los caracoles

Los Caracoles

Eating Out in Barcelona: Los Caracoles

Online reviews of this restaurant are all the same: crowded, expensive, a tourist trap. Thankfully, we didn’t check the reviews beforehand. I found this restaurant both exciting and charming, and the food was outstanding. In business since 1835, the place just oozes with history. You’ll have to wait if you don’t have reservations–it is that popular. Hardly a hardship though. Sitting at the bar, the smells wafting from the kitchen are just amazing and the activity in the room itself will keep you entertained. For longer waits you’re probably better off passing the time outside. This restaurant is in the heart of the Gothic district, with stores, restaurants and galleries everywhere you turn. The architecture is quintessentially Spanish, many of the buildings date from medieval times.

Once inside Los Caracoles, you’ll be led right through the middle of the kitchen past pots and pans in varying stages of employ, past nearly a dozen men working in the kitchen, some controlling the temperatures of the wood-fired ovens and stoves, others prepping meat dishes, others making sauces, and one guy just stirring the risotto. The restaurant goes on almost endlessly: multiple rooms split over multiple floors. Spanish tiles cover some walls, exposed timbers in the ceilings, stone and hardwood floors and lots and lots of snail and Spanish-themed decorations. Next time I’m in Barcelona I’m returning to this restaurant for dinner and I’m ordering the seafood paella.

Visit the Los Caracoles website

Update: 2016
We went back for the paella. Not outstanding. But the biggest surprise was the charge on the bill for “bread,” which we didn’t order. It was delivered to the table, as bread often is, as part of the meal.

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