Destination: Spain: Barcelona
Alkimia’s chef, Jordi Vilà, is another follower of Ferran Adrià. Minimalist decor allows guests to focus on Vilà’s deconstructed dishes, including pa amb tomàquet, a typical Catalan dish of white bread rubbed with tomato pulp and olive oil, served in a shot glass; bacallà (salt cod) with eggplant and blood-orange foam; and traditional fried eggs and Mallorcan sausage served with preserved quinces.
In Catalan, Cinc Sentits means “five senses,” and indeed this restaurant appeals to all of them. “Food is the star, but we also spent a lot of time conceiving the design, music, light and atmosphere,” says Canadian-born Catalan chef Jordi Artal. The entrance façade is half glass, half wood, and the white, minimalist interior is long and rectangular, with beige porcelain-tiled floors. The chef’s menu, which changes frequently, is always a culinary adventure. A recent example: dates, mint and mascarpone wrapped in jamón; a wonderfully textured tapioca-and-caviar dish; and an incredibly tender beef fillet with wild mushrooms.
More of a restaurant than a tapas bar, Comerç 24 has a menu influenced by the mad-scientist cuisine of Ferran Adrià (the three-Michelin-star chef of El Bulli). Chef and owner Carles Abellan is an Adrià protégé, and at this hip designer space in El Born, the presentation of the dishes is equally memorable: smoked and pickled fish comes in custom-designed metal cans; yolk foam and truffles float in delicate eggshells.
Editor’s Note: I recently dined at Carles Abellan’s super chic 1-star Michelin restaurant in the hip El Born neighborhood. To get the full experience, order the tasting menu and reserve a table by the kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work. Closed Sundays.
This restaurant, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2005, is located in the fashionable Omm hotel and run by the three Roca brothers, whose El Cellar de Can Roca restaurant near Girona is considered one of Spain’s finest gourmet destinations. Joan oversees the modern cuisine, Josep edits the extensive wine menu, and Jordi crafts such desserts as “Trip to Havana” (a rum sponge cake with lime soup, peppermint granita and cane sugar). Even the hand-painted plates are unique; some of them were created by local celebrities. For a sampling of the Rocas’ signature dishes, order the chef’s menu, which might include saffron-spiced scorpion fish and baby goat roasted in honey and rosemary served on goat’s milk foam.
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