41 Degrees Barcelona Quick report
It was with a bit of trepidation that I went to 41 Degrees this past week (May 22, 2012, to be exact) because of a somewhat negative comment by sockster. But we went anyway, and boy, if perhaps sockster went when they were having teething trouble, they sure are not having any now ... the meal I had is my lifetime best.
Let me put that in a bit of perspective ... we followed the meal at 41 Degrees with a lunch (a few days later) at Celler de Can Roca, and while the latter was excellent, especially their sole (the fish) dish, Celler's "modernist/molecular" creations, which were served as a sort of extended set of amuse-bouche, were not the equal of 41 Degrees'.
An interesting twist is that the menu includes a few drinks, and some of them are actually liquid drinks, but others have drink ingredients, and taste essentially like mixed drinks, but are more eaten than drunk. The opening vermouth was something mixed with a little vermouth, and then mixed with liquid nitrogen (table-side, by one of the ebullient staff), resulting in the smoothest iced drink you've ever had. The explanation we got is that the ice crystals formed with this method are so small as to not feel like crystals in one's mouth.
Won't go into describing all the bites, though we took pictures of all of them. Suffice it to say that they were all, each and every one of them, fantastic in one way or another. Oh, and with a few El Bulli classics thrown in too. And it was a really fun time too. The place is hip (but not trying too hard), the staff not serious or pretentious, but in fact, seemingly having as much fun working as we were having eating. Just a fantastic time.
And to follow a recent post on their new reservation system, it appears now to be an even newer iteration than when I booked (and also, more expensive @E200/pp -- we paid E141/pp).
I third that. Very high, consistent quality in a relaxed atmosphere. Truly an experience that in our case was heightened by having Ferran Adria as one of the five(!) guests at the table next to us celebrating someone's birthday and discussing some of the newer creations with his brother who regularly popped out of the kitchen.
If you manage to go - do stay after the dinner and enjoy some of the drinks.
Very much would like to try 41 Degrees, but I will be traveling alone in Barcelona on 21 July. Have checked its website, there is a table for 2 people available at 7:30pm. Anyone is interested in sharing the table? Or is there anyone who's got 3 people and is looking for the 4th person to book a table for 4 at either 7:30pm or 8pm? Please let me know.
Agree with your experience at 41 Degrees - my husband and I went the following night May 23rd and it was perfection! We had tried to walk into Tickets and got lucky with a last minute cancellation next door. I doubt this will be as easy now that pre-paying is required, but I can completely understand that approach with only 5 tables a night and the preparation that goes into the experience. Without a doubt the best meal of our trip to Spain, and most memorable of our lives.
We followed up with lunches at Asador Etxebarri and Akelarre and were really disappointed, after the high of 41 Degrees. At the same price point, the food and service were no comparison. I would go back to Etxebarri for the views and order a la carte. Akelarre I would not recommend - tried both tasting menus and just found it too inconsistent with more lows than highs for us.
At the time I reserved, it was slightly different than current. For instance, I was not required to pre-pay. Basically, went to www.41grados.es (and chose English) and clicked to find an open date, filled in some info and was granted a reservation.
Now, it seems, things are different, especially in the fact that you must pre-pay. I guess they were getting too many no-shows.
1. go to www.41grados.es (and choose EN in top right corner if needed
)2. Click on the "book your place" ticket image
3. Click on an available date (currently, plenty of tables in June/July)
4. Fill in info
I was tempted to make a reservations when I'm traveling with my sister in June. There's three of us (including my niece) but I see the bookings are set for tables of two or four. Do you know how to get around that, or any suggestion?
On the alternative, I see there's the bar. Do you think it's worth just going to the bar? Do they have small bites there or is it too much of a scene?