The playful inventiveness with which brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià approached gastronomy at their el Bulli restaurant – which reopens next year as a food lab, eight years after its doors shut – ensured a legacy that continues to inspire younger chefs.
Since, Albert Adrià has opened six restaurants in the Poble Sec neighbourhood of Barcelona, with the whimsical diner Tickets most similar to the el Bulli concept. His New York restaurant is scheduled to open at the end of this year.
Barcelona has long been held in high gastronomic regard, although now Adrià believes that the quality of produce, matched with a new breed of chef, means there’s never been a better time to dine in the city. ‘We have never eaten so well in Barcelona as we do now,’ says Adrià. ‘We have referenced traditional cuisine and have now reinvented interpretations of tapas, vermuterías (vermouth bars) and cocktail bars.’
Here are Adrià’s favourite restaurants in Barcelona.
La Barra de Carles Abellán
Given its location in the fishing district of Barceloneta, it’s only appropriate that the Abellan group’s latest offering is an ode to the sea: a space dedicated to seafood and stews, all delivered with authenticity.
An avant garde Mediterranean kitchen established by three former el Bulli chefs, Disfrutar offers equal parts technique and surprise. Disfrutar means ‘enjoy’ in Spanish and the restaurant retains its sense of fun despite its serious approach to cooking.
A less formal alternative to the adjacent restaurant in the Eixample district. A small space serving excellent Catalan and Spanish fare at very reasonable prices, all accompanied by incredible natural wines.
Specialising in seafood, much of which is grilled. Its location on the top floor of the Torre Colon, near the Columbus Monument, gives it the best views of any restaurant in the city.