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Aug 19, 2013 06:43 AM

"Il Bulli" - Associated Places in Barcelona

I missed Il Bulli. I'd assumed it was just hype, but enough people I trust tell me they had the meal of their lives there that I realize I was wrong.

I'm headed to Barcelona shortly, and want to try to experience contrails....i.e. places run by Adria associates and alumni. High on the list was Inopia, the tapas bar run by his brother. But I've heard the brother is no longer involved, that they changed the name to Lolita, and I've heard from some people that it was never so great.

Any advice, either re: this place or other places leaning at least somewhat toward Il Bulli (I understand that the full Il Bulli experience cannot be recouped) and doing so with reliably delicious results? I'm definitely not looking to eat expensive shiny trendy food for its own sake.


Ok, I did some surfing, found out that Lolita's not a good choice, that "Ticket" is, but I can't get a reservation, and that elBulli's three longtime sous chefs have opened Compartir in Cadaqués, but it's a long, long drive from Barcelona.

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  1. Tickets, 41° and Pakta are the three Adrià brothers places in Barcelona. None of them really aim to reproduce the El Bulli experience, but AFAIK a few of the more famous El Bulli dishes can be sampled at Tickets.

    You can search this board for reports on these places.

    You may also want to take a look at Abac.

    These are just tips to get you started. I have no first hand experience of these places as I'm not that big on fancy-pants dining.

    5 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy

      We went to Tickets Bar late last year and had the meal of a lifetime. For us anyway. But not a thing "fancy-pants" about it. Circus-themed, super relaxed. The most fun dining experience we've ever had also. I look forward to trying their other spots on future visits to BCN.

      1. re: c oliver

        I understand what you mean, but despite the playful setting and relaxed atmosphere, Tickets is still fine-dining with the prices that go along. I'm fine with that kind of stuff, but it's just not something I can afford.

        1. re: SnackHappy

          And I understand what YOU mean :) It was definitely a big splurge meal for us. The most expensive meal we've ever had. But worth it.

          1. re: c oliver

            Do you mind my asking what you spent per person?

            1. re: mummer

              Not at all. I told the server that we didn't want to go much over 150 Euros for the two of us. We came in a few under that. It's the most expensive meal we've ever had but even frugal Bob thought it was worth it. Here's my write up so you can see what we had.


    2. In keeping with the spirit of this thread, which restaurants in Barcelona are currently serving the 'most molecular' food?

      We are putting the finishing touches on reservations for our all-too short trip in October and I think I may have too many 'modern Catalan' type places on the list (though some apparently serve some MG dishes), so I wouldn't mind adding a more molecular place if there is an especially good one in BCN.

      1 Reply
      1. re: willyum

        Based on my research: Cinc Sentits, Comerc 24, Alkimia, maybe Guelonch. I'll be traveling after you so I can't vouch for their deliciousness

      2. Depends how 'shortly' you are going.
        41 grados has openings from 24 Sept onwards. But you can only book for 2 or 4 persons (there was a table of 5 there the night I attended, so maybe a 4 can be squeezed to 5).
        For me, this is the place that most captures the spirit of El Bulli. And my best dining 'experience' of all-time.

        Tickets (although interesting) isn't a 'meal' - just a selection of courses (i.e. what is generally accepted as tapas). If you go 'early week' just before opening (opens at 7:00pm), you 'may' get in as a walk-in. On a Tuesday (when I was there WITH a reservation), approx the first 8 people in line did actually get admitted.

        Pakta wasn't open when I visited.

        But, with luck you might be able to discover Bodega 1900 which is apparently an attempt to create the 'historical' tapas experience. Supposed to open in July (this year), I have already seen articles on some of the planned dishes, so it should be opening soon.

        1 Reply
        1. re: estufarian

          41 grados ... "sugerimos que si son fumadores pacten con la sala las pausas a realizar."

          They are dead to me :)

        2. We went to Llamber Taberna on our recent trip. The head chef worked with Ferran at Il Bulli in 2000. Very inventive food. Really nice atmosphere in The Born distict.

          1. Have an amazing trip Jim! We went to Spain earlier this year and finished our trip with several days in Barcelona. I did not eat at Tickets, but I did eat at Lolita's - and I have to be honest and tell you that it was our favourite tapas experience on our entire trip to Spain - not just Barcelona. (It was tied with an amazing tapas place in Ronda called Traga Tapas, but I digress)...

            The food was amazing - fresh, original and inventive. The service was outstanding. We got two seats outside sitting at the bar facing inside the restaurant - and it was fabulous. Maybe it was just one of those perfect evenings where everything works, but I'd recommend you try it. It really was delicious. We loved it.