CITY BAR AND RESTAU­RANT, GRAND CEN­TRAL HO­TEL BARCELONA, SPAIN

Vacations & Travel - - Tried & Tested - By Sue Wal­lace grand­hotel­cen­tral.com; slh.com

In the heart of bustling Barcelona, Grand Cen­tral Ho­tel’s City Bar and Restau­rant is a gourmet haven where tra­di­tional dishes star with an in­no­va­tive twist. Start the oc­ca­sion with a sig­na­ture cock­tail cre­ated by Manel Vehi in the sleek City Bar, then head to the in­ti­mate din­ing room where chef Al­berto Vi­cente reigns us­ing fresh lo­cal pro­duce in his Mediter­ranean bistro-style cook­ing with cos­mopoli­tan touches and a con­tem­po­rary flour­ish.

For starters, it’s ten­der Iberian ham with fresh bread rubbed with ripe tomato, which is a firm favourite with Barcelo­ni­ans. The cru­dite salad with sweet figs and goat’s cheese and the truf­fled potato mille­feuille and quail egg yolks are also pop­u­lar. For mains it is the roasted sea bass cooked to per­fec­tion with porcini mush­rooms which is a great com­bi­na­tion. The sig­na­ture Cen­tral Ham­burger and clas­sic steak tartare also has a big fol­low­ing. For a sweet fi­nale it is a toss-up be­tween the Cata­lan-style cus­tard foam and the tra­di­tional tor­rija with le­mon curd and cin­na­mon – the cus­tard foam doesn’t dis­ap­point.

In a city where tapas dom­i­nates, a three-course din­ner is a nice al­ter­na­tive. Ser­vice is slick and at­ten­tive and the wine list is im­pres­sive with cava – sparkling wine – and lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional drops. Fin­ish with a night­cap at the ro­man­tic Sky­bar with spec­tac­u­lar views over Barcelona.

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