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The gourmet's guide to Barcelona

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Albert Adrià

Enigma et al.

This month the inaugural Superyacht Show, created by LYBRA, comes to OneOcean Port Vell in Barcelona. Chris Madigan asks four of the city’s top chefs how to savour its culinary delights while you’re in town...

At 15, Albert Adrià left school to join his brother Ferran in the kitchen at elBulli. He became pastry chef in 1987, before the two drove a revolution in Catalan, Spanish and world cuisine. Since shuttering the restaurant in 2011, the Adriàs have launched a group of restaurants in Barcelona – including the Michelin- starred Tickets and Enigma, which opened in 2017 – with Albert at the helm.

Enigma variations: Even when I was at elBulli, I planned one day to have a restaurant called Enigma. It took a lot longer than planned but RCR Architects created exactly the environment I had in my mind for enjoying gastronomy. Diners move through the different spaces we use to express particular cooking styles (la Cava, la Barra, la Plancha, el Dinner) and a revival of my old 41° cocktail bar.

In my neighbourhood: Our elBarri group of restaurants – Enigma; Tickets tapas bar; Pakta, our Nikkei (Japanese Peruvian) place; Hoja Santa (Michelin-starred Mexican with Paco Méndez); Niño Viejo (Mexican street food); and our bar, Bodega 1900 – are all located in the Parallel Poble Sec area. Many independent and interesting shops, restaurants and bars have opened in recent years.

Mountains of food: I love traditional Catalan food, especially mountain dishes such as trinxat (potatoes, cabbage and pork); escudella i carn d’olla (broth with pasta, vegetables and meat); and cargols a la llauna (baked snails).

El Bulli boys: There are several former elBulli chefs doing well now, particularly the team behind the Michelin- starred Disfrutar in the city, and Compartir, up the coast in Cadaqués. Toni Romero, who was a stagière (intern) with us, is now a rising star, with his restaurant Suculent, part of the group run by Carles Abellan (who worked with us for15 years). Another elBulli graduate, Rafa Zafra, has a great family seafood restaurant close to Port Vell: Estimar.

Vell's kitchens: Barceloneta, by Port Vell, is another culinary destination, especially for tapas. Go to La Cova Fumada for bombas (meat-stuffed potato croquettes), which they claim to have invented, El Vaso de Oro for chorizitos and spicy tuna, with beer, and to La Barra, another Carles Abellan restaurants, which has creative seafood tapas.

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