The Ca L'Arpa is a very attractive, comfortably furnished and physically comfortable inn. Bathrooms are modern and very well appointed, with wonderful thick towels and very nice amenities. Beds are comfortable with good quality linens. Wifi did not work in my first floor room; I had to access it in the lobby near reception.
We reserved a table for dinner at Ca L'Arpa's noted Michelin-starred restaurant. I am not a "foodie" and in fact my palate is not at all adventurous. However, my travel companion can definitely be described as a "foodie" and we both looked forward to a sumptuous dinner at Ca L'Arpa's restaurant.
The earliest reservation offered was nine, and this was the time we reserved. We were the only patrons in the restaurant throughout dinner. The menu is only in Catalan, and we were completely unprepared for this--shame on us since we were in Catalonia. The chef's wife, who was our server, was kind enough to translate the menu for my male companion. (for me it was hard to keep up but the translation was focused on him.) I did not find any dishes on the menu that suited my admittedly bland tastes, so I asked for a simple green salad and perhaps some of the side vegetables offered with various dishes. I was told politely, but clearly, that this food is "special" and that I must order from the menu--no greens or vegetable side dishes would be made available. Perhaps fair enough--this chef has earned a Michelin star and we must respect this. Not a very customer-friendly stance, but OK.
My friend ordered a type of fish available only in Catalonia which was served with three types of onions. (as a side note, I cannot eat onions and I dislike seafood, so this for me was my nightmare dish!) My friend felt the dish was tasty and well prepared, but blandly presented.
We both ordered canalones, the only dish on the existing menu I thought I could eat. They also were tasty.
Service was attentive if perfunctory. Food was delivered without apparent concern for presentation. No amuse bouche was offered, and there was no sense that the chef and hostess were particularly concerned with the comfort of their guests. We ordered a garnacha wine which was perfectly acceptable. Desserts were good but not particularly memorable.
I found the dining experience uncomfortable and unsatisfying.
Breakfast the following morning was quite good, including a variety of small dishes (yogurt, juice, a sort of custard, toast) with one cup of coffee.
Hotel check-in and check-out were somewhat arduous. The owners do not seem comfortable with their computer systems. Overall, there was an awkwardness about the place. I wonder if this couple even likes what they are doing.
In fairness I must say that all was made more difficult by our inability to communicate in the language of the country we visited. I do believe the onus is on us to take responsiblity for that communication. However, we visited many hotels/inns during our stay in Catalonia and Ca L'Arpa was by far the most difficult.
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