First There Was El Bulli

If ever there was a restaurant or chef that epitomized modern Spanish cuisine it must surely be El Bulli the 3-star Michelin restaurant in the town of Roses, Catalonia run by Ferran Adrià.

Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc lists El Bulli as one of the best restaurants he has ever been to saying: “I know it’s closed now but I have to mention El Bulli because one of the greatest dining experiences I ever had was there. Ferran Adrià is a great philosopher and a great cook; he cares about where food comes from, about local issues and seasonality; he’s a multifaceted talent. I think he’s creating the techniques and the gastronomy of tomorrow. He’s got such a huge intelligence and daring. I remember when I was there I had 42 dishes and, believe me, I could have had 72. (That’s why I’m called the hungry Frenchman.) It was fascinating. Was it the best food I ever had? No. Was it the most extraordinary dining experience I ever had? Yes.”

Blanc is not alone in his admiration with El Bulli being named the best restaurant in the world over the Fat Duck in Bray, England on San Pellegrino’s list of the top 50 restaurants in the world.

While we may ponder over what it would have been like to eat in the best restaurant in the world the truth is, it would have been almost impossible to do so as El Bulli was only ever open half the year, and for every table they were booked 400 times over. So even if you could afford the 250€ for a set course meal the chances of you getting in were astronomical.

Today if you are in Barcelona or anywhere else in Catalonia the Adria brothers Ferran and Albert have opened an affordable tapas bar called “Tickets.”

It is at Tickets where they have taken their knowledge learnt at El Bulli to offer what they call the tapa of life linking an understanding of food that turns the eater into a character or circus performer saying that when you are at tickets there is no time to be bored, sad or lonely but only time for happiness and laughter in the company of good friends.

Located in the theatre district at Av Parallel 164 you will be amazed by the feeling of entering a surreal world of organized chaos with chefs working at open cooking stations and waiters and waitress rushing around dressed like ushers from the bygone days of cinema.

Tickets is extremely popular especially with the fame of El Bulli’s master chef behind it, which means that in order to get a table you must book well in advance on their website  ticketsbar.es.

At Tickets you will not get the 42 course meal that El Bulli was famous for, but you will still get some of the most exciting food you have ever seen and eaten in your life such as olives that literally explode in your mouth filled with manchego cheese, or slices of tuna belly with its tartare, pancata and salmon roe.

Another mention must also go to Gelonch, and to owner chef Robert Gelonch who served his time at El Bulli before opening his own new wave Catalan restaurant hidden away in the Eixample Dreta a district between the old city, and what were once surrounding towns. It will not be long before you need to book long in advance here also as the restaurants superb innovative cuisine becomes known world-wide just as it was with El Bulli.

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Jack Nobble is a travel enthusiast travel author who likes sharing his travel experiences on a Outlet4Spain Blog – An apartments specialist accommodation agency in Sitges.