A couple of weeks ago I decided I needed some sunshine, so I went to visit my friend Isa in Barcelona.
She knows plenty of great places in the city. The first thing she did was to get me a ticket... to a bar called Tickets! Tickets is the latest restaurant to be opened by the famous Ferran Adria (a Michelin-starred chef and the man behind the world-famous El Bulli). But this is no ordinary haute cuisine restaurant. Gone is all the fuss and formality, and in its place is the quirky style of the former El Bulli head chef, with his own unique take on tapas. The menu includes options such as oysters with pearls and lettuce juice; Galician clams with fried onions and tomatoes; cutlets with ginger, cayenne pepper and lemon air; cod sushi with tomato jus and black olives; and artichoke with crispy ham shavings.
The astonishment didn't stop with the menu, however. The place itself is something to behold! It is divided into seven entirely separate areas, with chefs preparing different types of produce in each one. The decor is rather quirky, with a bold mixture of styles including a collection of Fermob's Louvre, Montmartre and Ange chairs in fresh, spring-like colours. www.ticketsbar.es
The places I loved in the Catalan capital :
- The Museu del Modernisme: 350 works by 42 artists representing this Spanish art movement (Joan Busquets, Ramón Casas, Antoni Gaudi, Gaspar Homar, Josep Llimona, Joaquim Mir, Puig i Cadafalch, etc.), including paintings, sculptures, furniture and decorative arts. Ideal for a quick introduction to Catalan culture!
- The Barceló Raval hotel: in the historic heart of the city, this designer hotel includes a swimming pool on the roof and rooms at relatively affordable prices!
The Chocolate Museum in the Ciutat Vella (old city) district. A real treat for the taste buds!
Shopping: Las Ramblas isn't just about Zara... there are also lots of small, independent boutiques. One of my favourites is Lobby, a store concept selling items made exclusively by Spanish designers: Who, Txell Miras and Jaume Roca.