Four Nights in Barcelona: Trip Report
I just got back a couple of weeks ago from four nights of dining in Barcelona and wanted to give a report as the previous Barcelona discussions were so useful in my research.
Night One: La Pepita. Great, creative tapas (anchovy dulche de leche, for example) in the Eixample neighborhood. If I lived there, it would be my go-to neighborhood restaurant. We let the kitchen select our menu and while there were a couple of dishes that were misses for us, overall, the food was delicious and high quality. Highly recommend reservations as it was packed. Service was initially rushed, but around 10pm, it became more relaxed and we spent quite a bit of time talking to the great staff and left with kisses and hugs like great friends. Nice spot for our first night in town.
Night Two: Tickets. Albert Adria's carnival-themed tapas restaurant. I'd heard so many great things about this restaurant, and while the food was good and beautifully presented, the overall experience didn't meet my expectations. The service was fine, but not exceptionally friendly. We again let the kitchen select our menu for the night. We sat at the bar of one of the food stations as I had requested to see the action, but it felt like there was a lot of tension in the air amongst the cook staff. But the main thing I didn't like was the over self-promotion. It felt like an upscale Planet Hollywood. It just didn't quite work for me and while the food was very good, it didn't make up for the sterile, too-commercial atmosphere. I know I may be in the minority with my opinion and maybe it was just an off night. I don't think I would go back again.
Night Three: Hisop. Terrific Michelin 1 star restaurant. The most formal of our meals, although the service was friendly and comfortable. Great modern, minimalist space. We had the tasting menu and with only one exception, every dish was fantastic, unique, and gorgeous (and I still ate the one dish that wasn't that great - it was a good idea, just didn't quite work). The tasting menu is a fantastic value for what you get. I can't recommend Hisop enough. Would go again in a heartbeat.
Night Four: Saved the best for last - 41 Degrees. If I wasn't overwhelmed with Tickets, Albert Adria's 41 Degrees more than made up for it. In fact, it was one of the best nights of my life! It was absolute perfection - the beautiful, atmospheric space, the service, and of course, the food and drinks. We had the wine pairings with our meal and I highly recommend doing that. The food was so beautiful, but also very delicious - each bite being a unique surprise that had me grinning and laughing all night. It was a night of total surrender and being in the moment. The service could not have been better. Highly choreographed, but super friendly and relaxed. This was a FUN meal. Very expensive, but completely worth it. I wouldn't hesitate to come back even with the hefty price tag - it's worth saving up for.
If you want more information, please check out my blog posts including tons of photos of each meal. http://kimpluscraig.com/tastes/
I'd love to hear about your meal at Hisop after you return. I suspect you won't have the pigeon because they probably have their spring menu up now - we had the tail end of the winter menu. I'd love to go back there during a different season. Such a great meal and overall great dining experience - and a good value to boot!