Another year, another week long adventure for the annual family holiday with the parents, two brothers and our other halves!
This September, we decided to book a cycling trip away with BSpoke Tours – where Mark from Cycle Catalan met us at Girona Airport and looked after us during our week long tour. As a family of foodies, the trip was certainly ‘bespoke’ and fully tailored to our eating requirements.
Amongst the endless grapevines, stunning vineyards, A LOT of wine tasting, rice fields, olive groves, and medieval villages, we thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the true local cuisine throughout the unspoiled areas of Catalonia, Northern Spain.
As all dishes were such gastronomic delights, I just had to do an overview of the best restaurants in the area (along with promising a little foodie review when getting carried away with sharing my passion of food)…
Here’s my 5 suggested food stops for all the foodies out there with a big appetite; a ‘snack lunch’ isn’t going to cut it over here, so you really need to cycle/have some level of activity to burn off the daily 3 course meal for both your lunch and evening dinner – even if it’s on an e-bike…
Durán Hotel & Restaurant, Figueres
As a stand out point to this hotel & restaurant, Salvador Dali was a regular visitor to this traditional Catalan establishment, and is very close to the Dali Museum for a highly recommended trip.
It was lovely to be welcomed by a friendly array of waiters with a local glass of Cava and our first taste of local Catalan food, kicking off our highly gastronomic experience and week of serious over-indulgence.
- Mussels with Marinara Sauce
- Pumpkin Cream and marinated salmon with dill
- Fried eggs with vegetables in tempura
- Salad with brie cheese and tomato jam
- Catalan cod style with spinach, gratin with honey mouselina
- Tuna to the Denosti style
- Pepper steak with garnishes
- Casserole rice with chanterelles, sausages and snails
- Figs filled with lavendar and thyme ice cream with lemon cream
- Roasted peach strudel with cream
- Melon soup and mango sorbet
- Profiteroles with hot chocolate
2. Restaurant Sotamuralla, Peralada
Now this was my favourite lunch place and the very first cycle stop (after a little language barrier misunderstanding with the ‘John Cleese’ type owner!) We were seated in an authentic, shaded court yard and had our first Moritz beer, which was very welcomed after a morning of cycling.
Surprised at the slightly pricey menu (expensive starters as seen below and on average a main course was around 30 euros), we were so hungry we just felt it was necessary to splash out… and it sure paid off!
Best thing on the menu and the most popular dish ordered by the locals – the Lobster Paella for two, a VERY generous portion size…
A few other favourites ordered by the family:
- Duck confit with red fruits and Jamaican pepper
- Cochinillo – Roasted suckling Pig with french fries
- Sauteed Squids with Pedrosillanos chickpeas
‘Light snack’ & beer going down well before a further 30km cycle ahead…
3. Hotel Palau Lo Mirador
To say we were now staying in a castle, was certainly not an understatement… This place was absolutely phenomenal and architecturally impressive.
The high quality in yet another local cuisine styled menu did not fail to disappoint.
Happily devouring Paella – when in Spain…
A gastronomic chocolate brownie joy with vanilla ice cream.
Just when you think you couldn’t possibly eat any more after a hefty starter and main, the puddings would always come out looking something like this…
4. La Terrassa D’Empuries, L’Escalaca
Now here’s one from L’Escala.
An idyllic spot with panaromic sea views, L’Escala is a MUST stop area in Catalonia, and this restaurant bang in the square is a Tapas dream of local cuisine. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves on this one…
Fresh fish & razor clams at their best…
Oh, and to top if off, all eight of us were given a complimentary glass of Cava and a mini dessert/liquor to end the perfect lunch in the heart of Catalonia.
5. Hotel Trias, Palamos
Now for a round up on the final hotel we stayed at, which offered fantastic service and another great 3 course menu every night – Hotel Trias, a charming hotel on the Costa Brava seafront.
- Home made “Gazpacho” (cold vegetables soup) with toast and vegetables
- Salad with blue cheese, orange, dried fruits and vinaigrette
- Fried fish
- Grilled pork filet with wild mushroom sauce
- Hamburger with fried egg, onion, salad and fries
- Cod fish au gratin with garlic sauce and pears
- Fruit Salad
- “Petit Willy” (first I’ve heard too!) catalan cream, nougat ice cream and chocolat
- Home made ice cream
There’s a lovely outdoor terrace seating area to enjoy your meal if you fancy being outside.
*Note – the Irish Coffees are VERY strong – that ‘coffee’ I’m holding is pretty much a glass of whisky, which is why I’m doing a silly smile in this photograph… It’s all good!
Massive thanks again for the great work from the team at BSpoke Tours and Cycle Catalan – it’s been one big cycle adventure and foodie pleasure!