In the six years since Albert Adrià left El Bulli—the world-famous restaurant of his brother, Ferran, which closed in 2011—the Spanish chef has become an icon in his hometown. And his five restaurants, including his latest, the Mexican Hoja Santa ($$$), have turned the once run-down El Parallel district into a culinary hot spot. A month away from the debut of his cocktail school, Adrià reveals his local haunts to T+L.
“My favorite restaurant in El Raval is Dos Palillos ($$$), which serves Asian-inspired tapas,” says Adrià, who goes for the ankimo (monkfish liver) and the steamed prawn dumplings.
In Montjuïc, Espai Kru ($$$$) is “a great place to eat regional specialties” like txangurro cannellone, a Basque dish made with spider crab.
The chef’s go-to sushi place is the quiet, 50-seat Koy Shunka ($$$$). “Try the eel nigiri and toro tataki.”
“My favorite store in Barcelona is Vinçon,” says Adrià, who visits the design shop on the Passeig de Gràcia for everything from furniture to paintings.
Casa Gispert (34/93-319-7547), an 1851 food shop in Born, “has managed to preserve its old-world feel,” he says. The spices, teas, and house-roasted nuts are still stored in traditional woven baskets.
An art aficionado, Adrià admires the late Catalan informalist painter Antoni Tàpies. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies showcases the artist’s work in a serene four-floor space. “It’s where I go to think or relax.”
Adrià also visits the cobblestoned Barri Gòtic for old shops and delis like La Pineda (34/93-302-4393; $$), which serves tapas and vermouth at lunch. “That’s the real Barcelona.”
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150