Chef Albert Adrià and Chef Fran Agudo
# 29 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2016
Visited: October 19th, 2016 – Dinner Service
As soon as you step into Tickets Bar, you are immediately transported into a world full of whimsical fun!
Tickets Bar is a restaurant in Barcelona where ultra creative tapas paired with molecular gastronomy are the star of the show. It is a restaurant headed by Chef Albert Adrià, who was the pastry chef at the legendary elBulli for more than 20 years. Tickets Bar opened in 2011, the same year that elBulli closed it doors.
The decor of the restaurant exudes modernity but also pays homage to the past. Inside the restaurant, you will see a wavy white bar counter that was reminiscent of Park Güell, a reverence to the Catalan modernista, Antoni Gaudí. The ambiance exuded touches of cabaret and theatre, a tribute to the neigbourhood where the restaurant is located. After all, Avinguda Paral.lel was once the epicenter of burlesque, theatre and nightlife in Barcelona.
Fer el Vermut
The husband and I love drinking aperitivos (apéritifs) before a big meal or tasting menu as it opens up the appetite. At Tickets Bar, we were introduced to a life changing aperitivo of Vermut from Bodega 1900 that easily converted us into avid Vermouth drinkers.
“Fer el Vermut” a saying in Catalan that translates, “to do vermouth”, is a tradition of drinking the aperitivo Vermouth before a big lunch while socializing with family and friends. Spanish red vermouth of “Vermut Negre” has the perfect balance of bitters, sweetness and botanicals.
Around the World in 12 Oysters
Tickets Bar has an oyster selection called “Around the World in 12 Oysters”, featuring 12 different preparations. We were offered with two preparations:
Tableside Presentation of the Grilled Quail
There is something alluring about table side presentations. For our next and final savoury bite, a red cart was rolled out of the kitchen, and on it, a beautiful Quail was resting on top of the mesh grill. The Chef took the Quail out of the grill and started craving, releasing all the tantalizing aromas of smoke and spices.
The Famous Dessert Room
After our last savoury dish, we were led into the dessert room. We were surprised by the playfulness of the decor, with giant berries and candy canes hanging down from the ceiling. This was probably the closest I will ever get to a Willy Wonka experience.
Walking into this restaurant, I was equipped with the knowledge that Chef Albert Adrià was the pastry chef at elBulli for over 20 years and has won accolades such as one of The World’s Best Pastry Chefs. With this in mind, I had the highest expectation that his desserts would blow my mind.
I was definitely blown away!
For the grand finale, we were presented with tray containing a plethora of petit fours. I seriously felt like I was in the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka. Channeling my inner Veruca Salt, I wanted to sing and belt out:
“I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It’s my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now!”
With this vast selection, I was mesmerized and overwhelmed at the same time. I politely and shamelessly told our host, “one of each please”.
The husband and I had a wonderful time at Tickets Bar. What I enjoyed and appreciated the most about this whole experience was that every “tapa” dish was transformed into an elevated level of innovation that brought excitement and absolute fun back into food. Most importantly, the food was delicious! Tapas after tapas, I felt the multitude of inspirations of behind the concept of Chef Adrià’s ever evolving dishes.
The atmosphere at Tickets was relaxed and inviting, where I easily felt at ease as soon I walked through the front door. The service was not only exceptional, but also enjoyable! All of the staff members that we encountered, from our hosts to the chefs behind the counter bars, were friendly and pleasant. Our dishes were always presented and described to us. The hospitality and attentiveness of the staff and the restaurant shined through.
If you ever find yourself in Barcelona, you have to experience Tickets!
Avinguda del Paral·lel, 164 – 08015 Barcelona, Spain