Creative tapas by the Adria brothers
2011 was the year when a thousand foodie hearts broke in two, as Ferran Adria announced he was closing his legendary elBulli restaurant, arguably the most influential and innovative eatery in culinary history. As if to silver the lining of that monstrously stormy cloud however, his brother Albert Adria, together with Ferran and the Iglesias family (also giants in the Catalan culinary realm) opened this visionary tapas joint in Barcelona, recently voted as one of the World’s Top 50 restaurants.
Like elBulli, Tickets Bar serves only tiny portions of food – call them snacks, tapas, tapitas, or raciones as you please – but each is a mini-masterpiece of gastro-artistry. Razor clams in ginger oil with lemon air is not something you can order in your average Barcelona neighbourhood bar, nor are mini-airbags filled with Manchego cheese and Iberian ham for that matter. You can choose a la carte or let the kitchen send out ‘surprises’ for you until you stay stop… in the latter case the average spend is around 150 euros without drinks.
The decor is a clever mix of future chic, with Modernista touches (a nice homage to Gaudi and chums) with also a splash of kitsch cabaret – after all the street that Tickets Bar calls home, Avinguda Paral·lel, was once the centre of burlesque theatre and nightlife in Barcelona.
Tables are by online reservation only and become available three months in advance, at which point an online scramble starts for the new seatings. (Hint go online at 12:15 Spanish time!). If you’ve left it too late to get a table then you could try some of the other restaurants that the Adria brothers have opened up around Paral·lel.