First dinner in Barcelona, and we did it up right!

One of the great things we are finding about staying at the Mercer Barcelona is their exceptional guest relations staff. We had one of the best meals of our lives thanks to a recommendation to visit Monteil in the Born district.

We had passed this small restaurant earlier in the day on our Born walkabout (hearing it was the best area for bistros and tapas). The narrow and winding streets, and unassuming front, could make this restaurant easy to miss.

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We were seated upstairs at a lovely little table overlooking the front, and we had amazing and attentive service from three different servers alternating throughout the night. We new we were in for something special when we saw the menu – the choice of one of two tasting menus. That’s it. Right up are alley! Of course, we chose the Gastronomic Tasting (a few more little courses) with the wine pairing. Amazed that all of that was at about 100 Euro per person.

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As soon as the first course arrived, we knew we were in for a unique menu – as gorgeous as it was delicious. The first plate had three small tastings in little dishes, each full of incredible flavour in one bite. The zucchini cream was smooth, the potatoes with octopus and smoked red pepper had a great hit of heat, and the baked vegetables with anchovy were coddled in some kind of edible gelatine bowl. It all went beautifully with the Cava bubbly that accompanied it.

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Soon after we started the tastings, a bowl with a cucumber sorbet was placed before us, and then Salmorego (a cold soup like gazpacho) was poured all around it. This was an intense burst of flavour that we loved.

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The second course was raw scallops covered with avocado, with a passionfruit vinaigrette on the side. This reminded us of a lobster tail, and was incredibly smooth tasting.

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The third course was a seared tuna with apple and lettuce ice cream. We started to notice a trend here. These incredible non-traditional ice cream flavours, with tiny pieces of dried rock-like bursts of flavour. So intense and delightful! Paired with a fruity white wine, we wondered how it could get better.

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The fourth course of a quail salad with olive oil ice cream, oranges and shallots has a nice light and citrusy taste to it.

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The fifth course started the progression toward deeper flavours. The rockfish with creamy parsnips was perfectly paired with a deeper golden white wine. We especially loved the parsnips.

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The sixth course was my personal favourite – a duck and pear ravioli with port sauce and topped with foie gras. This was rich and creamy and paired so well with the first red wine of the night. Loved this dish!

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The seventh course was David’s favourite – lamb with vegetables. Sounds pretty simple, but the lamb had a crispy sear to it that really made it special. Again, perfectly paired with a deeper red wine.

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As a bit of a breather to the dessert (yes, there was more!), a shot glass of mint and lime sorbet was brought to our table. Really, it was a mojito – a strong one – and likely the best one I have ever had!

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The dinner closed off with “chocolate earth” with vanilla ice cream, and a port-like sweet drink and lovely petit fours. Both desserts were amazing, and we ate every last bite (even though by this time we were incredibly full and a little on the almost drunk side)!

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Hands down, one of the best dining experiences of our lives! Truly all about gastronomic experimenting, without being stuffy. It felt fun and special and was the perfect way to spend our first night in Barcelona!

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