If it’s lunch you’re looking for in Girona you really should go for the ‘menu del dia’ or set lunch menu, available weekdays at a reasonable cost.
The two-hour break is another entrenched local custom and many local eateries battle it out to attract diners.
That can be between 10 to 20 euros but don’t expect to be too impressed at the quality and quantity at the lower end. You can however expect a limited choice of 3 courses including bread and a drink. Fewer places offer set menus at weekends and do charge more.
The drink part of the deal can be a bit of a grey, murky, ill defined area. Some offers include a glass of wine, small beer or mineral water. Others we’ve tried have a more liberal interpretation and will place a full bottle of wine on the table. What’s a person to do, well being from the UK restaurant wine is expensive and no one would dream of leaving any.
Yet here, a decent table wine is far cheaper. Time and time again we’ve noticed that locals think nothing of leaving a half-full bottle. I’ve known friends to accidentally lean over and pinch that bottle.
The overall experience varies widely and the good nuggets are out there. It’s just a matter of trying them out to see what you like. For uncomplicated, home-cooked food it ticks a lot of boxes, it might not leave you full but its time well spent. In my time here the dessert choices often disappoint and the majority appear to be shop bought. Sure, it’s a cost issue so maybe I’m aiming too high.
My current favourite is a too small restaurant, Bionbo in C/ del Carme which I’d heard a lot of good things about and put it on my list of places to eat at. It’s become so popular that it requires booking several days ahead.
Lastly, I should mention a little well-kept secret amongst locals that I’ve tried twice. I doubt you’d even find this mentioned on sites like Tripadvisor or Apps like the Fork.
I live opposite the Escola d’Hosteleria i Turisme de Girona which teaches kids how to cook and serve food. It was the place where the now famous Roca brothers started their careers. In order to train their student chefs and waiters how restaurants operate, their dining rooms offer a quality tasting lunch menu at a rock bottom price (last time it was 30 euros).
Each serving has its own wine choice and this entire meal would easily be double the price elsewhere. Their website features upcoming menus, often influenced by famous Catalan chefs, and it all ends in May when the college closes. Book in person if you want via the door person in reception, expect to wait several days. Just remember to clear your diary after you’ve finished this 3 hour long sojourn! www.ehtg.cat