Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tickets Bar

Going in, this is all I knew:

1. Tickets Bar is the brainchild of acclaimed chef Feran Adria, whose restaurant "El Bulli", located 4 hours from Barcelona, is often referred to as the BEST restaurant in the world. Yes, the world.

2. El Bulli is now closed, but there is a more casual, tapas style bar right in town, serving some of the signature dishes that made El Bulli so famous.
3. Heart pounding, fingers shaking, 2 months prior to the day, at precisely 12:00 Barcelona time, somehow I was able to secure a reservation for 4 people for Saturday evening at 10pm for the weekend that I would be in Barcelona.

The place is really casual. This was my first surprise. I kind of expected fireworks to go off upon entry, but this was not the case. Not fancy, not stuffy, just cool. Colorful posters adorned the wall, casual bar style tables and chairs, and waiters inconspicuous yet spot on. The crowd was upscale, but hip, a mixture of foodies, locals, and the occasional foodie tourist (such as myself). You did not stumble in here by accident. A reservation at Tickets is extremely difficult to secure and much coveted (even my taxi driver was impressed), and I definitely felt an air of pride and anticipation as I was seated.

The waiter was wonderfully attentive, and after explaining some of the dietary restrictions my friends and I have, he said not to worry, just sit back relax, and enjoy the show....

First came the emulsified liquid olives. This is what it is all about. They are liquid in form, carefully spooned from a jar at the table, and served on a spoon. You are then instructed to swish it around and let it explode on the roof of your mouth. All I can say is WOW. How is this even possible?
Next came grilled bread with tomato and anchovy, don't even bother saying you don't like anchovies, just taste it.

Tempura seaweed with a dipping sauce. Incredible. Course after course we were subjected to perfection on a plate. Mini airbags stuffed with manchego cheese. Another winner.

Tuna tartare nori cones. Not to overstate the issue, but again, one of the best things I've even eaten. It was like every bite we took was so filled with SO much flavor. You can taste all the complex flavors, and appreciate all the advanced techniques that go into every bite.

Canrejal cheese torta with wild mushroom cream. My friends called this a mozze-crepa on crack. Hah. We actually asked for a 2nd helping of this one.Seabass ceviche. Crispy seaweed. Delicious. Tuna belly. Slivered artichokes with pecorino. Cod. SO GOOD. Mushrooms. Black currant with white chocolate dessert that I wouldn't even know where to begin to describe...It just didn't stop, and we didn't want it to.

Truly a meal I will remember for the rest of my life.

Worth a trip to Barcelona, just to visit Tickets.

Good For: Special occasion, once in a lifetime experience, life altering food

Bite Mark: *****

Tickets Bar; Avinguda de Paralel, 164 Barcelona