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Photo by Richard Lee Owens
CaldeniCaldeni, the meat restaurant that is one of Tara's picks from this year's Barcelona Restaurant Week
I had an interesting discussion with a local restauranteur earlier today about how to lure people in the door when times are tough. From my recent observations, key these days is to offer excellent price-quality ratio, and by that I don’t necessarily mean hitting the bargain bucket.
You could spend €50 for two on a fantastic prix-fixe menu and feel you’ve had a bargain, and at the same time €5 on a soggy sandwich that makes you feel utterly ripped off. The point is, we’re eating out a LOT less and that means when we do reach deep in our pockets we expect to feel fulfilled and satisfied at the end of it.
Likewise, punters don’t want to be fobbed off with a free glass of crappy cava left over from a rush of Christmas parties, or a two-for-one deal when the deal is a menu you’d rather not eat. Now more than ever, restaurants need to nurture their clients, show them they care and appreciate their custom.
Those that have it right are offering great food at accessible prices pure and simple, so I’m happy to see the return of Barcelona Restaurant Week for the second year in a row, which sees many of the city’s higher-end restaurants offering menús for €25-€35: literally, making posh food more accessible to the masses.
Fifty-three restaurants are taking part, including several that hold Michelin stars as well as more mid-range places. €1 of each menu sold will be donated to Intermón Oxfam (www.intermonoxfam.org)
See the full list of participating restaurants here.
My top 10 picks:
Caelis – serious fine-dining for a taste of new Spanish cuisine
Caldeni – properly aged meat, careful preparation, a no-brainer for carnivores
Cinc Sentits – dazzling reinterpretations of Catalan classics, fabulous wines
Gaig – one of the city’s greatest chefs and still one of the best
Gresca – great example of the new Catalan ‘bistro’; interesting but unpretentious
Hisop – innovative ‘small dishes’ and clever flavour combinations
Manairó – known as the 'chef of fire', works wonders with offal
Toc – perfectly executed comfort food in a contemporary setting
Topik – young newcomer, unafraid to mix world influences with local products
Speakeasy – clandestine, very romantic and handy for cocktails
Second Barcelona Restaurant Week, January 27th to February 5th, 2012.