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RESTAURANTS

Agut d'Avignon
Tucked away in a tiny street in the atmospheric Barri Gòtic, Agut d'Avignon is the creation of ex-lawyer and pharmacist Ramón Cabau. Known for his impeccable taste, the restaurant is a haven for writers, artists and politicians, and has attracted diners such as Miró and Yves Montand. Rustic yet elegant, employing top-quality produce and a first-rate wine list, it is evident why. The menu is seasonal, offering adventurous dishes such as partridge pâté and roast boar with raspberry sauce.

Carrer de la Trinitat 3/Avinyo 8
Tel: (93) 302 6034. Fax: (93) 302 5318.
Website: www.virtualsd.es/agutdavignon
Price: Pta6000/EUR36. Wine: Pta1000/EUR6.

Ca l'Isidre
Run by the Gironés i Salvó family for over 25 years, Ca l'Isidre is an intimate restaurant boasting King Juan Carlos among its regular clientele. Isidre Gironés presides over the excellent wine list and exquisite food, personally selecting the best ingredients at the nearby La Boqueria market to conjure up timeless dishes, including duck liver pâté and figs, stuffed artichokes or saddle of lamb. The cosy dining room is a charming 'home from home' thanks to his wife Montse. Daughter Núria is an ace patisera, whose desserts provide a perfect finale to chef César Pastor's seasonal Catalan dishes. Booking essential.

Carrer Les Flors 12
Tel: (93) 441 1139 or 442 5720. Fax: (93) 442 5271.
E-mail: isidre@mhp.es
Website: www.isidre.mhp.es/calisidr.htm
Price: Pta8000/EUR48. Wine: Pta1500/EUR9.

El Racó de Can Fabes
The recipient of three Michelin stars and numerous awards, El Racó is idyllically situated near Montseny, an area of outstanding natural beauty about 60km (37 miles) from Barcelona. Proprietor and chef Santi Santamaria is open, friendly and passionate about Catalan food. His quality-based, customer-orientated philosophy ensures that a visit to his rustic-style restaurant is an exceptional experience. Inspired by the fruits from the Mediterranean to the mountains, dishes range from wood pigeon with spring onions and cardamom to fish in seaweed sauce; postres (desserts) such as mango and plum 'lasagne' are deliciously inventive.

Carrer Sant Joan 6, Sant Celoni (A7 from Barcelona, exit 7 for Sant Celoni)
Tel: (93) 867 2851. Fax: (93) 867 3861.
Website: www.racocanfabes.com
Price: Pta11,000/EUR66 (à la carte); Pta9000-13,500/EUR54-81 (menus). Wine: Pta2000/EUR12.

Gaig
Gaig started out in the 1800s as a small family tavern specialising in home cooking in the northern barrio of Horta. More than a century later, it is one of the city's top restaurants and the recipient of many awards. Master chef Carles Gaig is at the helm creating brilliant, innovative versions of old recipes: pheasant with plums, canelones with truffle sauce and mango ravioli are but a few. The wine list is equally impressive. Carles' wife, Fina, presides over the light, modern dining room.

Passieg Maragall 402
Tel: (93) 429 1017.
Price: Pta11,000/EUR66. Wine: Pta2000/EUR12

Jean-Luc Figueras
Housed in the former atelier of the fashion designer Balanciaga, the elegant, classically Catalan surroundings - all polished wood, lamps and tiled floors - are almost as outstanding as the food. Frenchman Jean-Luc Figueras creates modern, original dishes, such as fried prawn and ginger pasta in mustard and mango sauce, without submitting to the demands of fadiness or egoism. The menu tends to lean towards seafood but meat dishes are also included. Master patisero Jordi Butrón's sublime puddings are outstanding.

Carrer Santa Teresa 10
Tel: (93) 415 2877.
Price: Pta9000/EUR54. Wine: Pta1500/EUR9.

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