by Truly Malin
New York, New York
December 10, 2001
Spanish – Tapas
We learned the hard way that dinner reservations must be made a day in advance in Barcelona on weekend nights. Having been shut out of our first choice for dinner, we opted instead to take the path of least resistance, and dine in the tapas bar at our hotel. Amazingly, we were not disappointed. The ambiance at Goyescas was friendly and bright, yet chic and sophisticated at the same time. The staff was attentive and spoke excellent English. The crowd included couples at intimate tables, families with small children, and large groups, all harmoniously seated together, somehow.
We sampled an array of typical tapas, including triangles of delicious fried cheese, pa amb tomaquet (a sort of sliced bread with tomato topping that is ubiquitous in tapas bars), patatas bravas (fries or potato chunks in a spicy tomato-ey sauce), and truita espanyola (translated as 'potato omelet', this is really more of a thick quiche.)
Spanish – Seafood
As good as Goyescas was, we vowed not to skulk around the hotel eating in its five restaurants (which, although quite reasonable by New Yorker standards, are as overpriced as you would expect) -- until we stumbled upon the Bar Marina while investigating the hotel pool. It's a poolside grill with outdoor seating and a glorious view of the Mediterranean sea. Enormous, healthy-looking lobsters greet you as you walk by the grill, then a cool ocean breeze lures you to the simply appointed, lovely tables. We couldn't resist.
Salads were bountiful, fresh, and lightly dressed. Our grilled asparagus appetizer was heavenly, as were W.'s vegetable tortillas and my butternut squash and ricotta ravioli served in a basil butter with fresh, lightly salted spinach. J, however, was not as lucky. Once again heeding the siren song of the sea (and the grill), she ordered grilled shrimp. These arrived with heads, tails, tentacles, and eyes intact, to her complete horror. W, a less squeamish sort, charitably offered to behead and de-vein them for J - but even she had to stop when shrimp #3 squirted the contents of its stomach on her hand. Several napkins and hand-washings later, she was unable to get the stench off herself, and decided that the best course of action was to use her smelly fingers to terrorize J all afternoon.
From journal Barcelona: Where Old Meets New