I had high hopes for Montiel, but in the end I was a complete disappointment.
I chose this restaurant for my birthday in Barcelona, as it seemed to have local flavors cooked with a twist so as to bring them into modern days. I have tried several restaurants of this type around the world and I would say that I cannot understand where Montiel got so excellent reviews on Tripadvisor.
This was clearly a lesson that I should not trust so much Tripadvisor or try to understand better the profile of the reviewer and also focus on the bad reviews and not just on the excellent ones. For me, this a lesson I will consider in the future especially when choosing a restaurant for a special occasion. Anyway, clearly anyone is entitled to a personal perspective and has own expectations of what food should be like.
I went to Montiel with some friends for my birthday during a city break in my favorite city in the world: Barcelona.
They have two options for tasting menu and all the parties at the table have to choose the same menu. One menu was 68 euro and one 55 euro and the wine pairing costed 30 euro. We all had the gastronomic tasting menu with 7 courses and with the wine pairing. The food was in the right quantity for this kind of tasting, but it lacked exactly the special exquisite tastes. Pay attention, some food is extremely salty (above the normal for Catalan cuisine which I could see that is typically salty) and the wine tasting is not worth it.
They mainly use young wines (2014 for red wine) saying that they don’t want to overshadow the food. I would say that the wine should complement the food and normally should have the same strength as the dish it comes with. So, better choose the wine from the menu.
As for the food, the dishes came really fast one after another and they did not leave much time to work on the flavors (I don’t know why as the restaurant was only half full).
What I liked was the green peas with pork and baby squids. This was really a nice mixture of different flavors cooked. What I also liked was the birthday cake which is not on the menu. But the rest of the food had nothing good worth mentioning.
Now, as I was selecting the photos and writing the post I realized that they skipped a dish (the pigeon) or maybe they no longer had it in the menu. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of the menu and I did not count the number of dishes while I was there. Anyway, I would not be surprised if they did, as the service was not the best. The waiters were polite, but did not made you feel pampered as you might expect when paying 100 euro for one person.
The atmosphere was also a bad surprise. There were some groups of foreigners and they were so loud that even my friend got to the point of speaking loudly just to cover the noise.
All in all, for what I expected from this type of restaurant, based also on all the nice reviews and on the fact that it was my birthday dinner, Montiel was a complete disappointment. The food, the wine, the service, the atmosphere are all below what you might get from a regular tapas bar in Barcelona – because you can really eat well in this amazing city (I will soon write about them as they are clearly worth mentioning).
So, I would clearly recommend choosing another place where to spend your money. Maybe the fact that it is mainly frequented by foreigners and not locals should also be a sigh that this is not the right place for Catalan food, but, yet again this is just an assumption I am making, but which I will definitely consider for the future.
Restaurant website: http://www.grupmontiel.com/restaurantemontieleng.html