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Portugal and Spain suggestions.

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Doug A

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Portugal and Spain suggestions.

by Doug A » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:36 pm

Wife and I are traveling with a group to Portugal and Spain. We have quite a few meals included in the trip but have some on our own too.

Anyone have any experiences\suggestions:

Need a Lunch and Dinner in Lisbon, Portugal
Need a Lunch and Dinner in Sevilla, Spain
Need a Lunch and two Dinners in Granada, Spain
Need a Lunch and Dinner in Cordoba, Spain
Need a Lunch and two Dinners in Madrid, Spain

We don't speak the languages, but we're great at pointing and that got us through two weeks in Buenos Aires when our daughter was not around to translate. That said, English friendly is always welcome but is certainly not a deterrent if they are not.

Thanks for any thoughts-Doug
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Joel F

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Re: Portugal and Spain suggestions.

by Joel F » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:21 am

Hi

A good start might be the Time Out family of websites, they have them at least for Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon. The Lisbon site seems to be only in Portuguese but you should be able to use an online translator or get the general gist

http://www.timeout.com/barcelona

http://www.timeout.com/madrid/

http://timeout.sapo.pt/

http://www.timeout.com/

Zagat has international coverage: http://www.zagat.com/

Another option is to track down sites / publications geared towards English-speaking expats.

I would also recommend checking the Guardian (or other UK newspaper) travel section, for example: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/spain -- though I think this will be less valuable than Time Out.

I haven't explored what tips might be cleaned from the websites of the major travel guide companies (Lonely Planet, Fodor's, Let's Go etc)
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Re: Portugal and Spain suggestions.

by Doug A » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:57 pm

Joel,

Thanks for the reply. Those are all excellent suggestions and I will follow up on them.

The forum has a lot of international travelers and was hopeful that someone had some personal experiences in the cities we'll be passing through. We'll have a travel coordinator with us and the concierge at the hotel so I'm sure we'll have some suggestions, but we've had some remarkable recommendations for some out of way places that we would never have found without forum member suggestions so thought it was worth a post.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Doug
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Deb Hall

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Re: Portugal and Spain suggestions.

by Deb Hall » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:55 am

Doug,

I've only eaten in Valencia ( I love Spain!), so can't help personally. But I got some GREAT food recommendations watching the show: On the Road again, Spain! , with Gwenyth Paltrow and Mario Batali. I'm sure they would have episodes in those cities. They are great to watch; you can find them on-line and maybe Netflix? PBS? ( don't remember which).

I know Robin and Dan B have been to Spain- you may want to Pm them to make sure they see this.

Have a fantastic trip!
Deb
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Re: Portugal and Spain suggestions.

by Joel F » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:49 am

No worries Doug, I hope you do get some personal recommendations or better yet connections to locals who will show you around.

In other news, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations also posts travel guides for the various episodes. That might be a touch point for some typical / quality places to check out.

e.g.: http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/a ... des/lisbon
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Re: Portugal and Spain suggestions.

by Doug A » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:58 pm

Well, we've been back for a few weeks and caught up at work so I thought I would update the post from our trip.

This was an escorted tour with a large number of group meals included and was very tightly scheduled with a lot of activities. When we did have down time for dining out jet lag and fatigue often meant dining around or in the hotel. Surprising lack of English spoken even in the larger city hotels.

Highlights were in:

Seville:

Seville Center Hotel has a lovely restaurant on the upper level of the hotel, Al Zagal Restaurant. Views were highly recommended by the tour guide, but they were actually shooing people away unless they had a reservation. We did, and it looked promising.

Very small restaurant, maybe 6 tables or so. No English spoken or comprehended whatsoever. Tried to order a bottle of red wine and got 2 glasses of white. Went to the tried and true point and hope system and settled in for an evening of whatever they decided to bring. We thoroughly enjoyed the wine, food, and magnificent views of the city and sunset.

Ronda and Granada:

Parador de Ronda was one of several Paradores, state run facilities that all had some historical significance or newer facilities in scenic areas, that we had meals at that were all very good. This one was at the top of a gorge and next to Spain's oldest bullring.

Parador de Ronda

Found ourselves with some downtime for a meal and had a very simple dinner of Iberico ham, olives, Manchego cheese, some bread, and wine in the hotel lounge. We had this several times on the trip and it was always a very satisfying meal.

Alhambra Palace Hotel Lounge

Cordoba:

Arrived early afternoon in Cordoba, got into our room, and went a couple of blocks down to a recommended restaurant. Sorry, the name escapes me at the moment. A large number of our group showed up at the same place and we overwhelmed the staff that appeared to be winding down from lunch. No English, so we pointed and enjoyed lots of tapas including one with Baby Eel. Very good, once you get past the idea that what you thought was pasta or cheese from the menu picture is not what you're eating.

Cordoba tapas with Baby Eel

Madrid:

Westin Palace Hotel dining room and bar:

Had a couple of Manhattans with Four Roses bourbon and tapas in the hotel bar. Beautiful bar, very good tapas, insanely expensive Manhattan.

Westin Palace Hotel Bar

Might have been the highlight of the trip, dining wise.

Salvador Dali exhibition was in Madrid at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, a few blocks away from the hotel. In honor of the exhibit the hotel presented an homage to Dali by having three chefs put together a menu featuring local ingredients in a style reminescent of his artwork.

The dinner was titled: Reminiscing Dali: A Culinary Evolution from Impressionism to Surrealism. Wine pairings were a red, Castell de Peralada, and a white, Oliver Conti, both from the Empordá region, and a rosé cava, Castell de Peralada, which was drunk by Dalí himself. Unlike wine pairings that I have had in the US the glass was never empty. At the end of the meal the Maitre de brought a large leather bound book and asked us to record our thoughts on the experience.

Between the spectacular dining room, marvelous food, and the never ending wine this was one of the best, and most creative, meals I have ever had an opportunity to partake.

Salvador Dali dinner at Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid

Toledo:

Had lunch at Parador de Toledo. Spectacular views from the dining room and food was very good.

Parador de Toledo

Wonderful trip, hope the tips help anyone traveling to those areas.

Doug

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