Friday, March 4, 2011

Review of Tickets Bar: Living La Vida Tapa in Barcelona

The chefs that worked the bar in front of us plus Albert Adria, second from the right
I'm starting the Spain trip recaps with my last meal of the trip first since people are particularly curious about this eagerly anticipated restaurant that just opened the day before our reservation.  We were fortunate enough to snag an early reservation online at the brothers Albert and Ferran Adria (of Inopia and elBulli) and 3 Iglesias brothers (of Rias de Galicia) new restaurant venture in Barcelona, Tickets Bar, for my last meal of the trip and what a memorable meal it was.  I love the exuberant atmosphere; the colorful decor and layout is just so fun; it's brightly lit with blinking lights and scrolling tickers with scattered themed bars and bar height tables.  We sat at the bar where they were assembling little tapas plates with bacalao, bonito and anchoa (anchovies).  The concentration and precision that they were applying to craft each plate was mesmerizing to watch.  Although they were very busy behind the bar, the guys were adorable and still very gracious and friendly and we enjoyed chatting them up on their breaks.

Service was great; I don't know what we would have done without our charming server, Manel, who gave us great recommendations (and fortunately for me, spoke excellent English).  Everything was beautifully plated and presented and the flavors and textures were delicately bold...definitely food that is delightful yet makes you think.  Of course the food reminded of Jose Andres' restaurant the Bazaar, in Los Angeles, which I've been to on several occasions for both dinner and high tea, but the food at Tickets had a precision and delicacy to it with uniquely Spanish ingredients that cannot be matched.  Plus it didn't have the LA "cooler than thou" scene / attitude to it, always a plus.  Overall, just a great, fun experience that truly capped off our wonderful trip. We ordered way too much food and wine, but we just wanted to try as much as we could off the menu.  Fortunately, our hotel was only a short 4 block walk away, lucky us (and yes, usually I do pick my hotels for their proximity to good food).   In any case, time for the main attraction, the food:
Las aceitunas - S variedad verdial de Tickets: the famous spherical olives, so good: a smooth, just chewy enough outside texture that gives way to a rich and decadent olive and olive oil  flavor explosion that just engulfs the tastebuds
So glad that we had six!
"Jamon de toro" Ventresca de Atun en salazon casero pintada de grasa de jamon iberico: the silkiest, thinnest, most delicate toro that I've ever had
Pascaito frito con algas gallegas: the lightest crispiest fried fish; reminds me of Asian snackfood
Tomates y fresas en su jugo al aroma Mediterraneo y aceite de oliva virgen: refreshing strawberries + tomatoes, who knew! I fell in love with spanish olive oil on this trip
De bonito soasado con gelatina de refrito: loved what gelatin added to the bonito, both texturally and flavor-wise also had a hint of Asian flavor to it
Ostras con u perla y juga de lechuga de mar: oysters with a "pearl" of sea water. I felt like I was eating this dish underwater, very interesting
Navajas al natural con jengibre, cayena y aire de limon: I love razor clams and these were meaty yet airy with the foam
Airbaguette de panceta iberica Joselito: rich and delicious with a crunch of the airbaguette.  Very similar to Bazaar's version of Philly cheesesteak
Pipas de conejo con Allilioli espumoso: little rabbit ribs perfectly fried with a nice garlicky dipping sauce.  I felt a twinge of guilt at eating something so cute
De bacalao con nectar de tomate y aceituna negra: lovely white fish with the pungent San Sebastian pickled peppers plus tomatoes and olives
I am pretty sure this is the de semillas de tomate y anchoa del Contabrico; I love spanish anchovies
Ravioli liquido de queso de Payoyo, a little Payoyo cheese sphere, my idea of a perfect dessert
Bunuelos de chocolate calientes

To accompany all the food, we had several glasses of local red (Garnacha) and white Catalan wine from L'equilibrista as well as some Luis Canas Rioja Crianza and cava.  Dinner was about 180 euros for 2, but we ordered a bit too much wine and food.

Tickets Bar
Avenguda de Paral.lel, 164
08015 Barcelona


  1. Hello girls!
    Im the american/spanish cook from the restaurant.
    Manel passed me this link and I think its great! Thanks for the pictures and thanks for coming to the restaurant, great review! ;D


  2. Hi Tristan, so good to hear from you! Thanks again for everything, you guys are the best. Always good to meet a fellow angeleno and good luck with everything!

  3. Congratulations Tristan. I am so excited for you. The restaurant and food look amazing. Can't wait to get back to Barcelona to see you and dine at Tickets. Muchos besitos, Alicia

  4. Thanks for this review! I have a reservation to go in May and I am so excited! Loved reading about it and seeing your pics!




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