W’s guests basking in the sun.

The executive chef is Carles Abellan who is also responsible for Comerc 24, our No Expert Best of the Best award winner last year, so as expected the food is off a  high standard.  However it was a slightly mixed bag with some very good high end dishes, served along side some fairly basic grills.  I especially enjoyed the Cod salad which based on the menu description was not quite as expected as it was very refined indeed.  For our main course we went for the Veal, it was served with some lovely mash but alas as I’m not a huge fan of eating fat (I know some people like this sort of thing) I wasn’t able to clean my plate.

I would imagine that the atmosphere in the evening is very different, making this a more suitable fine dining experience, than our casual lunch.

However despite this criticism, we would say that Bravo 24 is a good place for lunch, especially if you are in the area and want to check out the W or relax in the foyer bar. However you will need to be aware of the damage it will do to your wallet.  Our lunch for example consisted of 3 courses and 3 glasses of wine at approx 70 euros per person.

Marks out of 10

Food 6.2

Service 6

Ambience 6

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Mon Vinic – Serious about Wines

It is good to have local knowledge, we certainly would not have known about Mon Vinic without it.

Mon Vinic is more than just a stylish wine bar and restaurant. The emphasis here is firmly on the wine, which is selected via a PC Tablet.  You can search for your wines by Country, Grape and Cost.  For the techies out there the OS was Microsoft Windows Vista™ and it crashed while the waitress was showing us how to use it – Typical!

We went here at short notice, so did not manage to get a table in the restaurant.  Instead we had Tapas in the bar area opposite the glass box that forms the not so private dining area, so we were able to get a good feel for the place.

The Tapas menu is small. We ordered a selection of cheese and meat and some beautifully cooked cuttlefish croquettes, accompanied by a glass of Au Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley AVA, Pinot Noir 2004 and Aldonia, DOC Rioja. La Dama 2005.

We then ordered dessert, a mixed chocolate dish and a banana and coconut concoction (very pina colada), with a half glass of  Emilio Lustau  Pedro Ximenez  (more than enough of this rich raison flavoured sherry) and a glass of Bodegas Pedro Luis Martinez DO Jumilla. Monastrell Alceno, 2004.

It was easy to visualize Frasier and Niles sitting in the glass box sipping fine wines, with Roz and Daphne perched at the Bar chatting up the waiters.

Next time we will plan ahead and get a table in the popular restaurant.

Marks out of 10

Food 5

Service 5

Ambience 6.5

LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Roof Top Bars in Barcelona

Apparently “the luxury consumer’s desire to climb skyward is most strongly felt in dense, heavily populated urban metropolises”. I can not disagree with that, so when you get the right weather, it’s good to find a venue with a view. Here are a couple of our favourite Roof Top Bars in the urban metropolis that is Barcelona.

The Majestic – Gourmet Bar

View in daylight


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The Majestics pool bar has stunning views, it is a beautiful location, however it does have a few negatives :-

  • Drinks are expensive and served in plastic glasses!
  • The drink selection is limited
  • The staff seem more concerned with keeping the place tidy than serving customers.
  • No idea on the food front as nothing offered on the menu that we could see, just rather plain crisps delivered with our drinks.

Here is a short video:-

The Claris Hotel  – La Terraza del Claris

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Views from the Claris Hotel are not as good as the Majestic, but the bar service and food choices are a lot better. It’s a more laid back venue. The prices here are also very expensive so prepare to nurse that drink and make the most of the view.

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LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

For more roof top bar locations see :- Roof Top Bars in Europe.

Inopia – VIP tapas

We had heard good things about Inopia, but were not sure it would be our scene, as it seemed a little too trendy and lively for our tastes, but we decided to give it a go. Following advice from other food bloggers we arrived early (about 7:30 to avoid the queues) the red rope was raised and we got the last two seats.

The place was already buzzing,  food bloggers were clearly in situ, armed with cameras and note books. For such a busy place the service was exceptional, friendly and efficient.

Here is a short video:-

As you would expect with the el Bulli connection (Inopia is owned by el Bulli’s dessert chef, Alberto Adria), the food quality and service was definitely well above your average tapas. We were happy to follow the waiters recommendations, sampling top quality tapas favourites like  Patatas Bravas and ham croquettes, along with other dishes such as the Russian Salad and the Tuna carpaccio, we had about 7 dishes in total, washed down with a couple of glasses of Kalimotxo and a refreshing complimentary liqueur.

UPDATE November 2010 – Last weekend, the last tapas were served at Inopia, co-owned by Alberto Adrià, who is said to have been too busy working on another project to mourn over the closing, the place is soon to reopen under a new name, Lolita.

Marks out of 10

Food 7

Service 7.5

Ambience 7.8

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Moovida – grazing time.

This is pretty much our first stop after getting off the plane in Barcelona.  Moovida is the bar of the Hotel Omm, so its menu covers bar food, but that description just does not do it justice, as the quality is unmistakable. We started with a stunning veal sandwich (actually more of a burger than a sandwich), then added in a cheese course to extend the meal and finished off with a delicious apple tart with ginger ice cream.

UPDATE:  May 2010 – Revisited Moovida, we had exactly the same meal. There was no dip in the quality. The menu is more extensive, but when you find something you enjoy it’s hard not to do repeats.

Marks out of 10 for this visit:-

Food 7.2

Service 6.5

Ambience 7.5

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Cuines Santa Caterina – cleaning up.

I would love to find a market restaurant like this in London (Roast is the closest, but the food there just does not do it for me), so we have to go to Barcelona to indulge. On this trip we started with a shared plate of dips – very fresh ingredients, lovely fluffy pita bread.


I followed this with Tuna Tartare and my companion had his usual Catalan sausage with baby beans and fois gras. For dessert I had a quite stunning Crema Catalana, washed down with some fresh fruit juice. We left our plates so clean that the waiter commented rather amusingly that the “cleaner would be pleased”.

For more on this venue, see Cuines Santa Caterina – Grupo Tragaluz goes to the market and the following video.

Marks out of 10 for this visit

Food 7

Service 7

Ambience 7

LOCATION INFORMATION

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Bar Lobo – slow and moody

Went to Bar Lobo (part of the Grupo Tragaluz) for drinks. It is a pleasant enough venue (although the drains do smell a bit when sitting outside). The service is the main problem here, staff did not seem very friendly and the service was slow and inconsistent, i.e., later arrivals getting their food and drink before we got our rather simple drinks order.

We returned again a few evenings later for Tapas (to give it a second chance!). It was quite lively but not packed, and we got a table more or less straight away, but after that it went down hill, it took ages to get our order taken. Bar Lobo could take a few lessons from Inopia on what it means to provide good service.

Marks out of 10

Food 4

Service 4

Ambience 5

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Traguluz – the return

Traguluz was the first quality restaurant we found in Barcelona many years ago, and thought it might be interesting to see if our tastes had changed much in the intervening years.  While not off Michelin Star level, it did impress us with good quality food and wine, served in a lovely location.

I had forgotten how nice the dining area is. Very bright and modern looking with large mirrors and creative flower displays. The service was not exactly top notch though.  For example, while being asked to taste the wine the waitress proceeded to fill up my companions glass – classic. The portions are much larger than a fine dining restaurant but then its not going for that market anyway. The food was tasty and satisfying so I would definately still recommend this venue for a meal.

Marks out of 10

Food 6.5

Service 6

Ambience 7

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Cinc Sentits – roller coaster!

This was our 4th visit to Cinc Sentits over a 5 year period, and I can only compare it to a roller coaster as far as consistancy is concerned, it really has been up and down.

This restaurant based on earlier experiences was almost a tie with Comerc 24 as our favourite Barcelona Restaurant. Not so this time as Comerc 24 was streets ahead. Tram Tram another old favorite pulled out the stops and easily beat Cinc Sentits to second place.

Some of the usual courses were excellent (the foie gras) but a few too many had slipped to just ordinary so that the whole meal felt a bit hit and miss. The individual courses had shrunk so that a dimple in the plate seemed to hold them.  The cheese course in particular looked really tiny, (one small piece of cheese, a minuscule tomato and a couple of leaves of rocket), but I have to say it came as a bit of a surprise as it was very tasty indeed.

One of the more substantial dishes was the fish course served in glass paper, a presentation style I have so far only seen at Launceston Place in London.

Maybe we’ll do a return next year, but with so much competition who knows.

Marks out of 10

Food 7

Service 7

Ambience 7

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain